Jazz Plus community forum tonight
Sonoma Jazz Plus will host an open community forum to solicit feedback from the community on all aspects of the festival at 6 p.m. today, Tuesday, June 21, at Ramekin's Culinary School and Event Center, 450 W. Spain St. in Sonoma.
Sonoma Jazz Plus, which completed its seventh season in May after raising more than $450,000 for music education programs in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District to date, along with another $150,000 for youth sports, emerged from the recent festival with an unsustainable operating deficit and is immediately initiating a fundraising campaign to ensure that the 2012 concert returns to Sonoma.
The campaign has a set a firm goal of $500,000, and progress will be reported through the summer until the goal is reached.
If sufficient funds are raised by mid-August, said President and CEO Jim Horowitz, the Sonoma Jazz Plus goal will be to finalize and announce its 2012 festival program by Nov. 15, with ticket sales commencing prior to the holiday season.
The fundraising campaign, said Horowitz, will involve all segments of the community including businesses and individuals.
If the campaign is unsuccessful, the 2012 festival will be cancelled.
Ramekins owner Darius Anderson, a member of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass board of directors and the Sonoma Festival chairman, said that the festival's contribution to youth music and sports can be preserved and extended with community support.
Anderson said that the festival has more than $60,000 reserved to maintain Sonoma Jazz Plus in-school programs through the 2011-12 year calendar.
Jazz Aspen, the Sonoma festival's parent organization and the concert booking and promotion service AEGLive, which has contracted with the festival to provide top tier performers, will continue to work diligently, said Anderson, "to insure we have the right line-up of talent appropriate for the Sonoma market, with the advantage of starting on the programming process this summer."
But, he added, "The effort for 2012 cannot begin until we have reached this fundraising goal. If the goal isn't reached, unfortunately, the festival is finished."