ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After two years of not being all it could be due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival plans to be back on in full form and in full swing. Kicking off next Friday, crews are busy at work making this the event to beat for 2022.

Marc Iacona with the festival said when it comes to the ‘back to normal’ return of the CGI Rochester International Jazz Fest, he’s nervous, in a GOOD way. 

“I’m really looking forward to it, having our teams back together, having the community come out,” he said.

For nine days starting June 17, Iacona says there will be 325 shows, 130 of those will be totally free. And artists from across the nation and around the world, over 1700 will be in Rochester. It’s a homecoming for everyone. 

“It’s just a place to come and hang out. There will be food trucks, and then the headliners that we have at nine o’clock every night: all the way from Sheila E, to Chris Bodie, to Booker T, to G Love and the Special Sauce… so many,” he says. (Full artist lineup can be found here).

Iacona wants to let patrons know that this will be a safe event. “Our RPD is all over things. They are doing things to prepare that we’re not really aware of, and I’m glad they’re taking care of things,” he said, adding that there will also be private security.

Iacona says even if you don’t like jazz to come anyway — You never know what you might find yourself tapping your toe to. 

“You are going to hear music that you might not have thought was jazz, and it’s their interpretation of jazz which is creative improvised music,” he said.

He says when you get here, keep one thing in mind: “It’s been two years since we’ve all been together, let’s just keep the peace and harmony…it’s the music that brings us together, let’s not forget that,” said Iacona.

For a full list of the venues, ticket prices, and free shows, click here.