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City set to vote on Rochester International Jazz Festival funding

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The Rochester City Council is set to vote this month on financing $243,000 to the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival.

The allocation would be in line with what the city has given to the Jazz Festival every year since 2015, with exceptions for the last two years. In 2020, Council approved the funding but the festival was canceled and the money was never given to the festival. Last year, Council members didn’t vote on the funding because festival organizers had announced plans to move it to the RIT campus in Henrietta; they ultimately scrapped the event.

In November, organizers announced the festival was back on for 2022, albeit with a pandemic clouding its future.

“We’re all hoping things return to normal,” co-promoter John Nugent said in a November interview with CITY. “I can’t tell you what’s going to go on in the next six months in terms of what’s in the air and how much it spreads. I’m not a scientist. Everybody in the entertainment industry is dealing with the exact same thing. And agents are trying to place their tours, artists want to get back to work.”

The Rochester International Jazz Festival began in 2002 and has become a mainstay event in downtown Rochester. The festival typically draws over 200,000 people over the course of nine days, and features about 350 shows at 20 venues.

The Jazz Festival also receives more city support than other festivals in Rochester. In 2021, the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival got $75,000 from the city, while Roc Holiday Village received $55,000 — each received a $30,000 bump up from the previous year.

Rochester City Council is scheduled to vote on Jazz Fest funding at its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 15.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or gino@rochester-citynews.com.

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