The 14th annual Tacoma Jazz and Blues Festival, slated for July 30, is in financial trouble and needs help to keep going. The annual event with indoor and outdoor stages along South Tacoma Way has lost several of its sponsors, says Rich Wetzel, who will postpone the event if he doesn’t find more by early May.
“In the past we’ve had a variety of businesses (support the festival), but so far some folks just say it is tight this year,” said Wetzel, a trumpeter and bandleader who has organized the festival from the beginning. “It’s just been tough. I’ve heard other events are running into the same issue. … I’m hoping (people) realize their help is important. If we do not find some sponsors very soon we may have to cancel the festival this year.”
While Wetzel has a few possibilities for sponsors, he’s still short of the $15,000-$20,000 he needs to run the festival at its current level, which last year included 17 bands across four stages over an entire day and evening. Vendor and ticket sales don’t cover the costs. Even $10,000-$15,000 would make the festival possible, Wetzel says, but in a different format.
“I hate to cancel or skip a year,” he says. “But I really have to decide by the first week of May. If we are still sitting at zero I just can’t do it.”
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More information on the festival is at 253-227-0335 or tacomajazzfestival.com.