The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival begins June 23 in downtown Rochester.
Co-Producer and Executive Director of the XRIJF Marc Iacona discussed this year’s event and its economic impact during our Greater Rochester Enterprise Why ROC conversation Wednesday on News 8 at Sunrise.
“What we are looking forward to every year is happy faces, ears hearing what they want to hear, and some new things,” said Iacona. “The venues that we have, the quality of the programming that we have, we say, it’s not who you know, it’s who you don’t know. That never gets old, because we have musicians coming here and playing in our Club Pass series sometimes for the first time in this country. So, they land in New York, they land in Chicago, they land in LA, and they fly into Rochester, New York. They play our festival, and then they go on to play at some other festivals here in the United States and Canada, but they actually start with our festival.”
The economic impact of the Jazz Fest can be felt across the community. “We have great sponsor family, and we have a very educated, artistically educated – not only in music community – and the surrounding communities,” Iacona said. “So, through third-party surveys, which we have well over 3,000 respondents, that economic impact is calculated, and it’s between 8 and 10 million dollars. With regards to hotels, pre-festival, during, and post, the residual effects that it has had have been very positive.”
Organizers can also track the number of people coming to Rochester from other states and countries through the sale of Club Passes. Now in its sixteenth year, the XRIJF has become an important part of the summer scene. “We have the Eastman School of Music, we have other forms of education in music and the arts that kind of helps propel, and keep things going,” said Iacona of the Festival’s continued success. “I think that there’s been a thirst for hearing music, and new music, that you might not just be able to hop in a car and go to, hop on a plane. To have the expenses to go on a weekend, and spending on a hotel, and dinners, and access to those shows, when you can spend a fraction, invest in the Club Pass and spend a week here hearing the music, and then maybe following those musicians, so, ‘Why Rochester?’ Why not? But I think we’re surrounded by all of the right components, great companies around here, great institutions educationally, as well as the residual of students that are here for the summer. They’re also participating in the festival as well as now attending.”