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Not surprised, but still disappointed ... RIJF must wait another year

image from www.jazzrochester.comCGI Rochester International Jazz Festival producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent announced today that, despite intensive work and holding onto a hope that a socially-distanced festival could take place this year at the more spacious location at RIT, they have decided that a festival this year is not viable from a business or health and safety perspective, due to necessary capacity and other restrictions under New York health guidelines. The RIJF will be postponed until June 17-25, 2022. “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 (RIT),” said Iacona and Nugent. As Nugent notes:

My heart is heavy. All of our colleagues, with whom we block book much of the amazing talent we present, postponed their festivals months ago. 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. 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, but 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.

I can't say I'm surprised, but of course I'm disappointed. Now that I'm starting to get out to hear live music again, albeit in a greatly subdued way, I am more aware of what I was missing and was really looking forward to RIJF, even out in Henrietta.  Unfortunately, while NY is opening up, there is still way too much up in the air with the pace of vaccination slowing, the variants multiplying across the world, and the resulting likelihood that some restrictions will be with us for some time. Hopefully, by June 2022 we'll be at a place where the festival can again fill the streets of Rochester with music and crowds.

For more information, see full Press Release on the CGI Rochester International website.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.