Wrap-up of the 35th edition
Montreal, Monday, July 7, 2014 — The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan just celebrated its 35th edition… and what a celebration it was! Overflowing with jazz and joy, we took particular notice of how deeply our crowds love their jazz festival: Montrealers were visibly proud and delighted with their beloved event, tourists were thrilled to discover or rediscover their favourite Jazzfest, and a wide range of artists and journalists affirmed that they were happily attending nothing less than the largest music festival in the world! Under summer sunshine, Montrealers and their guests poured into the site to the tune of 2 million visits and shared a long, uninterrupted passionate musical embrace over the course of 11 days and nights… because Jazz means “happiness”!
Without a doubt, this unparalleled program was especially mind-boggling. From the event of this 35th, featuring Michael Bublé, returning 10 years after his Festival debut to offer superb back-to-back shows in the Centre Bell, to the first visit by the majestic Diana Ross in an epic performance—yes, after 35 years, our programmers still find ways to bring us new artists who’ve never played the Festival!—we really heard and saw it all this year: Rufus Wainwright, returning after his massive free outdoor event in 2012 and still packing his venues three nights running; Earth, Wind & Fire, who pulled the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier crowd out of their seats to dance and share in the contagious groove-euphoria; Keith Jarrett and his entirely improvised concert; Cœur de pirate, who unveiled a completely new and magnificent facet of her artistic persona and was in perfect emotional tune with us, judging by the Tweet she sent out immediately following the show (“Oh wow !”); the irresistible duo of Ben Harper-Charlie Musselwhite; Ginette Reno visiting Oliver Jones during his closing concert, and Lady Gaga making a surprise guest appearance with Tony Bennett; not to mention the explosive fusion of cinema, music and dance that was For the Record: Tarantino in Concert, or the always incredible Invitation TD series, which welcomed 4 artists this year, Harry Manx, Ambrose Akinmusire, Tigran and Gianmaria Testa.
And the free outdoor program was no less astonishing! Start with THE grand evening of this 35th edition, the great Diana Krall in the TD Grand Event presented in collaboration with SiriusXM. The event drew a massive crowd of over 100,000—as well as husband Elvis Costello, who joined his wife onstage to the surprise and delight of all! It was a memorable Festival moment, a genuine musical gift that no one who attended will ever forget. Add in the other three major outdoor free events—the Bell Opening Event with Woodkid, the Rendez-vous Loto-Québec in collaboration with Sony starring Vintage Trouble (and singer Ty Taylor—what a performer!) and the Rio Tinto Alcan Special Closing Event with Deltron 3030, as well as an array of other impressive free concerts (Bobby Bazini, Susie Arioli, Random Recipe and Conjunto Chappottín y Sus Estrellas—wow!), and one can understand how the Quartier des Spectacles hosted “the jazz world’s biggest street party” according to The Economist!
The Festival and Montreal: a ruby wedding
The Festival and Montreal have enjoyed a marvelously successful marriage for three and a half decades, built on harmony and osmosis between the event and its city. No other event with “Montréal” proudly stamped in its title brings the city such international notoriety—and it must be observed that Montréalers are proud of their Festival! Quite simply, it would be impossible at this point to imagine Montreal without its jazz festival! Above and beyond the simple musical pleasures (which can’t be overlooked!), the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal brings a tremendous boost to our urban and cultural quality of life… and considerably enriches our community: the Festival fills the city’s businesses, restaurants and hotels and thereby generates impressive tourism and economic spinoffs. In its 35 years, the Festival has accounted for 45.6 million visits, including 11.7 million tourist visits, and has generated overall economic spinoffs of 1.7 billion dollars! With close to 2 million annual entries counted on its free urban site and over a quarter of its patronage consisting of tourists (150,000 different persons coming from outside Québec who pumped $73M in new money into our economy), the Festival is without a doubt our #1 tourism event. This year, we doubled the packages offered directly by the Festival (representing a small fraction of overall tourist patronage)! It just goes to show that the Festival remains an incredible draw for visitors from everywhere (the U.S., Europe, Asia and even South Africa), a fact that is reconfirmed year after year.
However, we have a tendency to take it all for granted, this Festival and the crowds that pour such energy into our economy. The unique outdoor site formula, so beneficial for our community, costs the Festival dearly: it invests the majority of its budget, $15M, into the program, collecting only 15% of that in public funds while our governments collect almost $20M in new tax revenue year in and year out, thanks to the Festival. It should be noted that our private sponsors alone cover three-quarters of the free outdoor program, and the rest of the Festival budget is self-financed by on-site sales operated directly by the Festival, an NPO. However, these sales have gradually diminished by almost $1M over the past 5 years as the Quartier des Spectacles has witnessed the opening of 42 new restaurants, dépanneurs and food services that are making record profits. And so, despite this year’s unprecedented success—an incredible program, record ticket sales, massive outdoor crowds—the Festival has recorded financial results slightly below its budgetary projections.
It is therefore increasingly urgent to revisit this fiscal distribution in order to find a solution to continue to provide adequate financing for the Festival, and thereby endure that this NPO enjoys the sound financial health it needs to continue to contribute to its community.
The Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan celebrates its 5th birthday
Founded five years ago, the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan has increasingly established itself as a must-see destination in the Quartier des Spectacles, both during special events and throughout the rest of the year. It is, first and foremost, a media headquarters: the Maison hosted some ten press conferences in as many days, including such major names as Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, Bobby McFerrin and Woodkid. Music was just as prominent, with three concert series and great ticket sales, including a number of sold-out shows: from local musicians like Guy Bélanger and Vic Vogel, to Cécile McLorin, Valérie June and Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana, reunited in Mehliana. Add in the exquisite menu—with new chef Fabrice Piquet at the helm of the Bistro Le Balmoral—and you’ve got one of the essentially delectable and exciting Festival adresses! No surprise, then, that the lines got longer every evening…
And while this 35th edition of the Festival packs up for another edition, the Maison pursues its mission to promote jazz throughout the calendar year, with L’Astral, the Bell Exhibition of the Legends of the Festival, the Médiathèque Jazz/LaPresse+ and the Galerie Lounge TD. In addition, a new series of Jazz All-Year Round concerts is ready to thrill fans with a top-flight program that runs into next April.
However, in order for the programs in the Maison and the Jazz All-Year Round series to continue—both of which are also non-profit organizations—it is even more crucial that the Festival be able to expend these surplus monies to support loss-generating activities, which allow it to support and enrich the cultural life of Montreal throughout the year.
The Galerie Lounge TD excels
During the Festival, the Galerie Lounge TD introduced visitors to artworks of peerless quality, including Drifter’s Escape, a previously unseen piece by Jimi Hendrix inspired by a Bob Dylan song which the genius guitarist covered. Official posterist and illustrator Yves Archambault contributed Saxophoenix, a silkscreen taken from this year’s piece created by our Festival artist in residence. The Galerie Lounge TD, temporarily relocated to the Exhibition Hall in the Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme in Place des Arts, returns to the 2nd floor of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan. From September 4 to November 23, 2014, it will feature a new exhibition offering a perfect closer to this 35th anniversary Festival edition: BD en musique will showcase local graphic cartoonists, celebrating the creativity, diversity and vision of this unique mode of artistic expression.
An impressive international media presence
This year, over 400 accredited journalists, including nearly 200 representatives of 182 media outlets from 20 countries converged on the event, ensuring the Festival had a pronounced international visibility. Here’s a glimpse of the foreign media who covered this 35th edition: from USA, The New York Times, The Economist, National Geographic, DownBeat, The Boston Globe, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, CBS Boston, The New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, The Boston Herald, NY1, WBGO, SiriusXM, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard Magazine, JazzTimes, Vanity Fair; from France, L’Express, Le Nouvel Observateur, Courrier International, Les Inrockuptibles, Le Figaro, Paris Match, Agence France Presse, Rolling Stone, France 24, France Musique, TSFJAZZ, Libération, RFI, Le Monde; from the UK, BBC Travel, Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, JazzFM, The Scottsman, BBC Radio, Acoustic Magazine, Jazz Journal, Line of Best Fit; from Germany, Jazzthetik, ruhrjazz.net, Medienhaus Bauer, Neue Westfälische, Hamburger Abendblatt, Touristik Aktuell, Straubinger Tagblatt; from Italy, Corriere della Sera; from Australia, Sun Herald, The Australian Financial Review, Weekend Notes, Time Out Sydney, The AU Review, Yahoo Australia, International Traveller Magazine, Rhythms; from Mexico, National Geographic, Travesías, Horizonte, Contratiempo Jazz, KW TV; from Brazil, TNOnline.com, Folha de Sao Paula; from Switzerland, Afriqu’Echos, Fréquence Banane; from Russia, RTVI Russian Television, Zvuki.ru; from Portugal, Mesa de Mistura; from China, Top Travel; from India, Dainik Bhaskar; from Japan, Hokkaido Shimbun; from Angola, Rádio Nacional de Angola; from Romania, National Geographic Traveler; from Chile, El Mercurio; from Bangladesh, bd24live.com; from Peru, Orbita Popular; and from the rest of Canada, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Exclaim!, ETCanada.com, Canada AM — CTV, Huffington Post, Metro News, NOW Magazine, enRoute Edition and Jazz FM91.
The Festival expands its Web presence
Now more than ever, the Festival exists in version 2.0. First off, the Festival’s free mobile application remains as popular as ever: now available in version Android and IOS versions, it ranked in the Top 10 in the App Store in the music category and has now been installed in more than 83,000 mobile devices! And with its redesigned display, it offers instant access to artists in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, the Festival website launched a mobile version to boffo success: for the first time since going online, the mobile version was visited more times (230,254) than it was on office computers (216,777). In all, more than 301,000 visitors viewed over 2,700,000 pages on Festival shows, artists and archives.
The Festival was also a hot ticket on social media: the Festival Facebook page surpassed 95,000 “Likes,” while keyword #FIJM was prominent on Twitter and Instagram. In total, the Festival’s Facebook and Twitter accounts racked up 95 million visits over these 11 days and nights of music! The Festival even soared into the Top 5 Twitter Trends in Montréal during especially exciting moments: the Woodkid and Diana Krall concerts, as well as Lady Gaga’s surprise visit during Tony Bennett concert, which even overshadowed the World Cup! The Festival’s visibility on social media once again enjoyed a tremendous boost on the Songza site this year, which put up a perfectly Festival playlist. The return of the J’aime le Festival de Jazz concert, featuring prizes totaling $30,000, made its own strong contribution, along with Festival fans, who contributed tens of thousands of comments.
Thanks to our partners
We can never offer enough thanks to our precious public and private partners, who defray more than half the costs of this event. Without their support, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, now an event of global renown and prestige—this big, beautiful non-profit musical celebration—could not exist in this renowned format, offering large-scale urban entertainment free of charge and generating impressive tourism spinoffs. We thank the Gouvernement du Québec—Ministère du Tourisme, Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine, ministère de la Culture et des Communications, as well as the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)—, the Government of Canada—Canadian Heritage, Canada Economic Development and MUSICACTION—as well as the Ville de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal and the Consulat général d’Israël for their commitment. In terms of private sector support, we offer our warmest thanks to principal sponsor and official presenter TD, as well as Rio Tinto Alcan, co-presenter of the Festival, for their renewed support. Thanks also to Bell, Loto-Québec, the Société des Alcools du Québec, Heineken, SiriusXM, SONY Canada, Complexe Desjardins, Tia Maria, Hyatt Regency Montréal, HMV, Meyer Sound, Naya, Jura, Porto Cabral, Élixirs, Fromages CDA inc., Häagen-Dazs, Galaxie and Pepsi. Thanks also to our media partners: La Presse+, The Gazette, Radio-Canada and CBC, MusiquePlus and MusiMax, ARTV, Rouge FM 107,3, 96,9 CKOI, 98,5 FM, Radio Circulation, CHOM 97.7 FM, Virgin 96, CJAD 800 AM, Radio-Classique 99,5, CIBL Radio-Montréal 101,5 FM, CISM 89,3 FM, NIGHTLIFE.CA, ICI Musique and CBCMusic.ca.
Our team is already hard at work programming our 36th edition! So we’ll see you then, from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, July 5, 2015!
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