Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jazz & Blues in the Village, Sarnia - Two small groups are better than one ...

“Two small groups are better than one” …

THE INSIDE SCOOP is fortunate to obtain interesting SCOOP from Donna Stewart, Jazz & Blues in the Village, Festival Director and the Committee continues …

My next question to the Committee … What was the philosophy and thought process of the decisions in respect to the concepts, activities, themes, events for Jazz & Blues in the Village? “The idea of a jazz festival grew out of the identification of a need to raise the profile of our charity, increase the funds available to support patients and a desire to offer something to the community.  We did not view direct fund raising as an appropriate means to raise funds but wanted to offer a unique event.  At the time, 2003-2004, jazz festivals were just appearing on the summer entertainment scene across Ontario and Canada.  The original concept was to start small and grow recognizing that it would take a minimum of 5 years to break even.  Because we are a very small, local charity we knew we could not develop the event on our own and so we invited the Mitton Business Development Association (a small shopping/business area long ignored by the City of Sarnia) to join with us in producing the festival thinking that two small groups could do good work together.  Some original aspects of the festival such as providing food were necessary to comply with liquor license requirements.  The vision of the founders was a street festival that would see the involvement of merchants with sidewalk sales/activities, strolling musicians, secondary stages along the street and the main stage in the municipal parking lot.   For the third year the festival relocated and the involvement of the merchants decreased as issues arose around the closure of the street.  We were invited to hold the festival at a city-owned park close by and the event morphed into more of a neighbourhood fall festival. The business owner who was the then chair of the BDA and his entire family are still involved in the festival with his wife Donna serving as our Festival Director.  A couple of businesses continue as sponsors.    We offer unique aspects with our festival including decorating the park with cornstalks and scarecrows.  Jazz & Blues in the Village is not just music in a park but is “a unique experience” as we invite people to “come and party under our tent”.
(To Be Continued)

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