Organizers and supporters of Toronto’s Beaches International Jazz Festival (BIJF) are asking music fans to sign a petition calling on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and the provincial government to restore funding for the public festival.
Organizers are asking supporters to go to THIS LINK to write a letter to Premier Wynne asking for her to intervene and restore the festival’s funding.
**The following letter is from the Beaches International Jazz Festival: **
For more than 25 years, the Beaches International Jazz Festival (BIJF) has been a Toronto tradition. Each year, it welcomes more than 500,000 people free of charge to experience world-class jazz performances right in the heart of the Beaches community. Regularly ranked amongst the top 10 outdoor festivals in the world, the BIJF contributes more than $65 million dollars of revenue to the City, and specifically $30 million of that money right into the Beaches/East York community from which it has grown.
This year, the festival is in danger of being drastically reduced in size and scope because the funding that it has regularly received for the past six years has not been renewed by the government. The organization responsible, Celebrate Ontario, has decided that the funds requested – earmarked for paying the hundreds of local musicians to perform – could be better spent funding other non-public events (events that require the purchase of tickets or admission fees). This reduction in funding will likely cause a number of important programs to be cut, including the Youth, Latin and Big Band stages, the ever popular Streetfest, and the Multi-Arts and Photography Program – all of which have come to be some of the most popular and loved programs offered each and every year.
Beaches-East York MPP Michael Prue wants Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to intervene and restore funding to the festival.
The Beaches International Jazz Festival is an important part of Toronto’s culture and tradition. We ask that you show your support by signing the petition below to affirm that you believe that Celebrate Ontario should restore the funding to the festival to allow it to continue to represent, encourage and entertain the public by showcasing the world-class talent that calls Toronto home.
“The future of the festival is definitely in question because we rely on government support and corporate sponsorship because it’s a free festival” – Lido Chilelli, executive director of the Beaches International Jazz Festival
“This is the largest jazz festival by far in the whole province. This festival generates $65 million into the Toronto economy and over $30 million of that right in the Beach area.” – Beaches-East York MPP Michael Prue
For more information on the BIJF, go to www.beachesjazz.com.