Rochester Jazz Fest Cancels; Promises To Be Back in 2022


Nick Iacona (left) and John Nugent, producers of the Rochester International Jazz Festival

(Photo: Courtesy of RIJF)

The Rochester International Jazz Festival announced that it is postponing its next festival until 2022. In a letter to the press and fans, Mark Iacona and John Nugent, the event’s producers, outlined ongoing pandemic issues that made a July 2021 festival impossible to pull off.

“After intensive efforts to deliver a festival this year, and despite holding onto hope that a socially distanced festival could take place this year at a more spacious location, it will not be viable from either a business or health safety perspective due to necessary [New York] State health guidelines and capacity restrictions,” they said in the letter. “We will be back in 2022 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.”

Traditionally held in June, Iacona and Nugent had rescheduled the festival to the end of July in hopes of a more positive outlook for holding live events in New York. But state guidelines would require capacity restrictions that made producing the festival economically unfeasible, according to the letter.

“We fully realize that the loss of live music has created a huge void in our lives and it has been career-ending for many musicians,” Iacona and Nugent said. “We will bring RIJF back next year with the high level of superior artistry our patrons have come to expect, and in an environment that will be inspiring and uplifting.”

Founded in 2002, the fest has been a staple of summer in upstate New York, drawing more than 200,000 attendees for more than 300 shows in 2019. For more information about the festival, see DB

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