Beaches Jazz Festival threatened by funding cuts
The Beaches International Jazz Festival, an 10-day event which draws hundreds of thousands of people to Queen Street East each year, is scrambling to revamp its plans for 2014 after being denied funding from the Celebrate Ontario program. The recipient of $75,000 in each of the last seven years, the festival was overlooked this year in part due to competition from other events looking for a piece of the pie.
Beaches-East York MPP Michael Prue wants Premier Kathleen Wynne to reverse the decision based on the size and popularity of the event. In a press release issued today, he notes that the 26 year old festival put $65 million into the Toronto economy last year and brought 500,000 to the Beaches area. With provincial funding accounting for roughly 20 per cent of the festival's budget, the event itself does not appear to be in danger. Director Lido does, however, warn that there will be major scale backs should the festival not recoup that money.
Some performers have already been dropped from the schedule and there will be a reduction in the number of stages. Both Prue and Chilleli have sounded alarm bells about the festival's long term future in the absence of provincial funds.
Photo by Scott Snider