Year Five of RIJF Comes to a Close -- Another Year of Spectacular Music Filling the Streets of Rochester -- Attendance Hits New High of 80,000
Rochester, NY--June 18, 2006 -- After nine jam-packed days of some of the world’s finest creative improvised music, the fifth edition of the Rochester International Jazz Festival (RIJF) closed on a spectacular high note. Record attendance, estimated at 80,000, included people from around the nation and world who came to enjoy the Festival’s offering of 600 artists performing in 170 concerts.
"Our lineup was one of the best we've put together since the Festival began in 2002 and there is nowhere to go but up for our festival," said John Nugent, Artistic Director and Co-producer.
"High level creativity and in-depth artistry in music is what I live for," Nugent added. "Marc Iacona (Co-producer and Executive Director) and I will continue working tirelessly for this community if the economics are in place to progress. And we look forward to being here as long as the support for our growth is in place."
Woody Allen and His New Orleans Jazz Band opened the Festival June 9th in a rare performance outside New York City. Other headliners included the godfather of soul James Brown, Phil Woods, McCoy Tyner, Toots Thielemans, Wayne Shorter, Susan Tedeschi and Etta James, Little Feat, Soulive and Dickey Betts.
True to its international and diverse focus and providing something for everyone, RIJF delivered multiple genres of creative improvised music, from New Orleans old and new and jazz legends, to blues and some of the finest emerging artists from around the world.
Marc Iacona said last night, "This was definitely a milestone year. We reached record attendance once again and welcomed people from all over the world. Now we will be exploring new venue options as we look to accommodate the growth."
"Our main thrust however, will always be the quality of the music, Iacona added. "While growth is desirable we will do it only when we can preserve key elements of the festival that enhance enjoyment, such as the ability to walk among venues, and ease of parking. Those things make a big difference in making the overall festival experience a positive one and they allow the music to rise to the top."
This year’s Festival was presented in four series: the Senator Jim Alesi Eastman Theatre series, the ever-popular and frequently sold out Club Pass Series with more than 100 concerts, and an expanded offering (more than 50) of free concerts and performances on two outdoor stages, in the Chrysler Performance Area and in the Rochester Area Community Foundation Museum and Gallery Family Series.
Features added in 2006 included Jazz Street (Gibbs St.) being closed to traffic all nine days, a new large merchandise tent on Jazz Street, a celebration of New Orleans including the opening night fundraiser with Woody Allen plus five New Orleans-based groups (Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Papa Grows Funk, Asylum Street Spankers, Red Stick Ramblers and Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers) and the Museum and Gallery Family Series, presented by Rochester Area Community Foundation, which featured nine free shows at the Memorial Art Gallery, George Eastman House and on the Mary Jemison Riverboat.
For the first time the Club Pass sold out, a tribute to its extraordinary value and the opportunity it gives people to easily discover a multitude of new sounds walking from one club venue to another.
After concluding its fifth successful year, RIJF has become a major contributor to Rochester’s reputation as a leading international music destination.
"There is no question that RIJF is having a significant and growing economic impact on the Rochester NY region," noted Nugent. "And this is important because it helps power and enhance Rochester’s music and creative arts reputation, which in turn drives revenue to the region and adds to the quality of life."
"This region also has an exceptionally respectful, open and knowledgeable audience that appreciates good music of all kinds. That is noticed by the artists and is one of the reasons they enjoy coming here."
Both Nugent and Iacona thanked the hundreds of people and organizations that make the Festival possible. "This festival does not take place at this level of success without the work of so many people," said Nugent and Iacona. "We are grateful to everyone who attended, all our sponsors, our tireless staff, the venue owners and their staffs, the Eastman School of Music, Monroe County and the City of Rochester, our volunteers and the whole community that welcomes this Festival and makes it easy for us to make it all come together."
Planning will begin almost immediately for next year’s Festival. Nugent will now head to Sweden where he will produce the Stockholm Jazz Festival which runs from July 18 -22.
Music fans can find a wide array of photos of this year’s concerts and scenes posted at www.rochesterjazz.com. Photos from Festivals 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 are also online. Official Festival Merchandise is also available for purchase online while supplies last. Artist bios, photos and MP3s will remain on the site until next year’s lineup is announced in April 2007.
Thank You 2006 RIJF Sponsors - Presented by Heluva Good Quality Foods and sponsored by Founding Sponsor Senator Jim Alesi, Monroe County, Time Warner Cable, Eastman School of Music, Democrat and Chronicle, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Bank of America, I Love New York, City of Rochester, Robert Mondavi, Constellation Brands, Chrysler, AirTran, House of Guitars, Mercury Print Productions, Max of Eastman Place, Michelob, Strong Health, Rochester Area Community Foundation, The Bop Shop, Little Theatres, Nextel, Lodge at Woodcliff, Ballantyne RV, Greater Rochester Visitors Association, and Downbeat Magazine.
About the Rochester International Jazz FestivalFounded in 2002, the Rochester International Jazz Festival is produced by RIJF, LLC; John Nugent, Producer and Artistic Director; Marc Iacona, Executive Director. It has become one of nation’s largest and fastest growing music festivals, drawing fans from across the U.S. and around the world. 2005 attendance topped 65,000. 2006 attendance hit 80,000. Annually the Festival presents more than 170 concerts featuring a diverse and international lineup of legendary Grammy award-winning artists and critically-acclaimed jazz and contemporary groups.