Jazz Fest After Math – AKA The Dumb, the Bad and the Petty

So the 11 day, 80+ event called an international jazz festival is over. Last year they had 100 the year before 90 so quite the drop in acts. Gee I wonder why? Maybe it has to do with the colour RED!
The thin jazz content and the elements conspired to create one of the worst events ever.So we start off with having very little jazz and only 2 international jazz acts.

Add  sopping wet opening and closing weekends, mix in a cancelled flight and put it in the oven until your Facebook presence is revoked.

Ya that all happened.

Well  rain happens, it happens in June (our rainy season) it happens on the weekend.

The Thursday and Friday nights came off OK but the rock band filled Saturday had to be shut down early and all of Sunday got blown out.

They tried to put a spin on it saying this act is cancelled but the next one goes on blah blah, but when I posted the weather report on a thread, Jazz Winnipeg ‘un-friend-ed’ me.

Now they have had plenty of reasons to ban me as I am a decade long, constant and unapologetic critic. 10 years of letters to the editor, Facebook, Twitter and blog posts doesn’t get me banned. But a link to the weather forecast does.

Ya, kinda petty.

I guess they were feeling crabby watching their beer sales get flushed to the sewers.

Now those threads all got deleted, probably not because of my weather report. More likely because other people were complaining about the way it was being dealt with.

Some people were complaining about ‘having it on a weekend that always rains’ but others made a valid point about not having a plan “B”

So ya, Jazz Winnipeg deleted those threads. Maybe because of people daring to question them, maybe to get rid of the evidence of how they handled things.

On To The Dumb

Well that could be a whole book but if anti social media is your biggest marketing tool then having your Facebook presence disappear at the onset of your reason for existing…that is a whole lotta dumb!

What happened?

Well to back up a bit, Jazz Winnipeg was using a personal page instead of a business page. At the onset of Facebook many business did this but as FB evolved they instituted a no using a personal page for business policy. Facebook has been deleting these types of profiles for a while now. Any of us paying attention knew it, so I can’t imagine they didn’t…well yes I can.

Now there were some advantages to keeping the personal page going. You can create events and spam all your ‘friends’ with invites and reminders, you can un-friend folks who post weather reports and you don’t have to pay money to reach everyone on your friends list like I would if I wanted to reach more than 10-20% of people who like any one of my 6 business/music pages.

Facebook doesn’t like it because they can’t sell ads to you. But there is a real good reason no one should like a business using a personal page.

If you were, say, ‘friends’ with Taco Bell  anyone with access to the page could see your name, age, location, pictures, etc. When you are in business page mode you can’t see any of the names of people who like your page or where they live, let alone pictures of their kids. You also can’t stop people from linking to your page in posts (good or bad) about your business or organisation. And we all know how well JW deals with any sort of criticism.

Now I don’t think any of the handful of people who had access to Jazz Winnipeg’s page had anything nefarious in mind but it is just wrong for any business or organization to have access to that sort of info unless you specifically allow it.

Now this vulnerability is a fairly well known situation in social media marketing circles so if they have a social media person on staff  they should have known better.

So Jazz Winnipeg kept their presence on a personal page because:

  1. they knew but still wanted to take advantage of the personal page
  2. didn’t know
  3. They knew but didn’t know they could have converted the page to business and keep all their ‘friends’ but just have them converted to likes.
Whatever the reason it is just dumb on a massive scale.
Any other company that thought social media was the cat’s PJs and had this happen…the person in charge would be shit canned and probably the next in line as well.
Not gonna happen here. This is Winnipeg, you can’t fire your buddy just because he is an incompetent twit or an internet bully. You can’t let someone go because they run a lousy event that loses money, they’re good friends dammit!!

To further the dumb that event paralyzed almost all their social media presence for the majority of the week and, as of this writing the FB link on their home page still leads to a broken FB page. Matches well with all the 404 errors their site generates…note to JW fire that guy too. Oh wait see above paragraph

No Plan “B”

The fans on JW’s page made a great criticism. What is the point of a big deal kick off ‘free’ opening weekend if it rains and gets cancelled? If you are having a backyard party or wedding and it rains…you move it indoors some basic logic and planning beyond their scope I guess.

Now I am not a fan of weather wimps that move or cancel things because a forecast looks grim, but when the water is falling from the sky and the satellites in outer space say it isn’t gonna stop, then it might be time to have another plan.

The problem is JW have this pyramid scheme going.

  • the free live outdoor music is paid for by sponsors, tax dollars and, in the case of union players, the performance trust fund.
  • but they also use it as a major revenue generator by operating a beer/wine tent and a liquor license can’t be easily transferred to another location.
  • in the case of trust fund money the shows “are held in parks, schools, and public halls, as well as in hospitals and at retirement centers.”
So they can’t move their beer tent to a school and they can’t still use the trust fund money and move it into a bar.
But they might be in breach already because “MPTF-funded events must be free of charge and without any conditions for admittance. They cannot be fund-raising events or raffles regardless of the merit.”

So, ya, they have a fund raising beer tent and usually some sort of raffle ( Ironically, sometimes a raffle to win a trip to a decent jazz festival).

The Bad

The numbers. Ellis Marsalis, cancelled. Gregory Porter, the sure fire, Grammy winning ‘jazz’ vocalist didn’t fill quite 2/3’s of the MTC’s 787 seats and did only 25 bums more than returning (after like 8 months) hometown hero Curtis Nowasad’s Quartet at 475. On top of which everyone in that band, with the exception of Jimmy Greene, was in 3-8 other shows for some over the top over exposure. Imagine if CNQ only had that one show (the way it should have been) they might have had the embarrassing marketing fiasco of the locals who you’ve seen for free since forever out drawing the money maker.

The real money maker, John Legend was ‘sold out in minutes’ but you could still get in with your $250 so called super pass.

So how does that work?

If you are sold out that means every seat is sold right?. Then if you buy the $250 pass you can’t get in.

If you can get in with your $250 pass then it means it wasn’t sold out, so they were lying.

So the scam here is either you pay $250 but really can’t get in or you pay $250 for seats that were held back thereby paying 3-5 times as much as people who got the ‘real’ tickets. Or maybe both with some but not everyone with the magical pass getting in.

Someone call their high school calculus teacher because there is some pretty shady math going on here.

The Ugly

One thing that does bug me (and should bug you) is the complete lack of transparency and accountability. There is no way for the average Joe to find out things like whether they lost money this year, any year on any event, who the board of directors are, how much they (or anyone else) get in free tickets, etc.
This is a publicly funded not-for-profit, it should be totally transparent!

Many of us know from experience that if you write, post or call to voice a concern you will be shut down or ignored.

Why are they so afraid?

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