Jazz festival goes on hiatus

Dave Bennett and the Memphis Speed Kings perform at the 2016 Seaside Jazz Festival.

After 35 years in Seaside, the Seaside Jazz Festival will be taking a “hiatus,” according to an April announcement by director Dennis Brodigan and former co-directors Ruth Johnson and Judy Shook.

They hope to “reevaluate its positive impact on the community,” according to Johnson. “Many volunteers have kept this event going for all these years and no one has ever received a salary. It was the love of the music and the community that kept volunteers and jazz aficionados coming back.”

The event brought jazz performers from around the country to play at venues throughout town. The festival provided support to local jazz education through the Lighthouse Jazz Society has been ongoing, including summer camp scholarships.

Once known as the Oregon Dixieland Jubilee, the Seaside Jazz Festival brought performers in a variety of jazz-related genres to the stage of the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, Elks Lodge and local stages.

“When the festival started, it was all Dixieland or traditional jazz, the kind of jazz you’d hear in New Orleans,” Johnson said in 2014. “Over the last three years it’s changed a bit. We still have the traditional jazz, but we’re bringing in some music that you wouldn’t necessarily call traditional, though it’s all derived from jazz in one way or another.”

This year Johnson and Shook, passed the baton to festival “director in training” Dennis Brodigan.

“While it is hoped we will return in 2020, the future of this event has yet to be determined,” organizers reported on the event’s website.

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