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Juliet Dunn, (Singer, Musician & Organizer)
July 14, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Dan Plunkett introduced guest speaker Juliet Dunn as an excellent singer, musician, organizer, and a good friend.
Juliet, along with husband Peter Shea, was the founder of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival which has experienced amazing growth during its relatively brief history but is facing new challenges now in the light of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The festival was honoured as best new festival in 2017 and was included among the top 100 festivals in Ontario in 2019.
Juliet said the festival has been granted charitable status now meaning that it can issue tax receipts for donations. She revealed that various grants have remained stable through this shutdown period but sponsorship donations have dropped off dramatically.
The Niagara Jazz Festival, which started out with events mainly in Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines was spreading throughout Niagara with ticketed events and many free stage performances. The festival backed educational events with a focus on young musicians with workshops geared to young people. The festival staged events at local wineries, on the beach at Port Dalhousie and at the Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.
Juliet said that a study of the economic impact of the festival indicated that it generated almost $1.25 million for the region.
Juliet and the other organizers have had to make changes on the fly in the new reality and they are working to adapt various events to COVID times. Since March they have put on 30 to 35 live stream concerts. In June and July, they have been streaming the Niagara to New Orleans jazz con-certs to show the culture of New Orleans and to promote the Niagara Mardi Gras.
Juliet admitted that she is not confident that we will see a return of large crowds at concerts either outdoors or inside any time soon. She said the restrictions forced by COVID-19 make for very uncertain times for musicians.
John Senn thanked Juliet for her presentation and praised her ability to adapt.