City cancels Dayton Jazz Festival just days before event

DAYTON — Another festival has been canceled in the City of Dayton.

The Dayton Jazz Festival, originally scheduled for this upcoming Sunday, has been canceled, Deputy City Manager Joe Parlette told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell.

Parlette said that the city’s recreation department typically puts on a music series every year. It usually begins with the Jazz Festival and is then followed by festivals for blues, funk, and reggae music. He said that while the latter three are “very well attended,” that has not been the case for the Jazz Festival.

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“It has historically been the least attended event and therefore does not provide the financial support to cover its own cost,” Parlette said.

The city has to cover the cost of the festival and Parlette said the revenue generated by vendors and beer sales doesn’t hit what they need to be able to keep the festival going. “Substantial staffing changes” also impacted the decision to cancel.

“The individual responsible for planning special events resigned unexpectedly,” Parlette said.

The Jazz Festival hadn’t happened in several years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the weather.

This year, there are around six jazz performances featured in the Levitt Pavilion concert series this summer. The redundancy also played a factor in the cancellation.

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The city as an organization currently has over 200 open positions, according to Parlette. He said that working with that “unprecedentedly high vacancy” could have an impact on other festivals. Previously, the city canceled its Fourth of July festival.

“Until we find some relief there, we’re going to do our very best to execute what we’ve traditionally done for the residents of Dayton,” Parlette. “But I can’t commit that nothing could change in the future just because of those very real vulnerabilities.”

Parlette noted that they’ve committed to the blues, funk, and reggae festivals.

He went on to tell News Center 7 that events such as the Celtic Festival and the Latin American Festival are different because the city is reimbursed for all their costs for services provided in those events.

Regardless, Parlette said they are disappointed that they had to cancel the Jazz Festival.

“We take great pride in providing fun activities for our residents, when we are unable to deliver that, it’s very disappointing to us as well,” he said.