Montreux fest's spinoff gets encore | ajc.com: "
Montreux fest's spinoff gets encore
Nick Marino - Staff
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
This Labor Day weekend, the Woodruff Arts Center will revive the Montreux-Atlanta Music Festival, an eclectic event discontinued in 2002 after 14 years in the city.
The Woodruff will house and pay for the not-for-profit event, which is a spinoff of the famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Talent programming will come from Rob Gibson, a former Atlantan who runs the ambitious Savannah Music Festival.
Gibson booked talent for Montreux-Atlanta in the late 1980s and early '90s, and he said this year's event will be wide-ranging, with a mix of blues, jazz and international music, but no classical. The fest is also expected to have food and vendors, cultivating a kind of street-festival environment that organizers hope emulates the experience in Switzerland.
Much of this year's multi-stage programming will be indoors and ticketed --- in other words, patrons will have to pay for it --- but the festival will also have a free outdoor element, echoing the days when the event was free and held in Piedmont Park.
In those days, it was city-funded. But the city abandoned the project because of its expense, deciding instead to focus on the Atlanta Jazz Festival, held free in the park over Memorial Day weekend.
"We at the city are just delighted that the festival is going to be able to persist," said Camille Love, director of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs. "We never wanted to be without it. We thought it was a great part of the festival inventory in the city, a great offering."
In 2005, Love said, the city will be a partner with the Woodruff and Montreux, available to provide counsel as the event transitions from city-run to Woodruff-run.
Woodruff chief executive officer Shelton G. Stanfill said that his organization and the city have been working on reviving the festival for about two years, and that he expects it to have a budget of less than the reported $400,000 that was the estimated cost of the last Montreux-Atlanta fest, in 2001.
Stanfill declined to disclose this year's specific budget, he said, because the complete talent roster has not been finalized. (Gibson said the fest is probably 70 percent programmed already.) Stanfill added that the artist lineup and ticket prices will likely be announced in late May or early June.
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