Syracuse Jazz Fest on the bubble

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 fmalfitano@syracusejazzfest.com.

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