[Dixielandjazz] Victoria Jazz Festival/was declining festivalattendance

Jeanne Brei TinPanAlleyCat at cox.net
Wed Dec 17 01:21:14 PST 2003

Hey Len,
   As a festival goer, I went up to Victoria the last year the Black Dogs
played there (I went to every festival that Steve Yocum and the Dogs played
that year -- from Clearwater, Florida to Victoria, British Columbia to their
final spot at the Orange County festival) -- and I can attest that it was
and hopefully will be in the future again -- a fabulous festival!
    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to go back after that first time -- 
not because I didn't want to -- but because my income took a sharp dip after
9/11 and the economy has been very sluggish in recouperating -- perhaps the
lack of disposable income has kept many U.S. citizens home -- I'm certainly
not afraid to travel, I just don't have the funds to go far...
    The best part about Victoria's festival -- in addition to it's
absolutely gorgeous surroundings -- was the extraordinary young swing
dancers that were there -- more guys who were great dancers than girls!
Swing dancing heaven for me! And the bands were GREAT! I love the variety -- 
and they certainly appreciate swing and show bands up there...
Jeanne Brei
Tin Pan Alley Cat Entertainment
(702) 254-3832 / jeannebrei at cox.net

P.S. I'm glad to hear that everybody who is on the board are volunteers -- 
it's sort of disheartening to read in the Sacramento paper that the
Sacramento Trad Jazz Society spends $40,000 a month ALL YEAR LONG in
expenses! Someone said that their president is on a large salary with a
large office staff and a car and many other benefits -- no wonder the best
festival in the country is having such difficulty -- you can't spend more
than you take in!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Len Nielsen" <lennielsen at telus.net>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 10:50 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Victoria Jazz Festival/was declining

> 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
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