(Originally published 6.15.11 in BizBash Washington)
The D.C. Jazz Festival drew to a close on Monday night, following 13 days of more than 100 performances in 50 venues around the city. The finale performance, A Night in Treme: The Musical Majesty of New Orleans—a national jazz concert tour based on the HBO series Treme—sold out the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with 2,300 people.
“Treme features New Orleans musicians, some of whom we’ve featured over the years,” said festival executive director Sunny Sumter. “Our founder and executive producer Charles Fishman knows a number of [the A Night in Treme musicians] personally, as well as the producer of the tour, so we were actually one of the first people they called when the put the tour together to coordinate the Washington leg.”
Following the two-hour performance—which had attendees dancing in their seats and the aisles—AT&T hosted a finale dessert party at the center’s Roof Terrace Restaurant. Waiters served traditional New Orleans desserts like bread pudding, king cake, and pralines. Bacardi and Southern Wine & Spirits also served cocktails inspired by the Big Easy, like the Grey Goose L’Orange Summer Tea—orange-flavored vodka, simple syrup, sweet tea, and crushed mint—and red wines from France.
Though the original time line had a representative of the festival giving remarks during the post-party, Sumter scratched that part of the program at the last minute to keep guests energized and mingling following the concert until nearly midnight.
Organizers estimate that the festival overall attracted about 120,000 people, nearly double the amount in 2010, when funding from the city had been cut and the event lost its concert on the National Mall—one of its biggest draws. Sponsorships also grew this year with 24 companies, twice as many as last year, donating $10,000 or more; first-time sponsors included American Airlines, Bing, and Verizon.
**Photos courtesy of FritzPhotoGraphics.com (atmosphere); Ronald H. Green (trumpeter, Pierce)