Tucson Jazz Festival's first weekend brings business downtown, hopes for next year

Tucson Jazz Festival's first weekend brings business downtown, hopes for next year

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson Jazz Festival is bringing more than talented musicians to downtown Tucson.

The first weekend was as successful as expected for it being a first-time event, organizers said.

Executive Director Yvonne Ervin stated while not all of the shows are going to sell out or break even, selling about 80 percent to 85 percent of all tickets so far, the festival is able to showcase world-class artists because of sponsorships and in-kind contributions.

Approximately 10 local bands and 16 others are expected to bring 10,000 concert-goers to the downtown area over the course of the 13-day festival.

Ervin said you can't compare it to similar events across the country.

"It's hard to compare. It's kind of like apples and oranges," Ervin said. "Some shows are going to sell great and some aren't going to sell great, and thank God we have sponsors. We have $200,000 in sponsorship money so that'll cover any money that we're losing on the shows."

She said they're making enough money to start planning ahead for next year. Ervin hopes to start organizing as soon as this March.

"We're definitely going to be going on for at least another five years," Ervin said. "The outpouring of support from the community and corporate community here has been really great so I think it's going to be a really easy sell for next year."

Nearby businesses are already seeing the effects.

"This weekend has been super busy for us," Hydra owner Margo Susco said.

Susco owns Hydra, a clothing store on Congress Street, just a block from the concert venues. She said the first weekend of the festival, and other events around town, help her store in January, which she said is normally a slow month for business.

"They're staying and they're walking around. So they'll grab a meal, do a little shopping, look at some of the sites and so that's really exciting for us," Susco said.

Ervin said there's more to look forward to in the remaining days of the Tucson Jazz Festival, including the free concerts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 19 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Organizers expect around 3,000 attendees on Monday alone.

"We always leave them wanting more," Ervin said.

See the full line-up of events and ticket prices here: http://tucsonjazzfestival.org/.

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