“The concept of changing our name has been broached at several strategic sessions over the past few years.” says Sarah Watling, Executive Director of JazzEast, the presenters of the TD Halifax Jazz Festival. “When the Atlantic Jazz Festival was conceived, there were no other jazz festivals in the region, and certainly not in Halifax, the city which provides so much of our identity and character.”
With the emergence of festivals like Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in New Brunswick (1991), Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival in St. John’s NFLD (2003) and Charlottetown Jazz & Blues Festival in PEI (2005), the Atlantic Region is served by more than one jazz festival. As a result, the JazzEast Board and staff decided that, with the coming of our 25th anniversary, they would embrace the notion of the ‘creative city’ by making a statement with a new name, a statement that works in two directions: the festival has been defined in important ways by its being in Halifax, and so too has the city been defined culturally by the contributions of the festival.
The jazz festival is in its 24th year, which means that 2011 will be its silver anniversary. This cause for celebration, added to a renewal of TD title sponsorship and a change in festival tent location in 2011, means that JazzEast had an opportunity to look around and ahead.
“Part of our reflection on the future has focused on a more accurate representation of ourselves,” says Dr. Christopher Elson, President of JazzEast. “The Festival has had several designations over the years, depending upon the corporate title sponsors, but its name has always emphasized its regional roots--the Atlantic Jazz Festival. This has been both a natural and perhaps a slightly inaccurate depiction of our event. As we progress toward our 25th anniversary year, the association will be moving to a closer identification with the city of Halifax by adopting a new name, TD Halifax Jazz Festival.”
With a new name, logo and a refreshed identity, JazzEast is ready to continue making Halifax a cultural hotspot for the next twenty five years.