It is no secret that the state budget for arts and culture is in constant decline, which makes life difficult for anyone looking to bring over artists from abroad. Barak Weiss, known, inter alia, as artistic director of the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival and the annual jazz and world music showcase, responded to the deteriorating funding predicament by going for a communal option. The idea was to create a sort of jazz devotee collective, whereby the members decide which artist to bring over and undertake to purchase tickets for the show. It is a concept that appears to be bearing fruit.
The group now includes some 700 members. The idea is that the community circumnavigates the festivals and other official events by joining forces to bring artists here that the aforementioned enterprises, including heavily state- and municipal-funded festivals, do not consider. This year’s Israel Festival, for example, has nary a jazz slot in its 19-day program.