“The Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival underwent some changes this year that will serve as a template for the future and should help maintain the festival’s identity.
So says George Ramirez, president of the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts, who founded the annual, three-day event 19 years ago. Although in years past the festival’s Saturday headliners have performed at Jacob Brown Auditorium, this year’s headliner, Beto and the Fairlanes, performed on an outdoor stage at Market Square.
“It was kind of a whole different feeling without the Jacob Brown,” Ramirez said. “It seems to be more open in more ways than one.”
He said the auditorium looks “old and tired” and the cost of renting it had become “absolutely prohibitive.”
“The impact that it had moving it to Market Square was that instead of having to charge $30 per person or $300 or $500 for tables, we basically charged $10 per person, a cover charge — we didn’t even sell tickets,” Ramirez said. “The pressure was off the organizers, it gave it some good publicity and sure enough the crowd was excellent.”“