Park Record Editorial, May 12, 2010 |

Park Record Editorial, May 12, 2010

Demise of Jazz fest is big loss for Park City

The Park City Jazz Foundation’s shaky financial footing has been well publicized for at least a year. So it was not a surprise when it was announced that this summer’s festival was cancelled. Nevertheless, the news is giving us the blues.

From its inception in 1997, the Park City Jazz Foundation had big plans for a three-day festival of internationally recognized performers. Fortunately the founders were able to enlist the support of generous sponsors so residents and visitors were instantly spoiled by a roster of outstanding musicians and beautiful venues at Deer Valley and the Eccles Center.

Those first years were memorable: Pancho Sanchez, Natalie Cole, Al Jarreau, Chaka Khan Jerry Floor, Jeff Hamilton and many more. Jazz lovers had the best of everything, urban music in a mountain setting accompanied by Park City’s world-class hospitality.

And the festival had another dimension, one that arguably helped to launch the local high school jazz ensemble to the top of the state rankings. Each year many of the festival’s headliners spent a day with high school music students from around the state. After their private tutoring sessions some took the stage to open for their mentors. Heady stuff for a small town high school. Over the festival’s decade long run, several Park City high school musicians thrived under the program.

This summer there will be a noticeable hole in the Deer Valley amphitheater’s schedule. August just won’t be the same without saxophone solos and trombone riffs echoing off the mountainsides.

The jazz foundation’s current board probably made a wise choice to forgo the event this year rather than risk a financial fiasco but they say they are still holding out hope for 2011. We are too.

The jazz festival was an integral part of Park City’s summer event calendar which has been driving more and more business to the town every year. The festival had the potential to become a destination in and of itself and we hope that this hiatus, while organizers try to line up new sponsors, is temporary.

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