Every year, I make a “grand plan” for JazzRochester's coverage of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. Most years, the amount of time I have to implement these plans falls short of my grand plan. While this summer at least I’m in town for it (see 2016), and I plan on the usual crazy nine days of music, liquid refreshment, street food, etc., the combination of being a new homeowner (and learning what that means… just had the AC go out) and an unanticipated uptick on the attention I’ll have to give my day job during the festival are conspiring to undermine my plans even more. So much for my “grand plan”….
In some ways, my worries of not meeting expectations are really just a reflection of the knowledge of what I wanted to do compared to the reality of what I can do with the time I have given my “real” life. Over the 10+ years that I’ve been doing JazzRochester, and covering the jazz festival in these pages, the success of the festival has changed my relationship with it. When I started this blog, there was not very much coverage of the Rochester jazz festival in the major media in Rochester and the traffic to JazzRochester would triple or better during the festival. Now, the media market is saturated with coverage and my little old JazzRochester blog is just another voice among the many news and other outlets that have much louder "voices." My traffic actually goes down during XRIJF! While I would hope to gain new readers, the reduction in traffic is fine with me; it shows the success of the festival, and I hope that success may translate into an expanded audience for live jazz in and around during the other 356 days of the year (in fact, that has become my catch phrase as you see by the image accompanying this post). And this blog is mostly about the 356 days of the year.
So, what can you expect from JazzRochester during the nine days of the XRIJF? Here’s what I plan to do:
- Increasingly over the past years I have been focused on getting out and hearing the music during the festival, and … frankly… enjoying myself. The lineup this year has the usual mix of those who I know and those I don’t. There are no artists this year who are on my “bucket list.” That’s not a bad thing…. As I’ve said before, it just makes it likely that my “picks” morph during the festival and that I’ll create opportunities to discover new sounds and artists in real time. As John Nugent has said over and over, “it’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t know” that matters. I plan on hearing as much of the latter as possible, so my “itinerary” will be in flux … on purpose. I’ll try to let you know the ones I think are “must sees” each night, so check out the blog and other channels for that.
- I will use the other JazzRochester platforms, especially Twitter (currently at over 11.7K followers), the JazzRochester Facebook Page and JazzRochester on Instagram, to connect festival goers with the artists as they communicate about the festival and their music and images from the XRIJF. . In addition, I have a list of the Twitter handles of artists at XRIJF that I’ll be checking out (and you can too, if you’re too inclined). I’ll also use Twitter and Facebook to share the information about the festival being put out by XRIJF and other ROC coverage of the festival. Follow me if you’re on those platforms.
- I will try to do a recap post each day of what I ended up hearing the night before and a preview of the music I hope to hear that evening. I’ll try to get these out to subscribers in real time on the blog, so check your email before heading down to the festival. But don’t be too surprised if my aforementioned life gets in the way.
- I will continue to do the Wednesday listings post to let you know about other live jazz in and around Rochester.
I hope that you will let people know about JazzRochester during the festival, so more people who are discovering the wonderful music at XRIJF and especially that played by the many local artists and bands and musicians who will be participating this year, are also hip to where to find the most complete listings for live jazz during the rest of the year. Tell your friends; tell people you’re standing next to in line!
See you on Jazz Street! Say hi if you see me....