20th CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival underway

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You can certainly feel the excitement downtown as the 20th CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival has returned for its 20th year. It runs for nine days, with more than 100 free performances and headliners.

The full lineup includes 300 acts, across 19 venues. More than 100 of those are free, including many headliners at Parcel 5, similar to the model they had last year.

Executive Director Marc iacona says 20 years is something to celebrate.

“The 20 years is a testament in itself. There aren’t many festivals unique like us — we have a Club Pass series, we have ticketed shows and a large venue, we have free performances outdoor to the community, so the 20 years we’ve built is really a recognition around the world now.”

The festival got funding from the federal government to help out after the pandemic, but this year, there was some concern about getting up and running without that federal help. Iacona says one big sponsor pulled through – Wegmans — and now they’re ready for a fun week.

The festival does not operate any parking, but there are many surface lots and ramp parking garages nearby, like the East End Garage and Midtown Garage. If you park on the street, keep in mind parking meters are in service from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. They’re free after 6 p.m., and on weekends.

As for security? “Security is always important to us each and every year, so RPD is involved, security involved, Homeland Security is involved, all different elements of security that kind of surround the festival,” Iacona said.