Sixteen years in, the Downtown Jazz Festival is without a sponsor. A ban on tobacco advertising means that du Maurier's long-time funding of the fest won't be available next year.
When the ban took effect, festival organizers said the annual event would fold without smoke money. The question jazz fans are asking is whether this would be such a bad thing.
Having long ago slipped into comfortable complacency, the Downtown Jazz Fest is outclassed and outbooked by the dozens of local and regional independent festivals that have thrived on a fraction of its budget in the last few years.
No question, there are still highlights at the 10-day event (see below), many booked by outside parties brought in by the festival organizers, but fresh ideas are badly needed.
A shakeup couldn't come soon enough.
The full schedule is available at www.torontojazz.com
Alto Basso DJ Series featuring John Kong, Gazza, Pedras Da Rua and more, at Alto Basso, June 21-30
Dr John. Nathan Phillips Square, June 21
Llorca, Revival, June 26
DD Jackson, Montreal Bistro, June 28-29
Jane Bunnett & Alma de Santiago, Nathan Phillips Square, June 30