Organizers seek online donations for proposed Indiana jazz festival
Indiana area jazz quintet Dad Band and the Indiana Arts Council are teaming up in an attempt to hold an open-air jazz and blues music festival in downtown Indiana this spring.
The Dad Band came up with the idea for the Westsylvania Jazz and Blues Festival while looking for a way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the group's formation.
At the same time, the Indiana Arts Council was looking for ways to promote free, outdoor concerts in Indiana County.
“The Arts Council's board did strategic planning over the summer and into the fall, and one of the things that came out of that was that the board really wanted to see the Arts Council helping to make outdoor music happen, meaning it's open and free to the public,” Arts Council Executive Director Rebecca Slak said. “Somewhere along the line, the Dad Band, over the summer, got in touch with the Arts Council and said, ‘Hey, we're thinking about doing this project, is there any way you can see of working together?'
“Of course it was an obvious fit. That's one of the nice things about a smaller community, when you can turn to another group and very quickly find partners like that.”
After getting the ball rolling with grants from the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and a donation from Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Lively Arts Program, the band organized a kickstarter.com campaign to help raise additional funds it could use to pay performers to come to the festival.
“We looked at our budget and said if we had another $6,000 that would be the bare minimum to do a festival,” said Michael Powers, the Dad Band's saxophonist and IUP's director of electronic communications. “Now, if we get $6,000 we're going to keep going to get some additional funds to make it an even better festival.
“At this point, with the need to book artists and to actually put this thing together the way we want, we really need that $6,000 plus some additional money we already have to do this and make it work. If we cannot, by the middle of January, get that amount of funding, then we know to just walk away from it and try to do it again next year.”
The kickstarter.com campaign, as of Jan. 3, had raised $2,040 toward its $6,000 goal, with a deadline of Jan. 15.
Powers envisions the festival as an all-day event drawing local, regional and national talent.
“We wanted to have a celebration and didn't want to charge people,” Powers said. “We wanted to make sure that people who aren't normally exposed to jazz and blues music have a chance to see it because it will be outside and it will be free.”
Organizers settled on a preferred location for the festival in the newly-finished IRMC Park on Indiana's North Seventh Street.
“It quickly became our place of choice,” Powers said of the location. “It's right downtown, it has great parking and we like having the festival downtown to celebrate downtown Indiana as much as the music itself. We think it's a great place; we want to introduce more people to it.”
The ability to provide a free public music festival and showcase downtown Indiana was especially appealing to the Indiana Arts Council.
“We're not duplicating a service that already exists. We hear a demand for outdoor public music events, and we can see that no one is providing that type of thing in town, so that was an attractive feature,” Slak said. “The fact that it is free and open to the public in that beautiful new space, ... that was just an opportunity we couldn't pass up to try to make that happen in that space.”
The Dad Band, which began performing together for the members' children and classmates, played a show on New Year's Eve at the Coventry Inn in Indiana to raise funds for the festival and is playing another fundraising show at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Artists Hand Gallery, 732 Philadelphia St., Indiana.
The one-day festival is tentatively scheduled to take place May 24. Powers said he hopes to include bands from local schools in the day's entertainment.
“Part of what we're doing has an educational aspect,” he said. “Our band will certainly be in the schools, and we'd like the other bands that participate to do school visits and talk to students and get their interest in music.
“We're hoping that we have a couple of high school or junior high school bands earlier in the day so they can get to experience playing there, and hopefully they can hang around to see some professionals playing later in the day, too.”
The groups playing at the festival could also schedule shows at local restaurants and bars after the conclusion of the event and potentially drive a boost in business throughout the area by attracting extra visitors to the county.
“The economics of running a festival like this are such that you have to pull people from a broader region,” Slak said. “Pulling people in, people who are going to come here and spend their dollars in our restaurants and maybe stay overnight in our hotels, those are really critical pieces. That happens when you propose a project like this that has a broader, regional spirit to it.”
For more information about the proposed festival, visit westsylvaniajazzandblues.org.
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Candidates for 62nd District House seat air clashing views on state tax revenues
- Old school days recalled at Keith reunion on IUP campus
- Blairsville eyes extended trail routes
- Lighting cost reduced for United High School project
- Man accused of sexual contact with teen in Indiana County
- Indiana County receives donation for new veterans transport van
- Blairsville-Saltsburg considers options for pending food service vacancy
- Former United facilities head fills post at Homer-Center School District
- Plea entered in slaying on Indiana County trail
- Rural Valley author helps raise awareness of disease through book sales
- Burrell supervisors earmark funding for water extension