[Dixielandjazz] Victoria Jazz Festival/was declining festival attendance

Len Nielsen lennielsen at telus.net
Tue Dec 16 22:50:09 PST 2003

List mates

The Victoria festival ran for 21 years through thick and thin and during
that time it was considered one of the very good festivals on the
circuit. It was originally started to bring some tourist business to
Victoria at a time of year other than the busy summer months. The same
people who conceived the idea have run it consistently all this time.
With the exception of a very good female office manager no one received
payment for salaries or wages. Time spent on the festival from the
President, Officers, Directors(included accountants), right down through
the volunteers was all donated time.

I wasn't aware of the festival in the beginning years but it was
originally named something like the Victoria Dixieland Jazz Festival.
This was changed to the Terrifvic Jazz Party over the years to reflect
the inclusion of some different forms of what we call OKOM. They began 
as a 3 day event, Friday through Sunday and then expanded to 5 days, 
Wed.  through Sunday with a free outdoor concert on the Sunday before 
the festival. They also arranged for in School sessions with young 
people, throughout the week of the festival, a kids party Saturday 
mornings, pianorama etc.

Who played here??....Hot Frogs, Professor Plum, South Frisco, Hot 
Cotton, Buck Creek, High Sierra, Night Bloomin, Stumptown, Golden 
Eagles, Igor's Jazz Cowboys, Custers Last Band, Garden Ave Seven, John 
Norris and New Orleans, Bob Crosby 1989, Seattle's Total Experience
Gospel Choir w Pat Wright, Conrad Janis & Beverly Hills Unlisted, Uptown 
Lowdown, Canadian Allstars, Wild Rose, Phoenix Jazzers, Uncle Yoke's 
Black Dogs, Chicago Six, Frisco Syncopators, Grand Dominion, Jacques 
Gauthier & His Creole Rice Yerba Buena Band, Jean Kittrell& St. Louis 
Rivermen, Your Fathers Mustache, Banu Gibson, Blue Street, Pieces of 
Eight, Swamp Dogs, Swing Savant, Big Tiny Little, Fulton Street, Sorta 
Dixie, Wooden Nickel, Los Caribe, the Monarchs, Zydeco Flames, Beale 
Street, Hot Tomatoes, Queen City, CatsnJammer, Crawdaddy, Gator Beat, 
Hot Jam, Mother of Pearl, Simon Striblings Society Seven, Terrier Bros, 
Titan Hot Seven, Pepper & Fine Thyme, Sister Swing, and on and on.

How about the ladies:...Ruby Wilson, Paulette Pepper, Jay Fleming, Jan 
Sutherland, Chris Norris, Rollanda Lee, Lynda Travis, Janet Carroll, 
Yve Evans, Wendy Harston, Stephanie Porter, Brady McKay.

International groups:...Scottish Society Syncopators, Fat 
Sams..Scotland. Monty Sunshine...England. Paco Gatsby...Guatemala. 
Allotria...Germany. Mister Crow, New Melbourne...Australia. 
Greentown...Yugoslavia. Hot Antic...France. Jazz Band Ball...Poland. 
Sveriges Jazz Band...Sweden.

Canadian groups:...Climax, Alex Pangman...Toronto, Le 
Dixieband....Montreal. Red Beans & Rice, Delta Jazz...Vancouver. 
Desperation....Courtenay. Dixieland Express, Canus, Big Band Trio w the 
Jumpin' Jive Orch. from Victoria. ( Quick, some one tell me again how 
bad festivals are for OKOM)

The festival has had a unique problem not faced by those in the USA. 
Canada's dollar has steadily declined over a number of years in 
comparison to the US dollar, going to a low of $.62 per $1.00. Very 
quick calculations will tell you that Canadian festival expenses for US 
bands, airfare etc. cost us about 40%  over and above US festival costs. 
  (The bands were selling their CD's for $17.00US or $25.00Can.) I don't 
think I need to tell you how many CD's I bought at $25.00. The 
organizers have had to compensate over the years for this extra cost and 
although they were able to do so the festival dropped from a high of a 
21 group festival to about 15 or 16 bands. However, the festival 
continued to be successful.

Now we come to a specific problem. If you will recheck the statement 
issued by the administer of the Victoria Jazz festival, on their 
website, outlining their problems with the past festival, 2003, you will 
see that they know that the large drop in revenue was caused in large 
part by decreased attendance by US customers and they feel that was 
caused by decreased travel due to the US war in Iraq. Now, there has 
been a number of different scenarios mentioned such as the Gulf War, the 
events of 9/11, the demise of our audience for OKOM. In fact, at the 
festival directly following 9/11 this drop off in attendance did not 
occur. It was a situation unique to 2003. These people have a good long 
history of running this event and can tally, from past records, just 
about exactly how many fans will show. They have had about 6 months 
since the festival do digest their loss position and then set about 
trying to find sponsors for a 2004 festival that would allow for a 
successful festival as well as help to cover the loss for 2003. All this 
, of course, done with volunteers. They failed to secure this financing 
and decided to cancel the 2004 event to avoid further risk to their 
suppliers who were paid 80% of what they were owed for 2003.

Comments by some DJML members indicate that they don't buy the reasons, 
given for this cancellation, as being legit. Suggestions have been made 
that they are copping out, that they are not accepting the blame for 
their mistakes, that their reasons are BS and lastly that the cause is 
probably bad management. I fail to see that these suggestions have any 
validity given that their record speaks for itself and not only that but 
that the Victoria festivals have been an example that has been copied 
and used by several ensuing festivals.

I do not have anything to with the running of this festival. However I 
have been a regular attendant for about 17 years and have been a 
volunteer. This has been an excellent festival, has given myself and all 
those in the group that I attend with, many years of wonderful 
entertainment and is going to be badly missed.

I am disappointed in the failure of the festival and offended by the 
ensuing insulting summation of the festival organizers efforts.

Yours truly pissed off.

Len Nielsen
Victoria, Canada

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list