Wednesday, June 28, 2017
   
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2010 Ottawa Jazz Festival Countdown: What the loss of Marquee funding means for jazz festival fans

Loss of the federal Marquee Tourism funding means the Ottawa Jazz Festival will have fewer opportunities to bring jazz outside its core Confederation Park audience.

Planned late-night concerts at Elgin Street clubs are now "off the table", says Festival executive director Catherine O'Grady. Expanding concerts into the Glebe: also "off the table". The Festival is still planning a free concert on June 23, the day before its official opening, she said, but the lineup will be substantially scaled back (O'Grady said the lineup will be announced next week).

Another loss will be a proposed second screen in the park. Currently, she said, "the sound is fine, but people way back have problems seeing." The second screen would have made it easier for all audience members to see the musicians.

Also included in the proposal was increased marketing and advertising, and "tons of small things" which won't now go ahead.

The afternoon OLG workshop program had been included in the funding request, but O'Grady said that series would continue. The Festival would pay from for it from its own funds because it had already made commitments to the artists.

After the news of the funding rejection became public two weeks ago, local MP Paul Dewar had asked the government to review and reconsider it. O'Grady said she appreciated the support, but it had no effect. "It's definite," O'Grady said. "It's not going to change."

She said what was particularly frustrating was not being able to get feedback on the festival's proposal from either Industry Canada (the federal department that administers the Marquee program), or from local cabinet minister John Baird. The festival had wanted to learn why it was rejected and how it could improve its applications in the future, but its calls weren't returned.

Ottawa Jazz Scene's phone calls to Industry Canada on this issue were also not returned.

In Ottawa-Gatineau, only Bluesfest ($1,987,500) and the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival ($704,578) received Marquee funding in 2010. In 2009, both these festival received funding, along with the Ottawa jazz festival ($338,000), and Chamberfest ($213,331). In 2010, the total Marquee funding was $43.2M Canada-wide.

– Alayne McGregor