No city funding for Jazz Festival if it’s not held in Rochester, officials say to RIT plans

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — City officials say Rochester will not provide funding for the 2021 CGI Rochester International Jazz festival, if it happens as planned this year.

The news comes just hours after Jazz Fest organizers announced plans for this year’s event, which called for a July festival on the RIT campus in Henrietta.

City officials said Thursday that it would not provide funding for the event if it doesn’t take place in Rochester. In past years, the funding has supported security costs as well as some large public shows.

Jazz festival organizers say that funding is a fraction of what they need to produce a show.

A statement Thursday from City of Rochester Communications Director Justin Roj:

“Today’s announcement should remind us all of the need to fight the COVID pandemic so life can return to normal. The City was unaware of the organizers’ decision until this morning. However, we look forward to working with them to return the Jazz Festival to our downtown next year.”

A statement Thursday from Rochester City Councilmember Mary Lupien:

​”The Jazz Festival has received $243,000 in City Funding for years and brought vibrancy and millions of dollars to our community. However, if the Jazz Festival is not hosted in the City of Rochester, I would not support any of our City’s money going towards the festival. The Rochester Fringe Festival also brings millions to the community, yet receives only a fraction of the funding. I support transferring Jazz Fest funding to the Fringe Festival to support their incredible free public events in Rochester’s downtown. 

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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