Monday, February 16, 2009

Recession Continues to Bite... and Bite

So far, we've chronicled festival suspensions and sponsorship woes, but today brings bad news on yet another level: poor ticket sales.

Last week, Cassandra Wilson won a Grammy Award; this week, she can't sell enough tickets in Portland to justify staging a double bill featuring her and another award-winning act, Jason Moran & The Bandwagon.

"In my 31 years as a jazz presenter this is the first time I have been faced with such an arduous decision," said Portland Jazz Festival artistic director Bill Royston in announcing the cancellation.

Wilson and Moran were scheduled to perform as part of the festival's tribute to Blue Note Records, marking the label's 70th anniversary.

"The economic downturn has loomed large over this year's event," said Royston, referring to the earlier loss of the festival's previous title sponsor and last-minute rescue by Alaska Airlines.


Blog Author said...

It would be interesting to know if ticket sales were really the issue. I don't have any inside information - just curious?

I'm a huge fan of Cassandra Wilson, but I do know that, several years ago, she pulled out of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday (the Tampa Bay area's longrunning, major annual jazz fest), long after her appearance had been billed.

Organizers were none too happy, to say the least, and (unfortunately) she hasn't been invited back.

James Hale said...

Reports are that only 400 of the 3000 seats had been sold.

Bill Royston says it was his decision to cancel, and knowing Bill, I believe him.