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Jazz Fest founder says festival is on the road back to Downtown Syracuse

Syracuse Jazzfest

Things appear to be heading in the right direction for Syracuse Jazz Fest to make a return at some point but, as the Founder and Executive Director admitted, it is still very much a work in progress. He is extremely appreciative that Syracuse Common Councilors decided to set aside $125,000 this week to support the outdoor music festival.

The Common Council in favor of city funding for Jazz Fest is an important step, a major step and it’s a key step towards the festival happening this summer,” Malfitano said.

Frank Malfitano closed out an impressive 35-year run with the Jazz Fest at OCC in 2017 and brought superstar acts like Aretha Franklin to town. There is plenty that has changed in 5 years, but he never lost the determination to bring the free music festival back. He admitted time is ticking away to get additional funding in place including Onondaga County and New York State, but he has been down this road before.

We’re on everyone else’s timeline, it’s not the other way around. People aren’t working on Jazz Fest deadline,” Malfitano said. “We’d love to have all of those commitments secured in a week, so we could start booking the talent and doing all of the other work necessary to produce the festival.”

Malfitano is being cautious to not overpromise that Jazz Fest will happen this summer but, he said that is his goal. Meanwhile, the festival continues to build partnerships. Malfitano said a new title sponsor deal was inked last week, and the main stage sponsor for Jazz Fest from the private sector will also be announced. Booking agencies for recording artists have already come calling and are on standby if all the funding comes together.

Founder of Syracuse Jazz Fest Frank Malfitano is hopeful that additional funding approved by the Syracuse common council will allow the outdoor festival to return this summer – ending a 5-year hiatus.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.