Coltrane Fest Gets Civic Boost

The first International John Coltrane Jazz and Blues Festival got a $32,000 boost from the Downtown Improvement Fund in High Point, N.C., after the city council voted to free up the money despite a challenging municipal budget.

Coltrane grew up in High Point, and Friends of John Coltrane asked for the funding to help publicize the inaugural event honoring one of the most revered figures in jazz.

“This will help us with the advertising and marketing aspect of what we’re doing with the festival,” said Councilwoman Bernita Sims, speaking on behalf of the group. The festival is to take place Sept. 3 at the city’s Oak Hollow Festival Park, and is in the process of raising money and landing sponsors and grants. The goal is to sell enough tickets for the festival to be self-supporting and eliminate the need for future financial assistance from the city.

A financial summary projects revenue of $187,500, based in part on expected sales of 2,500 tickets at $45 each.

Patti Austin is to headline the festival, and artists booked so far include the Ravi Coltrane Quintet, led by the son of the festival’s namesake, as well as Kirk Whalum, Ronnie Laws, Lonnie Liston Smith, Tom Browne, Zac Harmon, Sue Ann Carwell, Barbara Weathers and Calvin Edwards.