About RIJF


The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is one of the world’s leading jazz festivals presenting legendary performers, familiar favorites, rising stars and new discoveries from around the world.

The multi-dimensional nine-day festival is held annually in downtown Rochester, NY, and presents more than 1750 artists from around the world in 320+ shows at 21 venues. Founded in 2002, attendance has grown from 15,000 in 2002 to 208,000 in 2019. The economic impact delivered to the region now exceeds $180 million.

The 19th Edition 2020 festival has been rescheduled from June 19-27 to Oct 2-10, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Navigating all genres of creative improvised music the festival brings together unique musical sounds from many countries, highlighting international artists' take on the only truly American art form - jazz. 

In addition to a headliner series and Club Pass Series of 220+ shows, we present more than 100 free shows and events including workshops for music students and nightly jam sessions, where there's no telling who will drop in to play. It's said that jazz never sleeps and this event proves it as the music goes on deep into the night  – often with unsung musicians who electrify the room. 

Our jazz scholarship program has awarded almost $500,000 in scholarships to 40 students entering Eastman School of Music since 2002.  

The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is produced by RIJF, LLC, a privately held company owned by John Nugent and Marc Iacona. Nugent, Producer and Artistic Director, is a noted tenor sax player, who has traveled the world with many jazz artists including Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, The Woody Herman Orchestra and The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Marc Iacona, Producer and Executive Director, is a Rochester native and President of Simcona Electronics. A business and community leader, he is an avid trumpeter and supporter of the arts.

Signature Highlights
The reasons for our success are as diverse as our programming.  

  • The popular Club Pass, a "value pass to discovery," allows people access to all club venues to sample a wide spectrum of music. It's no wonder the festival motto is "It's not who you know, it's who you don't know."
  • The Festival's European style makes it the place to meet! With many streets closed the lively and vibrant ambiance makes it a destination for friends to connect, discuss favorite music, and enjoy a bite to eat. 
  • The diversity of 20+ venues, all located within walking distance in and around Rochester's east end cultural district, ranges from elegant concert halls to intimate clubs to vibrant outdoor stages. Each offers a comfortable setting in which to appreciate and savor the many genres of creative improvised music, all under the auspices of jazz. 

Rising Recognition
The Festival's popularity continues to escalate.

Nurturing the Next Generation
Investing in the next generation is a major focus of the festival. The festival established the first jazz music scholarship at the renowned Eastman School of Music, awarding almost $500,000 to 40 students to attend the prestigious school since the festival began in 2002. Each year a free scholarship concert is held during the festival featuring the scholarship winners.  

Since 2013 an expanded Youth Jazz Workshop Series led by visiting musicians has been offered over five days for young music students and was sponsored by Wegmans.

More than 20 high school jazz bands, the best in the region, are invited to perform each year on the Jazz Street stage. Many youth ensembles from the Eastman School's community education program are also given an opportunity to play.  

Economic Impact
In addition to delivering an exhilarating and diverse program of music, RIJF is also proud to make a significant economic impact on the Rochester region, exceeding $180 million over 18 years. 

Impacting tourism - people come from all across the world to attend, corporations schedule major meeting and events during the festival, travel and meeting planners attend to explore the region for future meetings and conferences, and local music lovers often take the week off to enjoy all nine days of the festivities without worrying about staying up late!  

The festival's impact can also be felt throughout the year. It has paved the way for more live music in area venues and built audiences for many artists who are invited back by other area organizations for fundraisers and concerts. 

The RIJF organization has been a tireless advocate for the arts as a key sector of our economy and a significant influence in showcasing Rochester, New York's wide-ranging resources and riches in the cultural arts making it a destination for people worldwide.  

Festival Series & Venues
The festival is presented in three series: Headliner, Club Pass, and Free Shows. There are also nightly jam sessions and workshops for young musicians. 

Nightly from 10:30 – 'til... 
No cover charge. Food and beverages are available.

Led by Bob Sneider and Karl Stabnau

The Street Craft Kitchen and Bar at the festival’s new official hotel, the Hyatt Regency Rochester, located at 125 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604