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Jazz Fest reports improved attendance after move

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Indy Jazz Fest saw attendance surge this year despite a move to a smaller venue.

Attendance at this year's festival, which ran Sept. 12-17, was 5,050, up 20 percent over last year, promoter Al Hall said.

"We consider the Jazz Fest to be a huge success both artistically and for the fans that attended," said Hall, owner of Owl Studios LLC and one of three local businessmen who took over the 12-year-old festival from the American Pianists Association in 2009.

The festival has seen ups and downs in attendance over the years. After a year at White River State Park, Hall and his partners moved the main event to the much smaller Opti-Park in Broad Ripple. That's where George Benson headlined the main stage on Sept. 17. The festival included other acts at venues around the city in the week leading up to Saturday's outdoor concert.

Hall said this year's attendance benefitted from clear weather and the addition of two side stages.

The festival should end up in the black, Hall said, though he declined to disclose revenue.

Hall added that the festival has become a year-round, not-for-profit endeavor. Indy Jazz Fest will sponsor the Ball State Jazz Fest, which includes 40 high school bands, and collaborate with Indianapolis Public Schools and other area schools in the spring. The organization also will participate in a Dec. 21 birthday celebration for David Baker, chair of jazz studies at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

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