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Sacramento Music Festival aiming to increase the crowds

Joy & Madness is one of the 2014 headliners.
Joy & Madness is one of the 2014 headliners.SMF, Joy & Madness

Over the last decade the Sacramento Music Festival experienced a drop in attendance. There were perhaps many reasons for the fading glory from the financial state of the country to the failure to attract new fans as some of the old fans dating back from 1974 disappeared in the cycles of time. Although the desire to celebrate and share life through music is essentially the same in all parts of the world and all segments of time, the flux of taste in music will dominate the success of music venues.

Tom Rigney is a forever favorite with his energetic style and musical charm.
Tom Rigney is a forever favorite with his energetic style and musical charm.Susan Raines

The Sacramento Music Festival is aware of this effect of taste and time and has been working hard to revamp their image and their appeal. While the event is sponsored by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society which supports the preservation of traditional jazz through STJS Jazz Education Programs, the festival has been modified to include a broad range of music. The introduction of different genres began slowly with blues, zydeco and others and then swelled with variety through the years. Most recently the schedule has started to include more modern and popular genres like this year's "iconic American rock band Collective Soul."

The 2013 festival saw the first increase in years with a 13% rise in attendance of approximately 60,000. There is no absolute way to determine why attendance rises and falls but the organizers can get a good idea watching the trends. Advertising, prices, economy and the dominating social preferences all contribute to the end result. The genre overhaul along with a new name that no longer references "Jazz" may create greater appeal or it may also lose old time fans. Will the new fans of a newer generation take over the scene until the original jazz focus is lost? Only time will tell if the preservation of "traditional jazz" succeeds. Those who don't care for Dixieland Jazz ignored the festival for years. The evolution of the festival created new fans at different points through their forty years of existence. The 2014 headliners are bound to please jazz fans but also draw attention to the aim to increase the broad appeal. This year may not be the first year a rock band has been booked but it is the first year it has been forefront in the promotion and presentation. Collective Soul is the kind of rock band that will bridge the genre and audience gaps without alienating too many fans. Or it seems, that is the aim.

The featured music is promoted as "now presenting a full range of great music while still honoring our jazz tradition: Blues, Rock, Jazz, Dance Bands." The following are highlighted.

  • Soulful blues and rockin' blues
  • Swing and Western swing
  • Cajun and zydeco
  • Country, rockabilly and bluegrass
  • Latin music
  • New Orleans 2nd-line & street beat
  • Straight-ahead & mainstream jazz
  • Ragtime and early jazz
  • Big bands / Orchestras
  • Marching bands
  • Youth bands
  • Banjo performances

Tickets are available for single day or full weekend passes at prices that are extremely economical considering the nonstop music, multiple venues, and variety and high quality in the featured genres.

Friday, Sat or Sun Single-Day Pass
Adults $39
Youths (Ages 13-20): $20

Monday Event Pass
Adults $20
Youths $15
Seniors $10

4-Day Event Pass
Adults: Advance, $99; Day of, $110
Youths $50