June 30, 2023
Dear Erie’s Blues &Jazz Festival Partners, Donors and Audience,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that despite our best efforts, the volunteer Board of Erie’s Blues & Jazz Festival has decided we can not produce a 2023 Festival of the same quality and tradition of Festivals past. Therefore, we will not be gathering August 4-6, 2023, in Frontier Park as previously promoted.
We have not made this decision lightly. We love the Festival and our audience. We volunteer our time because we believe in the power of this event to both showcase outstanding musicians whose work arises from Blues, Jazz and the African diaspora, and to bring our community together in Frontier Park, one of Erie’s best public spaces. We are also committed to keeping the Festival free. This commitment and these ideals have helped us attract a robust and diverse audience for thirty years.
With annual expenses nearing $100,000 and competitiveness of local funding, meeting our Festival goals without year-round staffing has become increasingly difficult. Prior to last year’s event, I decided it was time to step down as Artistic Director. This has been a transitional year with many challenges. With just five weeks left to plan and substantial gaps remaining in funding, volunteers and talent, we are not confident that we can produce the high-quality, safe and enjoyable event that you have come to expect. As the Festival’s leaders, we must make this difficult but responsible choice. It gives us the best chance of returning in the near future.
We are thankful to the generous partners and sponsors who have stuck with us and the new donors attracted to the legacy of the Festival. And, we are thankful for you, our loyal audience.
Planning for 2024 begins now. It’s time to reshape our thinking about the Festival and our structure.
Here’s our plan:
www.erieartsandculture.org/donate and designate your donation to the Erie’s Blues & Jazz Festival in the comments section of the donation page.
We believe there is still a need and a place for the Blues and Jazz Festival in Erie’s future, but we will not tarnish the legacy that so many have worked to create and even more have enjoyed. We will miss you this August, but we hope that you will support a rebirth of the Festival in the near future.
It has been my great honor to serve as Founder and Festival Artistic Director since 1992. On behalf of the Board of Directors of Erie’s Blues & Jazz Festival, thank you for showing up, dancing and sharing your love of the arts together.
This letter is supported by the members of Erie’s Blues &Festival Board of Directors:
Danny Jones, President
Richard Chapman, Vice President
John Vanco, Treasurer
Anne Rahner, Secretary
Erie Blues and Jazz Festival
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