Hitting the right note: Local businesses benefit from free jazz music initiative

Sax Appeal's recent initiatives deemed "wonderful opportunity" by local business community. Photo by Deborah Joyce Photography

A program that brings jazz artists to perform in Ottawa neighbourhoods is music to the ears of local BIAs.

The initiative of the Canadian Federation of Musicians through the Music Performance Trust Fund covers 100 per cent of the cost of jazz performances in April 2023 (and 50 per cent going forward) if the performances meet certain criteria, such as being free for the public and not requiring attendees to purchase anything to enjoy the music. 

Jarrod Goldsmith, CEO and founder of Ottawa-based Sax Appeal, a live music booking business and all-saxophone band, is managing the initiative and bringing it to life in the capital.

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“With ample funding available to cover musician costs, this program can really make a big difference in the city,” Goldsmith says.

Goldsmith says he has booked 30 to 35 public engagements through the initiative in April alone in many parts of the city, including the downtown. 

“It is a wonderful opportunity for organizations like the Downtown Rideau BIA, Landsdowne Park or the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition to host these public events where they wouldn’t have normally have had music. Either it’s a budgetary issue or because they did not know who to contact,” says Goldsmith. 

The executive director of the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas, Michelle Groulx, has been working to connect BIAs in Ottawa with the program. 

“Live music is always a pleasant attraction and enjoyed for anyone strolling, shopping, dining and more,” says Groulx. “The people who are visiting experience a lively and vibrant atmosphere and staff benefit from the vibrant and positive ambiance it brings.”

Goldsmith says he hopes the program will introduce Ottawa to the world of jazz in a meaningful and low-cost way, while also providing opportunities for musicians that can be difficult to get. 

Performers are paid through the Music Performance Trust Fund, which represents professional musicians and supports them with such things as a contract and pension. 

“Musicians are such a crucial part of the community, but they are taken advantage of every time and that starts right down to their pay,” says Goldsmith. 

A schedule of local performances can be found at https://saxappeal.ca/events/

Sophia Adams is a journalism student at Algonquin College and joins OBJ on an internship.


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