Jazz festival ends on sour note; state ends funding after 8 years

Posted: March 07, 2012

THE WEST OAK Lane Jazz Festival, which had been under a cloud since reports that its sponsors inflated crowd estimates to obtain state funding, has been canceled.

The festival, which for the eight years of its operation received millions from the state with the help of Democratic state Rep. Dwight Evans, came under scrutiny when the Inquirer published a story in 2010 questioning the crowd estimates.

The three-day festival, which started in 2003, featured prominent entertainers including Chaka Khan and Al Jarreau. But this year, the state announced that it would give no more money to the event.

In November 2010, Evans was stripped of his position as the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, a job he had held for 20 years.

He was not available to comment, but he posted a Twitter message thanking supporters and telling them: "Stay tuned for the next act."

Naja Killebrew, director of marketing and public relations for the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp., which organized the festival, said on website of WHYY: "The festival was never supposed to be something that was going to last forever."

- John F. Morrison

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