A Festive Occasion!


Okay, before too much time goes by, I want to mention the awesome 13th annual Xerox International Jazz Festival that just took place in my neck of the woods! This exciting event took over ‘Roc City, Rochester New York, from June 20, 2014 – June 28,2014. I guess you kind of had to be there, but I will do my best to give you a recap of my take on this fantastic music-filled event. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you may feel like you were there too!

There was definitely something for everyone at this music festival. You could literally walk through the streets of downtown Rochester New York and pretty much listen to the music of your liking, at any given moment. Unbelievably, there were more than 79 free concerts this year. Die-hard music fans  had the option of purchasing a Club Pass, which allowed entry into any of the tents where musicians were performing and activities were taking place. So, you could literally see oodles of performances nightly if you chose to with the use of the Club Pass. I may go this route next year and split the cost with someone, $189.00 for eight days of musical bliss. That way, on the days I don’t attend the festival, the other person can. However, this would eliminate the option of going to the festival with that person obviously, but no worries. There were so many people at this event, that there certainly was no shortage of interesting and friendly people to connect and converse with, my kind of occasion!

A reported 196,000 people attended the festival with over 1500 musicians from at least 19 countries; all gracing the festival with their crowd-pleasing music while performing for more than 325 concerts in over 20 venues in Roc City’s downtown East End Cultural District. Can you say A-MAZING?! What a boost to Rochester New York’s economy, in addition to some of the most versatile music ever in one place! There were at least 3 sold-out shows one of which was Earth,Wind & Fire. Other headliners included Janelle Monae and Michael McDonald. I did have the pleasure of seeing Michael McDonald’s concert and he was spectacular! It was thrilling to see that he can still hit those high notes and produce that one of a kind, uniquely soulful sound that is his and his alone. I loved it!

I did manage to take in the festival a couple of times and found the festive atmosphere to be both contagious and delightfully intoxicating. Even if you didn’t attend one of the shows or free concerts, you could find a seat some place or bring your own chair and sit,watch all the excited festival-goers and listen to the music, which was within ‘earshot’ from anywhere in the vicinity!

This annual event definitely put Rochester New York on the map, positively. You might also be impressed to learn that generosity certainly raised it’s lovely head in lieu of this musical extravaganza! Twenty one musical instruments were unselfishly donated to the Rochester Education Foundation at this year’s event. These instruments included: violins, a saxophone,clarinet, and many more as well as instruction books and accessories; all this, for the benefit of Rochester City School Students. Five thousand free pedometers were given to festival attendees compliments of Rochester General Health Systems, so that participants could keep track and measure their steps; a proactive move to promote walking and optimal health. Eric Waugh produced live paintings during the Lou Gramm concert with proceeds to be auctioned off to Hillside (Family of Agencies).

I simply cannot close out this article without mentioning the food trucks! Oh my! I had never had the pleasure of eating anything from one of these mobile feeding machines, until now. Lets just say that the pleasure was all mine! I had something called ‘meatball in a cup’. It was truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, one of many reasons to come back! Is this an event that you would consider attending in the future? Next year’s festival will run from June 19, 2015 through June 27, 2015, so plan early and mark your calendars! You will not be disappointed!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

July 2020

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