Headliners will perform free shows at this year’s Jazz Festival
ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – This year’s CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival will be held June 17-25 in Rochester.
Festival Executive Director and Co-Producer Marc Iacona discussed the highly anticipated community event on Wednesday during our Greater Rochester Enterprise Why ROC Conversation.
“It feels like the first since the festival’s two-year hiatus,” Iacona said of the COVID-inspired break. “Our team is very excited. We’re a little nervous, but it’s okay to be nervous, so make sure you’re on top.
There will be more than 325 performances, including 130 free shows, at 19 outdoor and indoor venues in Rochester.
Iacona said that along with fellow producer and artistic director John Nugent, he wanted to emphasize free concerts this year. “We were fortunate to receive government funding called SVOG, Save our Stages, championed by Senator Schumer. We took this grant and made a decision, instead of putting what we could do into our infrastructure and planning for the future, we made the decision to take a big chunk of this grant and provide all the programming for free compared to paid programming in our headlining series which is normally at the Eastman Theatre.
Plot 5, called Midtown Stage, will feature three free shows per night at 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and the headliner at 9:00 p.m.
“It’s going to be for nine nights,” Iacona said. “So it’s going to be really exciting in terms of the value we can bring to the community. Jazz Street will be there. Gibbs Street will be closed for nine nights of programming from 4:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The Hyatt is a new Club Pass venue for us. It will host the jam session which is downstairs in the old restaurant, seating more people. The theater at Innovation Square – the old Xerox auditorium – has been beautifully renovated and is part of our Club Series Pass.There will also be great shows there.
As always, this year’s jazz festival will feature many local musicians.
“We appreciate artists and people from our own backyard and the region,” Iacona explained. “So you’ll see this lineup from these local artists playing at 5 on Parcel 5 and throughout the Club Pass series. We are proud to say that we allow our local professional musicians – young and old – to play at the festival. People like Steve Gadd came from Rochester. Chuck and Gap Mangione too – lots of people who passed through Rochester who were once regional and local professional musicians and obviously now world famous.
Over 200,000 people attended the Jazz Festival in 2019. The annual event has a loyal following and Iacona believes he knows why.
“The consistency of the lineup, the way we run the event – we’re not perfect but we really try to start things on time and accommodate everyone,” he said. “I think this is just one of those events that brings the community together and this year we really want to feel that harmony and love in terms of reunions, regardless of location.”
Download the RIJF app on your smartphone or get more information about specific shows, times and tickets at RochesterJazz.com.
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