The Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival Calls it Quits

Dec. 14, 2012
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Another blow for local jazz lovers: One of the state's largest and most esteemed jazz festivals, the Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival is ending after 15 years. The event's sponsor announced the decision on the festival's website, citing fiscal losses in recent years. The complete letter is below:
During the past 15 years, the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Club has worked hard to make the Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival not only a world-class music and lifestyle event, but also one that supported Rotary’s objectives and provided funding for programs in West Bend, Washington County, and southeastern Wisconsin.

Through ticket sales, sponsorship, and other revenue generating methods, KMJF has returned more than $380,000 in net revenue to the community and an assortment of programs in southeastern Wisconsin, nationally, and internationally. However, due to a variety of factors, the last two years of the festival have operated at a loss, with the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Club covering the expenses of producing the festival from its reserves.

With a need to produce events and coordinate activities that raise funds to support community programs, the board of the West Bend Sunrise Rotary and Club members have made the difficult decision to stop production of the Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival. This choice was not made lightly, as the event is a labor of love not only for club members, but also for all that are involved in putting on the festival. A variety of scenarios were evaluated and after much discussion, it was determined that continuing was not fiscally responsible.

For those of you that purchased tickets for 2013 at this year’s festival, a refund check will be mailed to you in the next week.

We thank all of you that have attended KMJF once, twice, or for many of you, more than a dozen times. That support made the event one of the finest music festivals in the country, one that jazz entertainers eagerly worked into their schedules. While saddened that we will not be continuing, we are filled with memories that will live on for years to come.

Thank you again for making KMJF special, and for giving us the opportunity to create wonderful memories for you, and for our Club.

The Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival Planning Committee


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