Only weeks ago, festival producers pulled the plug on the fifth annual Portland Jazz Festival. The festival came up short $100,000 of making its $685,000 budget, and in April, title sponsor Qwest pulled out saying it could not provide its usual $50,000.
Now, a new multi-year commitment from Alaska Airlines as the festival’s title sponsor is allowing the Portland Jazz Festival presented by The Oregonian A&E to take place as scheduled from February 13-22, 2009. As previously announced, the festival will be dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records.
Alaska Airlines has pledged $50,000 a year for two years. In addition, additional corporate support has come from U.S. Bank, Precision Castparts Corporation and several other individuals and businesses. Qwest will continue its support of the festival with a new funding pledge from its national foundation.
“Alaska Airlines is pleased to sponsor the Portland Jazz Festival,” Steve Jarvis, Alaska Airlines vice president of marketing sales and customer experience, said in a statement. “Portland is home to many customers and employees of Alaska Airlines, and Horizon Air, and we’re happy to help showcase great artists and their music through this important community event.”
The festival is in the process of hiring a new managing director and hoping to announce the appointment soon. In the interim, festival co-founder Sarah Bailen Smith has returned to assist the organization’s administrative transition.
Last year’s event drew 36,000 people and was nominated as one of the top five jazz events by the Jazz Journalists Association last June.