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Center City Jazz Festival: Kicking in the Money

Suzanne Cloud on the pros and cons of a Kickstarter campaign to do a jazz festival in clubs in Philadelphia

Ernest Stuart

When trombonist Ernest Stuart created his Kickstarter campaign to jump start a Center City Jazz Festival in Philadelphia, not too many folks really (and I mean really) thought he’d make the amount he needed. Yeah right, he’s gonna get fans to fork over $16,500. Philadelphia fans that bellyache over a $20 cover? Are you kidding? Dubious Facebook people watched cynically, but hopeful, day by day as the pledges inched up, stalled, inched up again, leveled off, and then exploded to ultimately reach $17, 296.

One had to wonder. Was this a new kind of pay-to-play scheme that was just shifting the onus from the bands to the fans and once again leaving venues alone to reap the benefits of free music?

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