[JPL] Portland Jazz Festival Folds

TradeSecrets/Mancuso's TradeSecrets at comcast.net
Mon Sep 8 13:38:22 EDT 2008

In many ways, I am not shocked by this.

The premise of Bill Royston's festival was to lure out-of-towners to
Portland in the winter with jazz to fill vacant hotel rooms in a partnership
with the Portland Visitors Assoc.
As a result, many events were held in hotel ballrooms with inferior
acoustics and seating.

It really didn't include the Portland or Oregon audience, musicians or
businesses other than the hospitality industry downtown. This was always
about 'others' to the exclusion of the locals with the exception of the
educational component offered students in the Portland area with teach-ins
and master classes.

The 'festival radio station' was in Seattle. No offense to KPLU!  They did a
great service to their listeners, organizing junkets and bringing folks

Is the economy of festivals and our country in decline, sure.  But I think
an inclusive rather than exclusive approach offers a better chance of
survival in any venture.

Now, where will the Blue Note 70th Anniversary celebration go?


Jan Mancuso,
Trade Secrets/KMHD volunteer
Portland, OR




Portland Jazz Festival Ceases Operations

Portland Jazz Festival has ceased operations ending a five-year span of
presenting a world class jazz festival each February in Portland. Since
opening February 2004 with Wayne Shorter, Portland Jazz Festival has
presented such artists as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Chick Corea & Gary
Burton, Dianne Reeves, McCoy Tyner & Ravi Coltrane, and many others. Over
the past few years, an array of international artists, including Trygve Seim
and Tord Gustavsen (Norway), Tomasz Stanko (Poland), Nik Bartsch¹s Ronin
(Switzerland), Amina Figarova (Holland), and Diego Ramirez (Mexico), have
been prominently spotlighted.

In addition, PDX Jazz was formed two years ago as the membership umbrella,
presenting jazz throughout the rest of the year. With a membership base, PDX
Jazz has presented Sonny Rollins, Pat Metheny & Brad Mehldau, Return to
Forever, and Esperanza Spalding to Portland audiences. In 2007, PDX Jazz
initiated the Portland Jazz Orchestra as the resident ensemble of the
Portland Jazz Festival with members acting as clinicians and workshop
leaders for free instructional programs for student musicians. The Orchestra
will move forward with its 2008 concert schedule.

Jazz Education & Outreach programs have always been a vital part of Portland
Jazz Festival February events with middle school performances of The
Incredible Journey of Jazz celebrating Black History Month; dozens of
performances by student musicians at the PDX Jazz Pavilion at Pioneer
Courthouse Square; free master classes with Regina Carter, Donald Harrison,
Dave Douglas, and others; open rehearsals with SF Jazz Collective, Bill
Frisell, and Myra Melford; countless Jazz Conversations and Jazz
Journalists¹ panel discussions.

Operations and planning for the 2009 February event could not continue
because of a decline in funding and sponsorship support. New sponsors could
not be found and other short falls accumulated making it impossible to
survive on ticket sale projections and related forms of earned revenue. Even
with the anticipation of the 09 festival dedicated to the 70th anniversary
of Blue Note Records, recent attempts to develop support throughout the
community were not successful.

The 2008 Portland Jazz Festival had presented 150 separate events over the
ten-day February period with total attendance at 36,000, and through the
festival¹s cultural tourism promotion accounted for nearly 2,000 hotel room
nights sold. Both attendance, as well as economic impact for the City of
Portland the related tourism industry, had increased steadily each year
since 2004.

Portland Jazz Festival was nominated as one of the top five jazz events by
the Jazz Journalists Association last June. It was also the organizational
catalyst producing NOLA2PDX, providing over 50 New Orleans musicians and
family members with shelter, travel, and gigs in Portland shortly after
Hurricane Katrina.

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