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Syracuse Jazz Fest announces 35th anniversary lineup

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Jazz Fest founder Frank Malfitano announces the lineup for this year's Jazz Fest

The Syracuse Jazz Fest is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. It will be held June 9 and 10 at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse. Jazz Fest founder Frank Malfitano says this anniversary is actually an impressive milestone.

"There are very few festivals in the country that have reached age 35 and they’re all in markets larger than us,” said Malfitano.” Newport Jazz Festival, Monterey[California] Jazz Festival, that’s been around 60 years. Chicago, Detroit, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and that’s it.”

One of the big draws of the Syracuse Jazz Fest is that it's free, and can still bring in big name acts. Malfitano says it's able to remain free because of support from Onondaga County and corporate sponsorships, and that's something that isn't lost on the artists that perform.

“A lot of these great artists that we present on out stage come from a community that can’t afford to see them,” he said. “So when we can make that possible, because of all the sponsorship underwriting support we receive, I think that’s pretty special. And I don’t think any other festival in the area, in the region, can offer that.”

Among the artists performing at this year's Jazz Fest is Todd Rundgren, Ramsey Lewis, the country/bluegrass group Asleep at the Wheel, and The Mavericks, which co-headlined last year's Jazz Fest. There will also be several central New York groups performing at this year's festival.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.