New Orleans Jazz Fest Will Go On

Tuesday, August 17th 2004, 1:42 pm
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will go on, say organizers, despite losses of $800,000 to $900,000 on this year's event.

``We do not have the $2 million to roll out the (2005) festival,'' Byron Hughey, treasurer of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, said recently. ``But there will be a festival. I can assure you of that.''

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the U.S.-led war in Iraq hurt attendance and cut into profits from the 2002 and 2003 festivals. The foundation tapped into its financial reserves to meet its charitable donations and didn't have much left to cover losses from this year's event, which was hurt by several days of rain.

Don Marshall, the foundation's new executive director, said he plans to launch a Friends of the Fest membership organization and become more aggressive about applying for grants.

On the festival side, Marshall said marketing and sponsorship plans, the musical lineup and nighttime concerts will be re-evaluated.

The foundation is negotiating with Festival Productions Inc., which has produced the annual music festival since it began in 1970. Quint Davis, president of the company, said Festival Productions is willing to help ease the foundation's financial woes, like it did in 1972, the last time the festival ended up in the red.

``In our proposal, we have offered to put up all of the money that it takes, not only to put up the money (to start the festival) but to cover potential losses from the festival,'' Davis said.