Jazz Fest Sells Shelter To Highest Bidder

Apr 26, 2008 by

Jazz Fest 2008

Jazz Fest 2008 by Often Absurd in the Humid City, on Flickr

The Following is the text of an email I received today. I was carbon copied along with the TP at my request. Since this very subject was the topic of much conversation during the afternoon torrents I felt it deserved to be shared. What are your thoughts? -Loki, HumidCity, Founder

It is 4:30 and I am writing this letter from the WWOZ hospitality tent (because I happily plunked down $380 to go to jazz fest and support WWOZ). For me to stop listening to the music to write the TP is phenomenal, but this time it has gone too far. I have been going to jazz fest for 40 years (1969 Congo Square before it was jazz fest). I worked there seven years for free and another eight for minimum wage. The last years I was the day fair book keeper and I know better than most how expensive jazz fest is to produce. So I have defended jazz fest when they added corporate sponsorships, when they sold areas for private parties, and when they increased their daily cost.

But today at 4:00 pm on my way to Bobby Lounge, I looked up at the grandstand and it was empty. Maybe 20 people inside away from the rain and another dozen on the balconies. In the pouring rain????

Well this year, the jazz fest closed the Grandstand to everyone but the Foundation and the Big Chief Experience People. So if you came thinking that you could run to the Grandstand if it rains, next year you will have to pay $500 or so to get in. Or you will have to have a friend on the Foundation willing to share the perks and highly expensive catering they enjoy. Shame on the Foundation, shame on AIG, and shame on FPI who was forced to sell their soul to the Foundation and AIG.

How many seats does jazz fest have to sell at $500 to make up for the $50 tickets that were locked out of the Grandstand today? Think about it.

Pat Williamson

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