By Julie Pendray
IDYLLWILD, CALIF. — Every Jazz in the Pines festival is special on this “Hill” with the way it gives the whole community a sense of united purpose and spreads the joy of music — an international language — among the pines and sunshine. It’s an eclectic experience bringing musicians from all over the country but especially Southern California, mixing all their unique styles. Some are alumni from Idyllwild Arts Academy, the pre-professional high school that draws students from all over the world. This music offered by the fundraiser on the academy campus builds camaraderie and brings down barriers. Residents and visitors get rare opportunities to commune with music makers after the festival in restaurants around town. That’s the benefit of such an occasion in a tiny unpretentious mountain village.
This year’s event eclipsed all the others, according to co-founder Marshall Hawkins, who said he saw so much happiness in people’s faces — more than he can remember in the festival’s previous two decades. He and fellow musician Greg Jones agreed that the event came to a cumulative crescendo of honesty, joy and love.
From this emotional experience of the musicians connecting with each other and the crowd, to the bottom line of the numbers and dollars, the event has been hailed a success.
“We saw growth in virtually every category, with an overall increase in gross revenue of 20 percent,” John Newman, director of Business Operations, reported this week. “Ticket sales increased by 12 percent; revenue from vendors increased by 10 percent; sponsorships increased by 80 percent; beverage sales … increased moderately by approximately $1,000; we saw a 50 percent spike in ticket sales at the Idyllwild Pharmacy and Town Crier/Visitors Center. Our first silent auction at The Patrons dinner raised approximately $4,000.”
Newman said the organizing committee believes overall attendance increased, but he said they do not have firm numbers from previous years. He reported approximately 2,300 paying attendees, 350 volunteers throughout the weekend, and approximately 200 complimentary tickets for media and musicians.
The event was coordinated by the Foundation and Associates of the academy. The school’s president, Pam Jordan, extended a thank you to the community in this message online.
Next year’s Jazz in the Pines will be Aug. 20-21 on the academy campus.
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