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FEWER FOLKS TAKE IN JAZZ HOLIDAY: 40,000 MADE IT

The event faced some stiff competition from sports events.

As they finished cleaning everything up and putting it all away Wednesday, organizers of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday tallied up the results from the weekend.

Roughly 40,000 people attended the free four-day festival - slightly down from previous years, but still a pretty good number. The outdoor concerts faced stiff competition from the Tampa Bay Rays playing in the final three American League Championship Series games.

"We still had a good crowd," said Gary Hallas, the Jazz Holiday's consultant. "Obviously, the Rays' Game 7 plus the Sunday night Bucs game where they honored Mike Alstott - I think that was a big pull for a lot of people. How much of an impact that had, it's hard to say."

At the concert venue in Coachman Park, Clearwater police estimated the nightly crowds at 10,000 on Thursday, 10,800 on Friday, 12,000 on Saturday and 7,000 on Sunday, said police Lt. Wayne C. Andrews.

Problems were minimal, with a handful of fans being treated for heat-related medical issues each day. About 18 people were ejected for being too drunk.

In recent years, the Jazz Holiday has drawn 45,000 to 55,000 fans over its four nights, Hallas said. A light drizzle on Saturday afternoon didn't help this year.

But organizers estimate that about 5,000 people visited this year's first-ever Jazz 'N Art Walk, a weekend art show on nearby Cleveland Street. They plan to expand the art walk next year, which will be the 30th festival.

Receipts from the festival's concession stands are still being totaled. But overall, the Jazz Holiday looks to be in good shape for next year, Hallas said.

"Now we're looking forward to the 30th anniversary."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4160.

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