Daily Agenda - Atlanta Magazine
 
 
 
Archives

Author Jon Ross

  • Jon Ross

 

Jazz Age

Despite ups and downs, annual festival has never lost its rhythm

When pianist Herbie Hancock gazed out over Piedmont Park on Memorial Day in 2007, there was barely a patch of grass unoccupied by picnic blankets or folding chairs. It was closing night of the three-day Atlanta Jazz Festival, and 100,000 people packed the park to celebrate the free event’s thirtieth anniversary. A year later, a relatively meager crowd wedged into Downtown’s Woodruff Park for just two days of concerts. The event had to be relocated due to drought, costing the festival thousands in lost sponsorship dollars. Organizers staged a “no-frills festival,” relying mostly on $120,000 in residual funds, says Camille Russell Love, director of the Office of Cultural Affairs. “I basically told my staff, we’re going to create a festival that we can afford to create,” she says. “We’ll use local artists, but we won’t lose the momentum of the festival.” Read more...