History & FAQs
Aurora jazz+ Festival History – 2009 – 2012
2009Aurora jazz+ Festival
Saturday July 29 – Civic Long Weekend
Birth: Aurora jazz+ Festival was born as a one day (10am-6:30pm) free festival held in Aurora’s heritage Town Park on the August civic long week-end.
Producers: The Aurora jazz+ Festival was founded, produced and sponsored by Sher & George St. Kitts, St. Kitts Music Inc.; in 2009 Sher St. Kitts was the Special Event Coordinator of the Aurora Farmers Market. The inaugural Aurora jazz+ Festival began a Special Event at the Aurora Farmers Market.
Line-Up - Music was performed on the Band Shell permanent stage in Town Park. Entertainment was provided by both professionals and amateurs, most of whom were local to Aurora/York Region. St. Kitts Music Inc. with a group of dedicated volunteers, organized all operations, musical equipment (back-line), sound as well as managing artists and promotions.
Patrons: The inaugural festival brought out 2000+ patrons; 400 of whom signed a petition to have the festival become an annual event in Town Park.
Volunteers: 30+ volunteers; including friends, students, seniors and generally those who love to support the arts in the Town.
Community Partners: Aurora Farmers Market and Aurora Cultural Centre
Charity Outreach: The 2009 Festival also provided awareness for the children and families of a local charity Safehaven, www.safehaven.to
York Region Amateur Radio Operators provide communication in the Park (2009, 2010, 2011)
2010 Aurora jazz+ Festival
Fri July 29 – Sat July 30 – Civic Long Weekend
Year 2: The Aurora jazz+ Festival grew to a 2 day musical event. Town Park was gated and a nominal fee of $5 charged held in Town Park, on July 29-30th officially the civic long weekend.
Producer: The 2010 Festival was produced and largely sponsored by St. Kitts Music Inc. Enbridge Gas Distribution came on board as a key sponsor, services in kind grew with support from Long & McQuade, Sherwood Staging, Coll Audio, Powell Contracting, SNAP Newspapers The Arts Music Store and local restaurants and bars. It was organized, operated and managed by Sher & George St. Kitts with a team of dedicated volunteers.
2012 Official Website: www.aurorajazzfest.com created and managed by George St. Kitts and the introduction of a Blog Talk Radio show - Saturdays – interviews of local artists, musicians and entertainers www.blogtalkradio.com/sher-st-kitts managed and operated by Sher St. Kitts.
Content: Music – Two Stages provided nonstop musical entertainment with professional sound, lights and backlines added. Musical lineup - a variety of musical genres – 85% York Region
Festival Marketplace introduced – variety of ethnic food vendors and wellness businesses
Beer & Wine Garden operated by the Aurora Rotary with assistance from Festival volunteers; Weenie Wagon operated by Optimists of Aurora – both to raise funds for Safehaven.
Patrons: Estimate of 4000+ patrons Volunteers: 50 – 60+ volunteers
Charities: Two charities supported: Safehaven www.safehaven.to and CCAA (Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness) www.abusehurts.com to bring funds and awareness to their work.
Donations: Approximately $3000 was given to Safehaven and CCAA through efforts of Rotarians, Optimists and festival volunteers. Starbucks donated $300 to Safehaven.
Sponsors: Town of Aurora provided $2,000 support; Balance of sponsorship/support came from St. Kitts Music Inc. Enbridge Gas and services in kind: Hot Spot Restaurants: Jonathan’s, Baldwins, Graystones, King Henry Arms, Howard Johnson’s, Annaliese
Festival Partners: Aurora Farmers Market, Aurora Cultural Centre, York Region MultiFilm Festival, Aurora Public Library, Aurora Rotary Club, Aurora Optimists, YR Amateur Radio
Educational: Bass Boot Camp featuring internationally renowned Bassist – Gerald Veasley at the Aurora Cultural Centre. One day camp festival’s first educational opportunity well received.
Black Tie Gala Fundraiser held at the Aurora Cultural Centre. Festival Organizers provided Aurora Cultural Centre a $500 donation, advertising & profile in local papers, on-line, on radio as well as at the Aurora Farmers Market to attract patrons to new cultural facility in Aurora.
Aurora Festival of the Arts (AFA) was incorporated as a non-profit organization Oct 4th, 2010
No. 1824708 – Board of Directors composed of volunteer Aurora/York Region taxpayers.
First grants were written after AFA’s incorporation.
2011 Aurora jazz+ Festival
Fri July 29 – Sun July 31 – Civic Long Weekend
Year 3: the Aurora jazz + Festival expands to a 3 day event which includes both Music and Visual Arts. Fee: $5 charge for adults, free for seniors and children under 12 at Town Park.
Producer: Festival is produced for the first time by the Aurora Festival of the Arts (AFA) non-profit on civic long weekend July 29 -31 (Friday night, Saturday and Sunday)
Artistic Director - George St. Kitts ; Web manager – George St. Kitts www.aurorajazzfest.com
Blog Talk Radio – Sher St. Kitts saturdays – interviews local artists, musicians and entertainers www.blogtalkradio.com/sher-st-kitts
Music: Two stages featured a variety of music from Classical, Big Band, Pop, Rock, Blues, Funk, World, Motown, Folk and Jazz including Latin/Smooth/World & Classical… M.C. Diana Ciccone of Rogers TV, Live Radio Broadcast from Festival with Brian Masters of The Jewel 88.5; M.C. Dave Charles of 91.1 JAZZ FM and The Wave 94.7
Visual Artists - 20 Visual Artists profiled their art in and conducted Plein Air Demonstrations & a Silent Auction. Visual Art showcased on stage & artists painted to the live Music! Pre-Festival Activities Saturday Morning: Mokshu Yoga Demonstration; Fitness Demo and Jaymore Dancers!
Festival Marketplace Expands – Beer & Wine Garden professionally operated with Smart Serve Festival volunteers; King Brewery became official festival beer/cider sponsor and local winery, Vinoteca a local family operated winery supplied wine.
Kids Activities: Craft Blast Zone was added attraction for children creating art from recyclables is new to the Festival Marketplace. Ron Beer and his educational Boogie Boy Blues (history of the blues) Concert for Kids was featured at the Aurora Cultural Centre
Greening the Festival: AFA ‘greens’ the festival with York Region Water Truck; Introduction of reusable water containers to reduce disposable plastic water bottles; King Brewery serving from kegs NOT beer bottles; vendors encouraged to use biodegradable food packaging/cups.
Carbon Footprints reduced: Festival goers encouraged to come by public transit or walk a block to festival from local Go Station.
Patrons: Gated admission Official count 6000+ (880 free seniors) Volunteers: 150+
Sponsors: AFA’s first grant received from Ontario Trillium Foundation for $25,000; Town of Aurora provides a $5,000 sponsorship; Enbridge Gas Distribution, 88.5 The Jewel, 91.1 JazzFM and 94.7 The Wave and other sponsors come on board (see thank you to sponsors)
Official Hot Spots - Jonathan’s Restaurant & Villa Risi – live jazz July 29 – 31 from 7pm
AFA 2012 Partners: Aurora Cultural Centre; Aurora Farmers Market, York Region Multi Film Festival, York Region Amateur Radio Operators; New: Artcures Inc. organizing visual artists and offered a Community Mandala for patrons to paint in park supporting local artists;
Charities: Safehaven and CCAA each had their own booth to raise funds and awareness.
Community Booth: Festival offered a variety of York Region charities, nonprofits and arts/cultural organizations the opportunity to have literature at the Festival Community Booth in the Marketplace for no fee
Black Tie Gala Fundraiser dinner & dance held at The Mansion (Dinardo’s) in Aurora; Media Press Conference prior to Gala. Lots of coverage for festival – Police Chief Joliffe, MPP Frank Klees, Ontario Trillium Representative….many local entertainers and stars!
Canada Day: AFA participates in Aurora’s Canada Day parade and wins Best Decorated Float also AFA at the Richmond Hill Home Show on Canada Day showcasing and handing out Festival information
Promotions - Deliverables include over a dozen events promoting the festival at a variety of York Region events including York Region Arts Council first arts conference.
Partners: Aurora Farmers Market – AFA booth features musical entertainment from York Region high-schools, George St. Kitts & Friends; York Region Media Film Festival; On Richmond Hill; Aurora Clicks; Aurora Cultural Centre (showcased award winning films and the Boogie Boy Blues educational concert); York Region Amateur Radio Operators; York Region Arts Council; Markham Arts Council; Eaglewood Festival; Ontario Festivals Visited
Donation $3000 given to each of Safehaven & CCAA ; Honorariums given to two high-school music departments for their participation
2012 Aurora jazz+ Festival – 4th Annual
Friday August 3 – Sunday August 5 – So far this year….
A Top 100 Festival in Ontario! Aurora jazz+ Festival recognized by Festival & Events Ontario as a top 100 Festival in Ontario. This is the first time an Aurora festival/event has been distinguished with this honour provincially. The Aurora jazz+ Festival is the only music festival in York Region to be a Top 100 in the Province this year. The hard work of our volunteers, dedicated sponsors, musicians and artists really paid off! Thank you!
Canadian Heritage Federal Grant $13,600 received from Building Communities through Arts & Heritage Programs! Enbridge Gas Distribution, St. Kitts Music Inc., King Brewery, Long & McQuade, Coll Audio, Powell Contracting (still building list)… (Continue providing financial support & services in kind)
Producer: Aurora Festival of the Arts (AFA) produces the 4th annual Aurora jazz+ Festival – Aug. 3rd – 5th in Aurora’s Town Park – $5 per adult, children under 12 free
AFA 2012 Chair: Susan Morton-Leonard and team of Board Members
General Manager: Sher St. Kitts; Artistic Director: George St. Kitts;
Beer & Wine Garden Coordinator: Renee Hay
Vendor Coordinator: Victoria McArthur
Visual Arts Coordinator: Deborah Campo
Volunteer Coordinator: Kelly Yoksimovich
Administrative Interns: New for 2012 – Administrative Interns join the Festival Team: Alison – Opera singer, Charlotte – Pianist & Theatre Producer, Leigh – OCAD Graduate, Art Educator, and Steff – Screen Writer & Film-maker
Content: Music – Three (3) Stages: New- 3rd Stage – Stagette – featuring smaller local content & bridging two areas of the Park (Baseball Diamond with Band Shell area)
Visual artists – Plein Air and Silent Auction
Festival Marketplace: Expanded number of ethnic food vendors,
Educational: Kid’s Craft Blast Zone and Boogie Boy Blues Concert in Park this year
Workshops: free educational music & art workshops with My Jam Space and local artsits as well as interactive arts and music in the festival Park.
Partners: Aurora Farmers Market, York Region Multi Media Film Festival
Charities: Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness; Safehaven & Sick Kids via The Big Grill!
Look forward to new FAQs as they develop