Plug pulled on this summer’s Burnsville jazz festival

Founder hopes Art and All That Jazz will reappear next year

The Art and All That Jazz Festival, a mainstay of Burnsville’s summer entertainment calendar, won’t be held this year.

The Art and All That Jazz Festival will not be held this year. File photo
The Art and All That Jazz Festival will not be held this year. File photo

Organizers are pulling the plug on the 2013 event  after losing their biggest sponsor, Pawn America, said festival President Dan Gustafson.

The festival was scheduled for Aug. 17 in Nicollet Commons Park. The headlining act was Greg Adams and East Bay Soul, Gustafson said.

It would have been the 10th annual Art and All That Jazz Festival, which Gustafson founded in 2004 as a private enterprise and has run as a nonprofit, with a board of directors, since 2006.

“This was my baby. This was my vision,” said Gustafson, a former two-term Burnsville City Council member who didn’t seek re-election in 2012. “We just kind of slowly watched it slip away.”

He hopes to present Art and All That Jazz again in 2014.

“We need sustained sponsorship,” said Gustafson, who from 1988 to 1991 owned a Minneapolis jazz club called the Roxy Music Cafe. “To tell you the truth, I think we need to hook up with a service organization and make it work that way.”

He wouldn’t say how much the loss of Pawn America cost the festival. The event — which features art vendors and food along with five to six musical acts — costs more than $50,000 to stage, Gustafson said.

According to him, Burnsville-based Pawn America said it’s focusing its local philanthropy instead on establishing a Boys and Girls Club in Burnsville and building a Lutheran school, projects long championed by founder and CEO Brad Rixmann.

That message came in an email from Pawn America executive Chuck Armstrong, Gustafson said.

“We’ve lost a few (sponsors) this last year,” he said, adding that Pawn America’s pullout “kind of broke the camel’s back.”

The event also ran into trouble two years ago with the loss of another major sponsor, SKB Environmental, Gustafson said.

Organizers scaled back the festival and featured only local talent, headlined by Mick Sterling.

The festival, which runs from noon to 10 p.m., typically draws about 15,000 in the course of a day, Gustafson said.

Past national acts have included Nick Colionne, Adams, Lao Tizer, Mindi Abair, Jesse Cook, Randy Brecker and Larry Carlton.

“There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t talk to somebody in town that talks about that festival and how much they love it,” Gustafson said.