on a happier note

For the past two weeks in the Auroran two letters have been submitted regarding the recent JazzFusstival up in Newmarket.

Nora McNellis’ rant does not stray from her outing last November in which she claims the Aurora Jazz+/- festival “put our town on the map culturally”. You can read that one here: http://www.yorkregion.com/opinion-story/1450688-council-s-actions-embarrassment-to-town/

Equaly drenched with hyperbole P.C. Smith’s letter touched on elements of “respect”, “encouragement” and support that the organizers supposedly “so richly deserved”.

Smith’s letter couldn’t have summed up better one of the primary failings of the festival organizers: a sense of entitlement.

From its inception the Aurora Jazz+/- Festival never appeared without some sort of controversy.
When it chose not to apply for a permit in 2013 to operate a festival in town park instead of assuming it was rightfully theirs they moved to Newmarket.

The only reasonable response to letters like McNellis’s and Smith’s going on about the gaping hole a Jazz Fest has left in our cultural and economic fabric is to call it for what it is: bullshit.

The town of Aurora never received the R.O.I. measurements of the 2012 festival, positively or otherwise. If there were numbers to show a clear R.O.I. it should have
been all that much easier to succeed in applying for a permit for future festivals.

Even if we take the elements of sustainability and economic impact off the table I find it absurd, and downright insulting to hear that as Aurorans we are to believe there is this huge void left in our culture when this year Aurora has enjoyed:

The Aurora Winter Blues Festival
Back in March $5,210 was raised for Blue Door Shelters.

An Evening of Legends
The Team WolfPack event back in May raised $230,000 and featured Canadian acts: The Barenaked Ladies & Jim Cuddy.

The Town of Aurora‘s Sesquicentennial adhoc committee ran a free concert featuring Canadian Jazz Rock band Lighthouse back in June. This complimented its well attended Concerts in the Park series, also free.

Celebrate Aurora, an inclusive music event engaging the town’s youth ran in late July with donations going to the Aurora food pantry.

In under 2 weeks Ribfest, another Town run event, will fill Machell Park with live music including Canadian pop rock band Honeymoon Suite.

Come mid September, the 25th annual Magna Hoedown will run under the largest outdoor tent in the country. Last year’s event raised over $500K for charities.

So to recap, through just these 7 events, serving a wide range of tastes and age ranges Aurora will have enriched itself culturally as well as raising nearly 3/4 million dollars. That’s on top of any resulting economic impact.

The Aurora Jazz+/- Festival didn’t fit in with these events. Events that could arguably be said to have put our town on the map culturally. Events that check their sense of entitlement at the door and reciprocated support and respect in a genuine desire to cooperate with the town.

A huge portion of Aurorans are relieved that the JazzFusstival organizers have taken their business elsewhere as reflected in a letter that appeared on pg 4 of the January 22nd edition of the Auroran which I will include here:

Reader plea: Stop the madness

Please no more about poor Sher St. Kitts and her ill fated profit making (for her) Jazz Festival.

Please stop the madness. I don’t want to hear anymore.

Brent Hotham

I’m with Mr. Hotham.

It’s not that I don’t want to hear Jazz. I enjoy jazz, but what we’ve been subjected to in Aurora has been Jazz from Hell.

Not to be confused with ‘Jazz From Hell’ the 1986 masterpiece from Frank Zappa, an album full of interesting harmonies and sophisticated melodies and the one Steve Vai, says is his total favorite, and ‘he never travels anywhere without.’

Jazz From Hell was one of the first albums to have a parental advisory sticker despite the fact that the album is completely instrumental. The labeling was punishment for Zappa pointing out the flaws in lobbyist bullshit.

Not unlike the punishment members of Aurora council are receiving by way of these recent letters to the editor that threaten retribution from the poor culturally deprived come election time.

If you’re curious as to the politics behind Zappa’s album be sure to check out this wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_from_Hell as well as this documentary:

Kudos to the majority of town council and town staff for ensuring that Aurora didn’t miss a beat this year, proving that our town is more than capable of putting ourselves on the map without compromising the elements of encouragement and respect as in the recent past.


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