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When Is A Jazz Festival Not A Jazz Festival?

When Is A Jazz Festival Not A Jazz Festival?

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Dateline: February 13, 2024. Today Britain's long-running Cheltenham Jazz Festival announced its line-up for this summer's event.

The press release is headlined thus: Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2024—Dionne Warwick, Robert Plant, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jack Savoretti, UB40, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Huey Morgan, Morcheeba And More.

Dee Dee Bridgewater is not the only jazz artist on the bill—others are mentioned further down the press release—but the emphasis is heavily on rock and pop stars.

Which begs two questions, neither of which have anything to do with musical quality (Robert Plant, pictured above, and his band are amazing, as is the combination of Dionne Warwick and the Bacharach/David songbook). The questions concern musical style...

What is the minimum proportion of jazz artists on a festival bill necessary to qualify it as a Jazz Festival? What is the split of total artist fees paid by, say, Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2024 to (a) rock and pop stars (b) jazz artists?

Obviously, having rock and pop stars on a festival bill increases ticket sales. Given that, what do AAJers think about the question posed at the top of this article... When is a jazz festival not a jazz festival?

Please share your view using the Comments box below.

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