(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Detroit's Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts' 2005 Detroit International Jazz Festival, September 2-5, was the most successful in its 26-year history. The festival earned an operating surplus for the first time in years and drew an estimated 1 million people into downtown Detroit, nearly doubling attendance over the previous year. This year's festival expanded from Hart Plaza along Woodward Avenue to the new Campus Martius Park and featured Dave Brubeck, David "Fathead" Newman, McCoy Tyner, Medeski Martin & Wood, Les McCann, Gerald Wilson and Charles McPherson. For the first time, the festival also featured significant blues, R&B, funk and gospel acts, including The Funk Brothers, Dr. John and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
The 2005 Festival earned a surplus of approximately $150,000 over direct festival expenditures, while the 2004 festival broke even. Increased attendance helped food and beverage sales to soar by 80% and merchandise sales to increase by 20% over the preceding year.
"We welcomed visitors from as far away as Japan and Europe for this year's Festival and we were, of course, happy to see thousands of new faces from across our own metropolitan area," said Alex Parrish, Music Hall's chairman of the board.
Parrish credited this year's success to "the expanded festival venue, the great lineup put together by Frank Malfitano, the addition of some key new staffers such as Terri Pontremoli and Mark Loeb, strong oversight this year by Music Hall's management team and a new steering committee headed by Trustee Sam Thomas, the unwavering commitment of Music Hall's Board of Trustees and staff, over many difficult years, and the great overall improvements that are occurring downtown."
"We also had more and much better food and beverage vendors," said Parrish. "Much of the credit for that goes to Big Boy Restaurants International, which did an outstanding job as our general concessions manager for this year."
The Festival was made possible by a number of generous sponsors, including this year's title sponsor, Mack Avenue Records, as well as the Knight Foundation, Bank One, Absopure, MGM Grand Casino, Greektown Casino and hundreds of volunteers. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen