Sacramento Music Festival Seeks Funds from Volunteers, Members

SACRAMENTO—

Is the chance to keep the sounds and sights of the Sacramento Music Festival worth $47.06 to you?

The Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, which runs the music extravaganza, put out an S.O.S. to its 1,700 volunteers and members saying the festival’s funds were $80,000 below budget.

In an effort to sort out the money mess, FOX40 went to get answers from executive director Vivian Abraham.

“Not right now. Really bad time,” she said through her apartment screen door, telling FOX40 she was home sick on a worker’s compensation claim.

Abraham is one of only two paid employees who work on the festival.

The other, 28-year-old office coordinator Jennifer Colindres, had her mother offer a ‘no comment’ on her behalf.

In its second year of building on the kind of improv jazz it is known for, the festival added country and Latin music to its lineup.

The move was positive according to Mike Testa with the  Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.

He spoke with FOX40 by phone from a trade show in Nashville.

“Last year was the first year they brought in some of those nationally recognized bands and attendance and ticket sales were up over 10 percent.

This year, when they marketed the  headliners, pre-event ticket sales were up by 40 percent, he said.

Testa’s group has partnered with the society to help promote the festival.

He, too, is unclear on how the budget hole formed.

That hole may end up devouring some unique times in the courtyard at Old Sac’s Firehouse Restaurant.

It’s filled with diners on Monday night, but back in May during the festival, 500 die-hard music fans filled the space.

“It does bring people from all over the world,” said long-time general manager Mario Ortiz.

It’s a special time for this business, and for the city, and Ortiz hopes money troubles don’t stop the music.

“If there’s any angels out there please step up [because] i think it’s worthwhile…definitely worthwhile keeping it,” he said.

If the finances are fixed, Mike Testa says ‘paring down’ may be the best way for the festival to survive.

This year it featured 100 different bands on 16 different stages.

‘Aftershock’ in Sacramento, ‘Bottle Rock’ in Napa and  “Outside Lands’ – which just wrapped up in San Francisco – all focus on just three or four stages.

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