Two downtown summer festivals in Lafayette canceled

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Two annual events in downtown Lafayette will not take place this summer. Greater Lafayette Commerce announced it has pulled the plug on Dancing and Cruising in the Streets and the Uptown Jazz and Blues Festival.

It would have been the 26th year for Dancing in the Streets and the 12th year for the Jazz and Blues Fest.

But shock, disappointment and frustration are the reactions gathered from community members. And it’s not just attendees who are upset, one of the event’s coordinators said he’s not sure if the GLC made the best decision.

“That’s a shock, definitely a shock,” said Jon Wright, who has attended both events over the years.

This summer, the streets of downtown Lafayette are going to be a little quieter.

“I could just sit out on my front porch,” Wright said. “So yeah, I’m definitely going to miss the music.”

But it’s not just the music and car cruise that made both of those events special.

“I think it definitely brings Lafayette together as a whole. Families around here, they go to it every year. They take their kids to it. I do think it will have an effect on that,” said Andrew Mattingly, who has attended Dancing in the Streets in years past.

Scott Freeman, Uptown Jazz and Blues Festival coordinator, said the GLC’s decision to not host either event isn’t surprising.

“I kind of got a sense that something was up, back then, because they were very noncommittal in helping us put a budget together,” Freeman said.

According to Greater Lafayette Commerce CEO and President Scott Walker, the board of directors made the decision not to hold the festivals because both had grown enough over the years and served their purposes.

Walker said downtown Lafayette has changed a lot over the last several years, and now the GLC is taking a step back to assess what kind of events would best suit the area.

“Their reasoning back then was, ‘Well, it doesn’t meet the mission statement of the Chamber,'” said Freeman.

Walker said due to the changes in downtown Lafayette, the GLC is taking a step back to figure out what would best suit the area.

Freeman said he just wishes someone from the Commerce would have told him.

“They wouldn’t return our calls,” said Freeman. “They wouldn’t return our emails, and we were getting calls from vendors and bands wanting to know what was going on.”

Both events bring thousands of people to downtown Lafayette each year.

Freeman just hopes the decision doesn’t have a negative impact on the area.

“This is a major step backwards. But who knows? Maybe they’ve got a plan, and they’re wanting to do new things and I hope they’re successful,” Freeman said.

Walker was not available for an on-camera interview. But News 18 asked him if Freeman’s comments were true, and Walker said he had no other comment.

Freeman said he will spend next winter finding a new sponsor for the Uptown Jazz and Blues Festival.

The GLC hopes to have new events in place by 2018, Walker said.

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