One of the perks for working for the city is, i always am able to score VIP passes to the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, which is my favorite live music event of the year. i wasn't able to attend last years festivities because we went camping instead....and believe it or not, i'm sure i would had more fun at the jazz holiday.
There was a different feel to this years festival. At past festivals, the food in the hospitality area was provided by Hooters or Island Way Grill and was always yummy. This year, the food was catered by Rumba, which is a good place to eat, but the food provided sort of reminded me of a standard wedding reception. The underlying theme of the event as a whole felt like "Well, times are tough...." At every break between bands was the organizers literally begging for money in order to "keep jazz free", there were folks walking around selling beads and "blinkies" for $5 and they were raffling off things every chance.
The people in the VIP section are normally well behaved people, which is one reason that i love this event. This year, there were more problematic drunk people than i can remember from past festivals....and even overheard someone in the food tent state to one of the workers " we just want the free stuff"....another example of the "Well...times are tough" theme. I also lost more hope in humanity with the abundance of litter blowing around the VIP seating....it was only a product of people who don't want to clean up after themselves because, as i heard it said "we're VIP's".
i had passes for both Friday and Saturday but made other plans last minute on Friday. i gave the Friday night passes to my mom and brother and they really had a good time besides the deluge they experienced at the end of Chris Botti's set. My brother and i went Saturday night. It was chilly and windy and it wouldn't have been a good night to bring out the fly fishing gear.
Overall, it's still a nice event and i look forward to next years festival.... The powers that be just need to police the hospitality area a bit better.