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Jazz Fest postpones again, until summer of 2022

Al Chez & The Brothers of Funk entertain the crowd during the final night of the 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival.
Fred SanFilipo
Al Chez & The Brothers of Funk entertain the crowd during the final night of the 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival.

After an attempt to save this year’s edition of the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival by moving it back a month and changing the location to Rochester Institute of Technology, the event’s producers announced Monday morning that the event will be postponed again.

The new dates are June 17-25, 2022. But it was not immediately clear where the festival will be held. 

“We will be back next year and are committed to making every effort to move forward in downtown Rochester and also explore expanding the Festival with programming at Rochester Institute of Technology,” co-producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent said in a press release.

City of Rochester officials and Eastman School of Music President Jamal Rossi were caught by surprise when Iacona and Nugent announced in February that the event, which drew more than 200,000 people when it was last held in 2019, was moving from downtown Rochester to RIT.

Last year’s jazz festival was to take place, as it traditionally does, in late June. The onset of the pandemic forced its postponement to October, and then later, to July 30 through Aug. 7 this year.

Nugent and Iacona said at the time that the move to the RIT campus would allow for more flexibility in venues, including outdoor stages, seen as safer than indoor shows during the coronavirus pandemic. They also noted that the later timing of the event would leave more time for festival goers to get vaccinated.

“All of our colleagues, with whom we block book much of the amazing talent we present, postponed their festivals months ago,” Nugent said. “We did not want to throw in the towel but we are now left with no viable alternatives. As we tried to plan, the plethora of logistical barriers including capacity limits, border closures, artists reluctant to travel, limited availability of talent to book, visas for international artists now invalid, and more.”

Iacona added, “As the landscape has continued to evolve we have discussed myriad configurations such as fewer days and all outdoor shows, but it has become clear that we cannot deliver the product that people expect from us musically or logistically with capacity restrictions.”

Tickets purchased for headliner shows at the 19th Jazz Fest have already been refunded. Club Passes already purchased may be redeemed in either 2022 or 2023. Passes may also be shared or transferred.

Jeff Spevak is WXXI’s Arts & Life editor and reporter. He can be reached at

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle.