Jazz festival will move to OptiPark in Broad Ripple

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On The Beat Industry News In Brief

The ever-evolving Indy Jazz Fest will return this year, Sept. 18, but at the Opti-Park in Broad Ripple.

In late 2008, local jazz pros Al Hall, David Allee and Rob Dixon took over the flagging 10-year-old festival from the American Pianists Association and ran it as a for-profit enterprise under Indy Jazz Fest LLC.

Well, the event isn’t profitable yet, but Hall and his partners aren’t giving up.

OTB arts Last year the Indy Jazz Fest attracted 10,000 fans to White River State Park. (IBJ File Photo)

“It’s more of an obligation than it is anything else,” he said.

The major change this year is moving from The Lawn at White River State Park, a venue run by Live Nation. Cutting down venue-management fees could help the festival break even, Hall said.

Attendance over the two-day festival last year was less than 10,000, he said. The festival’s local organizing committee hopes to exceed 10,000 this year, though Hall said they haven’t decided yet whether to add a second day.

Owner of the Owl Studios record label, Hall tried last year to keep the lineup pure with Branford Marsalis as the headliner. Now he’s on the hunt for a name that will boost attendance.

“We’re looking for a household name that hopefully will cross over from jazz into other areas,” he said.


  • Real Jazz Artist
    We have a huge assortment of "real, talented" jazz artist - that have not been exposed! We seem to always keep it "safe" and select the same artist...I know when I was at the Chatterbox a couple weeks ago for open mike there were some amazing artist... Who choses the selections for Jazz Fest? Do they step outside the box or go with old reliable.... I have listened to Jerrell Smith another local artist amazing .....and Jason Curry....I guess that is why Jason Curry left Indy....
  • Don't water down the JAZZ!
    Here's hoping your move to the Broad Ripple area park will be successful WITHOUT watering down the JAZZ theme. My husband and I make it a point to visit jazz festivals and we are not looking for top 40, pop, blues or funk acts.
    Something to consider: People don't want hassles when they attend this kind of event. We have enjoyed festivals that were free/low cost, but each act underwritten by a local business. Often, art fairs were coupled with the music fest in order to fund a portion of the fest. Those events were fun because they were "laid-back," and exposed us to JAZZ artists we might never have seen. We would travel to Indy from Evansville even if you used all Indiana jazz artists (Hey--there's an angle!), so long as we saw great jazz.
  • Keep it going - keep it JAZZ
    Get some decent beers and wines in addition to the norm. Upscale the offering and charge for it. Not the best choices for an eclectic crowd.
  • I'm with Ben
    I know you've got to at least break even, but please keep it a jazz fest. John Legend may well be a wonderful entertainer, but he isn't jazz.
  • think about it
    please be careful when choosing other big names...please think of the jazz fest audience and not about the dollars...please dont pick a waining pop-star or lifeless entertainer...go avant and get thousands of hipsters spending their money = godspeedyoublackemperor.
  • Good move
    Much rather go to Broad Ripple than downtown. Downtown has no character.

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