From my inbox, a message from Kenny Koonce of The Highland Jazz and Blues Festival:
For the 6th year, the annual Highland Jazz and Blues Festival brought a unique experience to this hills of Columbia Park. One that is found no where else in our region of Louisiana. One that is more than just great music. But one that supports local artists and restaurants, and to promote the historic Highland neighborhood.
This year, though, could be the popular festival’s last! The festival has been made possible by the generous support of the City of Shreveport’s Neighborhood Improvement Project (NIP) grants and grants from Shreveport Regional Arts Council. In 2009 those grants were cut, so festival organizers made the decision to implement internal cost-cutting and use money from savings to put on this much-loved event. The festival’s savings, though, will be depleted after the 2009 event.
Past efforts to encourage festival goers to become event members to help raise money for the festival have met with limited success, says Kenney Koonce, Highland Jazz and Blues Festival Chairman. “We have always been a free event,” says Koonce, “and we believe that people just assume they can come and enjoy it and that we will always be here. The message we want to get out is that without the help of those people who love this festival we won’t be back next year.”
“It would be such a huge loss to Highland and Shreveport if this great event had to go away,” says Festival Organizer Amy Loe. “People really enjoy the festival and I think given the opportunity, will want to save it.”
“People have suggested we charge an admission fee, but fencing off the park and hiring enough security to enforce it would be amazingly expensive and almost impossible to accomplish. Plus, we are committed to keeping this an event that is accessible to all.”
“We are trying to get the word out about the festival’s situation. If it is important to people, we know they will come forward with help and donations,” says Koonce. “If we are not successful in fundraising, we will understand that it has been a great 6-year run and will move on to other things.” You can help save this popular event. Simply visit www.highlandjazzandblues.org to make your tax deductible contribution now. The organization also offers corporate sponsorship opportunities. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sure wish Katrina Mary would get $100 million to support that! Lacking that, I've made my donation. Come on Shreveport, step up and help out!