Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Montreal jazz-fest fans defy weather

Despite the rainy weather that plagued the Montreal International Jazz Festival this year, music fans still turned up in droves for the annual extravaganza, organizers said Monday.

The 30th edition, which closed Sunday evening after 13 days of performances, broke even on its $30 million budget despite the troubled economy, administrators said.

"We didn't count the people, but if we have more sales of tickets, more sales of souvenirs, more sales of food, it means we had more people," said festival president and co-founder Alain Simard.

Though this edition wasn't one of the years when organizers hire an independent firm to tally the attendance, the festival released other figures on Monday, including $5.1 million in ticket sales, a 40 per cent increase in the sale of tourist packages and record sales at souvenir boutiques, CD tents and food and beverage kiosks.

Miserable weather was likely a factor in the drop in beer sales, and while the festival celebrated the unveiling of its new headquarters — the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan — continued construction of Montreal's new Quartier des spectacles cut off some outdoor space.

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