The numbers may have been down, but that did not stop the music during the Jazz at the Lake Festival.
According to Eric Allison, one of the event organizers and founders, said there was nothing but positive feedback about this year’s festival.
The only downside to the revival of the festival this year was the numbers being down.
According to Allison the number of tickets sold were down from both what they had expected and years past.
“We still had full events, so I’m not upset about the numbers at all. Just something of note,” said Allison.
When asked why he believed the numbers were down, Allison admitted to to knowing.
He said it could have been a number of factors including a still less-than-stellar economy or attendees no longer being “in the swing of things.”
“Maybe because we have had the concert series for the past couple of years our audience is just out of the groove,” he suggested.
Despite the smaller audience than expected, Allison said there were many upsides to the weekend.
One upside Allison was very happy about the the turnout for one of the free events.
The Jazz in the Park event, which took place at Lions Legacy Park on Aug. 19, had a great number of people out to enjoy three great bands; H.O.T Dixieland Jazz Band, Jazz Explosion and the Red Deer College Big Band.
“I think we had more people come out for Jazz at the Park than we have before,” Allison said.
Another highlight of the festival is what was meant to be an hour-long brass clinic with trumpet player, and festival headliner, Jon Faddis.
By the time the clinic was over, Faddis had spent nearly two-and-a-half hours listening to each trumpet and brass player in the room.
“Jon wouldn’t leave until he listened to and critiqued every player that came out. It was absolutely amazing,” said Allison.
Allison also pinpointed the final event of the festival, the Pubs and Clubs event, as a particular highlight.
Specifically, Allison pointed out the show at Fireside Restaurant & Lounge where the band The Polyjesters were playing.
He said the crowd was loud and energetic as they listened to the band out of Calgary.
“When I got there they were yelling and cheering after each song. It was great to see and really entertaining,” said Allison.
A personal highlight for Allison was being asked to play a couple songs on stage with Faddis during the Friday night concert.
He says the experience was completely unplanned, but was wonderful.
“That was an absolutely amazing experience, really it was just great,” Allison said.
Overall, Allison says the weekend-long festival went very well.
He called the experience exhilarating.
“I think it went very well considering we were a little out of practise,” he said.
Now the festival is done he will be meeting with the other organizers to discuss the weekend overall.
In doing so, the organizers will discuss what worked and what didn’t over the weekend. The events they feel didn’t work will either be cut out of the festival or tweaked to better suit it.
“I can’t say what we would change as it is a group decision, but there will be a discussion soon,” Allison said.
After the two year mini-hiatus, where the festival put on a concert series instead, Allison is confident the festival will continue or awhile yet.
“Everyone was so glad to see the festival-weekend come back,” he said.
Allison was also thankful to all the sponsors and volunteers who helped over the weekend.
he said without the work and dedication of the volunteers and the sponsors the jazz festival would not be possible.
“I think we will be doing this for a while yet. For as long as we can in any case,” said Allison.