Fund the Festivals 

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It was with keen interest that I read Ted McDonough’s recent article [“Not Quite All That Jazz” March 12, City Weekly] as Salt Lake City looks to trim its budget by reducing or eliminating funding of the Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival. As literature program director of the annual Utah Humanities Book Festival, I am fiscally responsible for the Humanities Council’s statewide book festivals.

A newer, darker aspect of my job is to take into account the academic and business partners that have been hampered (or completely shuttered) by our current economic downturn. Festivals reflect a community’s interests and its values. Festivals do not care if you are new to the scene or a seasoned attendee. They are the events we hinge our annual calendars upon, which we look to in these times as respite and celebration.

In the past 12 years, the Great Salt Lake Book Festival has morphed from one fall festival in Salt Lake City to encompass 10 cities statewide under the umbrella of the Utah Humanities Book Festival.

Planning this year’s festivals with partners is more challenging than in the past, yet what greater gift can we give to our citizens than an event where everyone can come together and celebrate shared passions, be they books, music, culture or food? Our festivals define our communities and deserve our support.

Hikmet Sidney Loe
Salt Lake City

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