Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Almost good enough isn't

Ok. Let’s stop tiptoeing around the situation here. We’re all adults, right?

The idea for the Trenton International Jazz and Blues Festival, no matter how noble, was too grandiose and unrealistic from the get go. And that would have been the case if there was a cadre of seasoned, well-financed and connected individuals working on the event.


Event planning professionals who read the press in the run-up to the festival were seen shaking their heads. “This can’t possibly work,” was the universal comment.


When you consider the lack of experience and track record of the organizer, Ms. Annette Njie, the question marks grow large and fast. And then there is the financial issue.

In yet another case of “the emperor’s (or in this instance, empress’s) new clothes” nobody saw fit to tell Ms. Njie that this (lack of) plan for the event was faulty.

  • Nobody checked to see if there was proper financing behind the event so that performers and vendors at least got paid, even if the event failed to break even (few events do first time out).
  • Nobody verified the promoter’s claims of funding from various sources?
  • Nobody checked into her background to see if she had been part of anything of this scale or succeeded at such an event in the past.

It is one thing to fail in an honest attempt to do something the right way. It is another to make promises and plans and then not diligently follow them up with proper execution.

The now defunct Trenton Jazz Festival failed to break even and it had large (by Trenton standards) corporate sponsorship. The city ultimately had to contribute funds to cover event expenses even though that festival was supposed to stand on its own financially.

The city of Trenton is plagued with individuals who see “the opportunity/potential” but only as far as it lines their own pockets. While there are and have been exceptions*, miss- or half-assed management is the accepted norm.

It’s time we stop this foolishness. In the arts, civic engagement or politics it is time that Trentonians stop accepting 2nd best (or less). An individual, event or promotion presented to the community that seems too good to be true, probably is.

We need fewer posers and dreamers. It’s the doers who are grounded in reality and have a strong work ethic that we need on our boards and committees and in public office.

Until we stop being suckers for the big lie, Trenton will remain mired in mediocrity and failure.

*The Trenton Film Festival is one such example of an event that succeeded, grew, and weathered changes in direction and leadership to continue on in a responsible, if scaled-down format.



Anonymous said...

Amen to that. I guess small, grass-roots events aren't sexy enough for some.I feel for the musicians and hope they eventually get paid, it's hard enough out there without getting shafted by a self-proclaimed art promoter.

Anonymous said...

For a capital city Trenton sucks and should get behind any event that could get you recognized beyond your 7.5 mile radius. It's amazing how much energy is spent spreading negativity, were was this energy in the promotion of this event? You and your council woman Marge suck!

Old Mill Hill said...

We agree that Trenton has a long way to go to be a first class city, let alone a state capital worthy of it's history.

"Getting behind any event" is exactly the mentality we are arguing against. We need to throw our support behind solidly thought out and executed plans. The International Jazz and Blues Festival of this past September was anything but well conceived.

And since this was not a city function, what does a council member have to do with the success or failure of the event?

Anonymous said...

I guess not only the jazz musicians got the shaft but how can a jazz promoter think that she just can go around stealing what doesn't belong to her including someone elses family. Get a clue jazz promoter and start promoting the family that you left in Georgia and and take care of them..! You are a loser and a low life and you are have no morals and think that you can go around stealing what is not yours to begin with. You will never be of high moral standing and GET OF THE LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND PAY YOUR DEBT.