Jazz Festival consults members before effort to convince NCC to let event back into Confederation Park in 2020

A group performs on the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival main stage in Confederation Park.

The TD Ottawa Jazz festival is canvassing its members as it prepares an effort to convince the National Capital Commission to allow the event back into Confederation Park in the summer of 2020.

The festival was moved out of the park, located between the National Arts Centre and Ottawa City Hall two years ago because of construction. The disruption did seem to affect attendance at last year’s event.

The festival’s executive director says she has recently met with the new head of the NCC, Tobi Nussbaum, and was told that there was no guarantee that Jazzfest would be allowed to use the park in 2020 or going forward.

“I recently met with Tobi Nussbaum, the new CEO of the National Capital Commission, to brief him on the festival’s plans for our 40th anniversary when we return to Confederation Park in 2020 after the completion of the sewer tunnel work there,” Catherine O’Grady wrote in a statement Friday. 

“Mr. Nussbaum listened politely and then surprised me by saying it is not a ‘given’ the jazz festival will be allowed back into Confederation Park. He explained the NCC is reviewing the role of the park, along with many of its other assets in the national capital region.”

O’Grady said that not having access to Confederation park would be “not only disappointing, it is not good for the festival or for you, our audience.”

The park’s setting is one of the major attractions of the festival.

“It’s a beautiful setting by the canal and among the trees in a safe, urban environment that is easily accessible by bus, bike, and on foot,” she wrote in a call for her members to raise their voices by registering their support and “speak out about how our tax dollars are used and the access we are given to the resources our taxes support.”

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.