This year's Tacoma Jazz & Blues Festival has been canceled. Organizer Rich Wetzel issued a press release over the weekend outlining a drop in sponsorship for the event, which was scheduled to take place on July 30 in South Tacoma.
“Based on the sponsorship minimum it takes to produce the festival, sadly I have to let everyone know we are canceling the Saturday, July 30, 2016 date for what would have been the 14th annual Tacoma Jazz & Blues Festival,” he wrote. “At this point I just want to take some time off and re-evaluate if I want to do the festival again, or some other location or format, or just go back to producing a few special guest artist concerts each year instead with my band.”
Founded in 2002, the event moved around to several venues – the Swiss and Harmon taverns, Broadway Center, Freighthouse Square – before landing in South Tacoma and becoming a block party in 2014.
Last summer, the event drew several hundred jazz and blues enthusiasts to a two block stretch of South Tacoma Way, between 54th and 56th streets, with main stage talent that included Tacoma singer-songwriter and NBC-TV “The Voice” alumnus Stephanie Anne Johnson, “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” trumpet player Chuck Findley and Portland soul man Curtis Salgado.
After a “precipitous drop” in sponsorship this year, Wetzel established a May deadline for determining whether the event would go forward. He said the festival has cost about $30,000 to put on each of the last two years, a budget that is covered by ticket sales and sponsorships by regional businesses.
Ernest A. Jasmin, Tacoma Weekly