The New Orleans Swing Festival Needs Your Help

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The 2017 New Orleans Swing Dance Festival just wrapped up, and it sounds like it was a lovely event in the birthplace of jazz. This included a spirited performance by several of the Frankie Manning Ambassadors to live music.

Unfortunately, it looks like the organizers are having some financial difficulties and are appealing to the community for help. Read on for the complete message from them posted to Facebook yesterday:

Dear New Orleans Swing Dance Festival attendees,

Thank you to all who supported this event. It means the world to us, and many others.

This year at The New Orleans Swing Dance Festival we made a fantastic step forward in making space for all people and opening up discussion on major issues such as racism, sexism, sexual assault and other forms of harassment. As a community we are not there yet. But we can get there with more event organizers and scene leaders caring to pay attention and doing what needs to be done to set an example for others. Even the smallest of changes are important. We are incredibly proud of the work we have done this year.

Another important aspect of this event is constant collaboration between musicians and dancers. This is reflected in our combined music and dance classes and is evident in the fact we so almost zero dance performances to recorded music. The Saturday night was INCREDIBLE. Performing with live music takes a ton of work on the musicians part and requires hours of chart writing and rehearsing so that the dancers feel safe on the floor to showcase their creations. There is no better place to facilitate this than New Orleans. We are so blessed to be close to our musicians here.

Making changes, presenting new ideas, and pushing music and dance collaborations requires money. A lot of money. These events don’t come cheap and any event organizer will tell you that it’s a huge financial risk.

With that said, it should be known that although the event was a creative success and was incredibly meaningful, the event was a financial failure. This is due to many factors including, over saturation of swing dance festivals (there were at least 3 major events happening this same weekend taking away A LOT of business) and also expensive venues in the popular convention town that is New Orleans. Many of the event staff work for free (including the Director, Amy Johnson) and many of her musician friends do as well. They do it because they believe in it. But it is becoming increasing hard to keep this up and do the work that is important to them.
Right now we have some final payments that need to be covered and we desperately need your help to do so.

If you enjoyed the festival or simply want to show support for what we do here, we are asking for donations via PayPal to cover the final costs of the event. If each of you who attended gave just $50 we would be set this year and would feel more comfortable moving forward with the event in the future. Right now it is uncertain that we will be able to continue because of the cost of making it happen.

If you can give $50 or more we would be beyond grateful. But any amount truly does help.

To donate: Send money via PayPal to Send as friends and family so you don’t get charged.

If you donate $200 or more we will send you a special gift from a grab bag of New Orleans music CDs and a hand written note of gratitude from the staff of The New Orleans Swing Dance Festival.

It definitely pains us to send this letter. But we LOVE our event and we LOVE sharing it with you and want to keep doing it. Whether or not we do it again is going to be up to y’all.

Your support means the world to us. We literally cannot make this magic without you.

The New Orleans Swing Dance Festival Team