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Associated Press: Shell to Sponsor Jazz Fest Through 2010

Sunday, April 29, 2007 1:08:44 AM


An energy development company said Saturday it would sponsor the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival through at least 2010, a decision organizers said would guard against scaling back the popular event in a city slowly recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

Terms of the deal with Shell Exploration & Production Co. were not released, though Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis said it is the first time the event _ traditionally driven by ticket sales _ will have a long-term corporate sponsor.

“It changes a lot of things,” Davis told a news conference. “We’re able to make long-term plans for the festival now.”

Shell was a major sponsor of last year’s Jazz Fest, the first since Hurricane Katrina, Davis likened Shell’s support to putting a floundering goldfish back into a fishbowl.

Before the storm, it cost about $10 million to put on a festival of this size _ spanning two, three-day weekends. After Katrina, organizers were concerned about the diminished city population, how many people would come from out of town and just how any future Jazz Fests would look.

Jazz Fest has not released crowd estimates.

Frank Glaviano, a vice president of production for Shell, said the company wanted to help the city.

“We wanted to give a gift to the people of New Orleans after all that they had gone through,” he said.

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