The Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester’s daily paper, weighed in this week in support of using the arts as a growth engine for Rochester:
A mix of activities: Jazz Festival’s growth should inspire Music Fest surge
(January 30, 2007) â€” As part of a larger plan to create a dynamic city, Rochester officials must provide entertainment on a large scale.
So news that the city is headed in that direction with the annual Rochester International Jazz Festival is encouraging.
With just $35,000 last year, the event managed to attract 80,000 people. Imagine what could be done with the $250,000 the city has asked for.
The idea is to expand the festival beyond the East End and hold events in other areas of the city such as High Falls and Corn Hill, creating a more appealing event.
This would be money well- spent. But the focus on the jazz festival creates a question. What about Music Fest?
The event was a product of the Johnson administration, and has primarily highlighted R&B and hip-hop acts. The event has seen some changes over the years â€” a reduction in the number of days it is held and a change of venue last year to Frontier Field. Charles Reaves, commissioner of recreation and youth services, said keeping the Music Fest going for years to come remains a priority of the city.
He said sponsorship for the event hasn’t grown to the level the city would like to see, but an audience is there.
Broadening the Music Fest to include other genres of music could be a smart way of appealing to more people and keeping the event fresh, though Reaves said variety can be achieved within the R&B and hip-hop genres by offering a mix of new, old and local acts.
He said it’s striking the right mix, as the jazz festival has done, will help to build the Music Fest’s appeal.
Officials will meet soon to determine the details of this year’s event, and the City Council will vote on whether to approve additional funding for the jazz festival. Nurturing both events should be on the top of the city’s to-do list.
That’s a song I’ve been singing for years. You’ll find that opinion and a lot more about the Rochester International Jazz Festival by looking through the RIJF category here at jasoncrane.org.