Mar 21, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
The 28th annual jazz bash considers expanding back to three days at OCC
For 17 years, from 1992 to 2007, Syracuse Jazz Festival ran for three days each. When the recession swept Central NY in 2008, however, the festival trimmed back to two days, eliminating its Sunday finale. It ran for two days again last year.
While the economy remains stagnant, founder Frank Malfitano refuses to allow the festival to stagnate. He hopes to expand the 28th annual jazz bash to three days, June 25, 26 and 27, at Onondaga Community College.
“This year our headliners were available Saturday and Sunday, so we want to make Friday happen as well,” said Malfitano, who will announce the 2010 headline acts at a downtown press conference Friday morning, March 26.
“Going back to three days means more main-stage acts, more scholastic acts, more clinics and more attendees, all of which adds up to more economic development for the region,” Malfitano said. “Frankly, I see the third day as crucial to the festival’s ongoing growth and expansion program. If we stay with just two days, I’ll consider that a failure.”
Malfitano and festival educational coordinator Steve Frank have contacted 14 local student ensembles to perform at the 2010 fest. Since making its debut at OCC in 2001 with an appearance by Wynton Marsalis, the festival’s award-winning scholastic program has nurtured hundreds of aspiring jazz artists.
“If we book all three days” Steve Frank said, “there will be more than 250 student musicians performing for festival audiences, attending clinics and jam sessions and ‘rubbing elbows’ with, and learning from, some of the biggest names in the world of jazz.”
Along with the OCC Jazz Band, other scholastic acts hoping to appear at this year’s festival are the Henninger High School Jazz Ensemble, the Syracuse Parks & Recreation Department’s Stan Colella All-Star Band, the Westhill High School Jazz Ensemble, the Solvay High School Jazz Combo, the Corcoran High School Jazz Ensemble;
The Manlius Pebble Hill Jazz Combo, the Skaneateles Middle School Jazz Ensemble, the Skaneateles High School Jazz Ensemble, the Marcellus High School Jazz Ensemble, the West Genesee High School Jazz Band, the Fayetteville-Manlius High School Jazz Band, the Paul V. Moore High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble from Central Square and the Liverpool High School Jazz Ensemble.
The festival was staged one year at Song Mountain Ski Resort (1983), seven years at Long Branch Park in Liverpool (1984-90) and 10 years in downtown’s Clinton Square (1991-2000), where Jazz Fest pioneered the redevelopment of the square for use as a festival site. From 2001 through 2010 the fest has been staged on the OCC campus on Onondaga Hill.
“This year, sponsors and supporters are responding positively to the festival’s new expansion plan,” Malfitano said, “because we have a proven track record, and because they know it’s NOT hypothetical, theoretical or conjecture. I mean, we previously expanded Jazz Fest for the 25th anniversary in 2007, when our budget swelled to $650,000, and we headlined with Bela Fleck, Dave Brubeck and Aretha Franklin, drawing nearly 90,000 attendees over three days which generated $5.5 million in economic development. So the precedent for this new model was set.”
In 2008, festival headliners were Sergio Mendes and Chaka Khan. Last year, sax superstar Kenny G drew an estimated 35,000 on Saturday night after Spyro Gyra headlined the main stage on Friday.
The festival’s 2010 budget is about $305,000, Malfitano said, the same as 2009. It would take about $100,000 more to cover costs of a third day.
“Three days is definitely do-able,” he said, “but we don’t have the money yet.”
Potential sponsors should contact Malfitano at (315) 437-5627, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.