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The 2015 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival takes place June 19-27 in various venues in Rochester. WXXI News takes you behind the ropes, with coverage you'll only get from WXXI throughout the event.You can also find coverage on the WXXI webpage.

Thousands Pack The Start Of The Jazz Fest

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Fred SanFilipo
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Diana Krall playing Friday at the XRIJF.

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival is underway.

The crowds started to pack the East End venue early on Friday. That was due in part to the 4:00 p.m., first show with singer-pianist Diana Krall, a show that was nearly sold out at the Eastman Theatre; it was followed by a sold-out 8:00 p.m. show for Krall, a Rochester jazz fest veteran, who has now played in three of the festivals.

Among those lining up late Friday afternoon to catch the free music on Gibbs Street, or “Jazz Street,” as they like to call it for the nine-day run of the event, was Nancy Rice, a Rochesterian who's been here before. She just loves the whole atmosphere, including the music. 

"It's almost like a circus or a folk fair or something, people come from all over and you meet people when you're standing in line and then the music is fabulous and you hear people that you haven't heard before."

Another Jazz Street fan was Carlos Rivera of North Greece. He used to play jazz in a high school band, and says it's nice to be able to catch so many great performers. 

"There’s so many free venues around here it's really nice to go around and see a lot of the groups that play for free and then there's a few of the groups that I've gone to pay for, and those are really great," he told WXXI News.

More than 1500 artists will be playing jazz, and just about every other form of music over the next week or so, in an event that usually attracts a total of about 200,000 people.

The streets around the East End, especially East Ave. saw their share of 'buskers,' with a guitarist, and accordionist and a few other street musicians adding to the ambience of what has become one of Rochester's most popular festivals.  

The nine-day festival features more than 320 shows including more than 90-free concerts and over 1500 artists. There are some new venues this year, including the Squeezers Roots and American Stage at the Sibley Building, and the theater at 440 East Avenue in the First Church of Christ, Scientist. And because of construction on the Inner Loop, the concerts previously held at the stage at East and Alexander are being moved to East and Chestnut.

You can get updates throughout the festival on-air on WXXI, and online at wxxi.organd wxxinews.org