Sunday, June 23, 2024

Aurora Jazz+ Festival 2012, The Politics, Part 2

By John Abel, Aurora ON. On Saturday (Aug 4, 2012) the busiest day of the festival, the organizers of the Aurora Jazz+ Festival 2012 scheduled a special presentation to take place prior to the final act of the night. Taking part by invitation were MP Lois Brown, Minister of Tourism and Culture MPP Michael Chan, selected Councillors from Aurora and King City, and others from within the Region. Why wasn’t the Town of Aurora Mayor Geoffrey Dawe and Council invited?

For an explanation, please refer to the local newspaper article “Jazz+ Fest gets provincial seal of approval with Minister’s visit“, THE AURORAN, Tuesday, August 14, 2012, page 15. This post is continuation to my first post published here Aurora Jazz+ Festival 2012, The Event Observations, Part 1.

I believe Sher St. Kitts has me confused with someone else. She states that I was “putting things in the paper that were negative and untruthful about the festival”. There were several articles about how Aurora Council would support the festival over the years. Yes, there were issues within the articles, but to be fair, comments by myself were positive and supportive. If you have references to support your statement, please bring them forward, otherwise what you have stated is disingenuous and misleading.


This year I enjoyed all 3 days, saw 17 of the acts, bought food, drinks, and art. I spent at least $400. I tweeted 15 times promoting the event and attended their fundraiser weeks before. Ms St. Kitts goes on to say “if you don’t support it, once it does well, you just can’t come and be the glad-hander”. Here, with this statement, you definitely have me confused with someone else. Councillor Humfryes and myself attended each day of the festival with family and friends. Councillor Gaertner volunteered at the gate for 2 days. Councillor Ballard was the only one who showed up on cue, for the walk about with Minister Chan. I don’t know why you refer to me as the “glad-hander”. I suppose that’s just politics.

The Town of Aurora has a policy of charging permit fees to any organization using a Town facility. You name it, hockey, soccer, dance, charities, they all pay. That is a policy only Council can overturn. Councillors referred to the 2011 festival financials provided by the organizers. They are successful. Council decided this year to uphold the Town’s policy and not waive the permit fees. In spite of all the amenities listed below, the organizers of the Aurora Jazz+ Festival would have you believe that the Town and Council refused to support the festival.

Here are the extras the town provided, above what the permit fees cover, by way of support for this year’s Aurora Jazz+ Festival: advertising on the Town’s Notice Board in the Era Banner and on the Town’s electronic display boards, use of Town Hall to post and distribute printed Jazz+ Festival material, event listing on Town’s web site, permission to fence in the event creating admission revenue of over $20,000, ability to permit vendors, again creating revenue in the thousands, use of the baseball diamond with lights. The town brought in and returned dozens of picnic benches from other parks. For atmosphere the Town lit up the Aurora Borealis Winter Festival lights. Who says we don’t support the festival? Could this be the reason the Mayor Geoffrey Dawe and Council were not invited?

I would suggest a situation where the Town of Aurora is providing the level of amenities it did for the festival, demands that the Mayor on behalf of the Town, is entitled to participate in greetings and presentations. It was an insult to the Town of Aurora to exclude the Mayor and Council.

If parents have children who have grown and become mature, and they have sources of income, and you tell them they have to start paying rent, you are showing them it’s time to adopt sustainable means. It does not mean you do not support them. There are lots of other ways to show your support.

Ms. St. Kitts goes on to say ”You wouldn’t want to have the Minister come in and have a Deputy Mayor or a Mayor be rude to him because they didn’t support the festival.” That is negative press, it’s not very nice and completely unfounded. I am not a rude person. Neither is Mayor Dawe.

I did have the opportunity to introduce myself to Minister Chan at the festival. I welcomed him on behalf of the Mayor and Council to the festival in our historic Town Park. I followed up with an official Letter from the Mayor’s Office thanking the Minister for his visit and support. I also highlighted the support the Town of Aurora provides for the Arts and Culture.

The Aurora Jazz+ Festival executive did not accept the offer to use the Town logo on promotional material. Did not invite or acknowledge the Town because of a perceived lack of support. The organizers refused to accept the Town as a partner. They have been political and disrespectful.

The Town Aurora has many successful events each year. That’s what makes Aurora great. The Aurora Jazz Festival can be a part of that. Ms. St. Kitts, next year when your company comes to our Town, may I suggest you bring a little charm. It goes a long way here in the Town of Aurora.

John Abel
Councillor, Town of Aurora

[1] Aurora Jazz+ Festival, August 3-5, 2012, Town Park.
[2] “Aurora Jazz+ Festival 2012, The Event Observations, Part 1“, August 9, 2012.
[3] “Jazz+ Fest gets provincial seal of approval with Minister’s visit”, THE AURORAN, Tuesday, August 14, 2012, page 15.
[4] Aurora Jazz+ Festival, Photography by Anna Lozyk Romeo.


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