Rochester Jazz Festival returns to downtown in 2022

After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival will return to downtown Rochester in 2022, festival producers said on Friday.

“Nothing has changed in the way I think,” said co-promoter John Nugent. “We will try to bring our event back to where it was two years ago.

The nine-day festival, which presents more than 350 performances in more than 20 venues each year and attracts more than 200,000 people over nine days, is scheduled to begin on June 17, 2022. It will be the 19th edition of the one event.

The race has been uncertain for the past two years. After canceling the festival in 2020 due to the pandemic, Nugent and co-producer Marc Iacona announced in February that the 2021 Jazz Festival would move from downtown Rochester to Henrietta, on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, to better comply with state health directives. .

Fans, city officials and downtown business owners have announced that the popular event will leave downtown, who said the festival’s relocation would be an economic blow to the downtown area, in especially the bars and restaurants in the East End which depended on the event.

But in May, the producers turned the tide by moving to the RIT campus and said the jazz festival would instead be canceled for the second year in a row. At that time, he set the new dates for June. But it was not immediately clear where the festival would take place.

Friday’s announcement made it clear that next year’s event will be held in its familiar downtown venues, with some limited changes.

“We all hope things get back to normal,” Nugent said. “I can’t tell you what’s going to happen over the next six months in terms of what’s in the air and how far it’s spreading. I am not a scientist. Everyone in the entertainment industry is faced with the exact same thing. And the agents try to place their tours, the artists want to get back to work.

Much of next year’s festival, Nugent said, will be about rescheduling. Despite the uncertainty, he is already reserving acts for the 2022 Club Pass series, with musicians scheduled to perform in the 2020 festival as a priority.

“If you lost a job a few years ago because it wasn’t your fault, you probably want to keep it, right?” Nugent said. “We offer each artist who has been booked in 2020 a first right of refusal. And most of them are reprogramming.

Nugent wants the festival to retain its strong international flavor. Yet touring artists, including the large number of Canadian and European musicians who perform at the festival each year, have different COVID hoops to go through on each date.

“I hope there will be artists from countries with low COVID levels,” Nugent said, adding that he had no control over the pandemic guidelines. “Borders are what borders are. ”

While the RIT is no longer in the festival’s plans, Iacona, who is in charge of venue reservations, says the jazz festival is open to discussions on future expansion of the festival which could include the school. Other possibilities under consideration, he said, include hosting events at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Manhattan Square.

Friday’s announcement indicated that the 2022 Club Pass series will feature 219 music ensembles at 12 venues in downtown Rochester. The organizers have said that Club Pass tickets purchased for the canceled 2021 event are valid for either the 2022 festival or the 2023 festival.

All plans are being developed taking into account the uncertainty associated with the pandemic.

“Each state has a different position on how people move around their places,” Nugent said. “In this state at this time, it is strongly recommended that you follow New York State guidelines.

“Whether or not that will change by next June is a guess.”

Full lineup and details for the 2022 festival will be announced at the annual spring press conference in March.

Rebecca Rafferty is the editor-in-chief of CITY. She can be reached at [email protected] Jeff Spevak is the Arts & Life editor of WXXI. He can be contacted at [email protected]


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Willie J. Johnson