It is possible to feel a stinging grief at the loss of an institution.  I write these words in a very sorrowful mood, because I have learned that the 2012 Sweet and Hot Music Festival has been cancelled. 

I came late to this particular party: my first (and only) encounter with this musical cornucopia was during the 2011 Labor Day weekend.  But as I’ve documented elsewhere on JAZZ LIVES, it was overflowing with good music — sweet and hot — and good feeling.   

I understand why enterprises of this scope find it impossible to continue, and I don’t plan to analyze the economic realities of 2012 here.  I feel so sorry for the musicians who have lost another place to play, and for the hard-working people behind the scenes, especially my dear friend Laurie Whitlock, one of the hardest-working and kindest people in jazz.  For now, I will think fondly of a whirlwind of jazz . . . I documented it on many videos on YouTube, but the future — at least my own version of it — isn’t going to be the same without the Sweet and Hot Music Festival. 

I originally planned to add a video performance or two from the 2011 Sweet and Hot Music Festival to show what had happened there . . . and, by extension, what the dimensions of our loss would be — but it seemed an impiety.  My feelings find their best expression in silence. 

This is the space where the Sweet and Hot Music Festival used to be.



  1. Terribly sad that this event has been cancelled, but oh what memories: an entire afternoon and evening listing to Maxine Sullivan; a concert and then a late night dinner with Bud Freeman (!); my buddy Ray Anthony and his big band; Wild Bill, Bob Wilbur, bookseller Arthur Newman and our friend Ray Avery, Don Lodice, Dave Frishberg …. the memories go on and on.

  2. This is really sad news. I’m so glad I got to go last year. It was fantastic.

  3. Bob & Betty Rakers

    Have done this one for 12 years — traveled from Wisconsin to attend because it was worth it. Wish Wally would bring it back and charge whatever price they need to cover costs and make a bit of money. This is a real loss to those of us who enjoy music in this style.

  4. susan melsek

    Was the Festival cancelled after sixteen years because of ticket prices, talent availability, local laws, the California economy…..WHY? Executive Festival Director Mr. Wally Holmes: WHY? Please tell us what happened in 2012 to suddenly end this fabulous and unique jazz gathering!

  5. So sad Wally that you had to come to this tough decision. We enjoyed all the years of the Sweet & Hot.

    Bob Scofield

  6. Loved this jazz festival like NO OTHER…..
    Still in shock….but amazed that the party was able to go on for so long…
    Wally…you’re the greatest!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR DEDICATION TO THIS GREAT ARTFORM!!!! In mourning,
    Mary & Nick KANIAN

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