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Beaches Jazz Festival threatened by funding cuts

Posted by Derek Flack / March 19, 2014

Beaches Jazz FestivalThe 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



DJJazzyJeff / March 19, 2014 at 02:51 pm
Do these festivals like to use the word "Jazz" to try to make their events sound more sophisticated? Having been to the Beaches MUSIC festival many times, I can assure you there is little if any actual jazz to be heard - it's mostly blues or blues-rock.
Anything But / March 19, 2014 at 02:57 pm
You mean the Cracker Ass Blues-Rock Festival.

RoFore / March 19, 2014 at 03:10 pm
I'd go to an ass festival.
yikes / March 19, 2014 at 03:57 pm
i agree that the use of the name "jazz" in the title isn't a true representation of what it actually is anymore. there's also a beaches bluesfest that they should just sync up with. in any event it's like the one weekend in the year when the area is actually happening. seeing it go would be a bummer.
Done / March 19, 2014 at 04:04 pm
Things don't always need to grow grow grow, sometimes they loose their focus. Scaling back would probably be a good thing. ALSO these festivals that are nice to have but not a must have shouldn't rely on government funding to grow their business.

There should be rules in place where they can't get funding every single year, or they get it every other year, or for 5 years straight then the funding will start to be scaled back and they'll have to stand on their own so money can be allocated to new initiatives. It's always easier if your spending someone else's money. The festivals need to find their own ways to generate enough revenue to cover the costs.

Funding should decrease over the years not increase or remain the same.
Kate replying to a comment from yikes / March 19, 2014 at 04:16 pm
Chilelli is also the co-producer of the the Waterfront Blues Fest.
yikes replying to a comment from Kate / March 19, 2014 at 04:45 pm
then it makes even more sense
dan taco / March 19, 2014 at 08:51 pm
try charging admission
Jim / March 20, 2014 at 08:07 am
$75 Gazillion ??!!! I've never seen so many zeros (think about it)
Sounds like they don't need $ / March 20, 2014 at 08:28 am
This sounds like a successful festival but at this level it should also be self sustaining. Just because you got money before doesn't mean it's there for life. This isn't the Senate in Ottawa.
Mark / March 20, 2014 at 10:43 am
Simple solution. Rename it the Beaches Gay Jazz Festival and you'll have the city and province fighting over themselves to throw money at you. Or when you don't get funding you can go to the Human Rights Tribunal and say you were discriminated against due to homophobia. The money would flow one way or the other.
skeeter / March 20, 2014 at 10:48 am
"The Beaches International Jazz Festival, an 10-day event"

There's one letter too many there.
JoanThePhone replying to a comment from skeeter / March 21, 2014 at 01:08 pm
Actually skeeter, there are 3 letters too many. Isn't it The Beach?
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