ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The 2021 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival has been canceled. Producers announced on Monday that the event would be postponed until 2022.
According to organizers, holding the event would "not be viable from either a business or health safety perspective due to necessary NY State health guidelines and capacity restrictions."
In a statement released on Monday, festival producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent said in part:
The Jazz Festival is known worldwide, and Iacona says the decision to not go forward again this year was a difficult one.
“At a crossroads making commitments, just not knowing what’s going forward, it’s just probably not the prudent thing to do," Iacona said. "Heartbreaking, but not the thing to do.”
Earlier this year, it was decided that the 2021 festival would go forward with a venue change to the Rochester Institute of Technology campus with the hope it would provide a larger and safer environment for the event during the ongoing pandemic. However, the plan did not pan out. Nugent says even the change in venue wasn’t enough to overcome challenging COVID-19 restrictions.
“The realities of having reduced capacities means in order for us to be successful, we have to ask all our suppliers and artists to take less, and it’s just not right to do that,” Nugent said.
Both men feel bad for the artists that have been struggling, but say everyone would still be welcome to perform at the festival in 2022.
“They’ve lost their year and a half of income from not having a chance to work, so we want to provide them a stage,” Nugent said. “And especially all the regional artists we were engaged with for 2020, we’re going to try to bring them all back for ‘22.”
The new dates for the festival are June 17-25, 2022. Updates will be provided at www.rochesterjazz.com.
“Our desire and our goal is to move forward as if COVID didn’t happen, meaning in the city and with all the elements of the jazz festival,” Iacona said.
Nugent says participants expect a certain energy when attending the festival, which he promises will return.
“The term ‘bigger and better,’ we just want to be the best," Nugent said. "It’s not about how big, big, big you can get, we want to deliver the best product we can within the spaces we can present in.”