CGI marks final year as title sponsor of Rochester International Jazz Festival 

click to enlarge An aerial of the 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival, which featured nine nights of concerts on Parcel 5.

PHOTO BY PETER PARTS FOR THE CGI ROCHESTER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

An aerial of the 2019 CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival, which featured nine nights of concerts on Parcel 5.

The CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival kicks off Friday – marking the fifth and final season for its title sponsor.

“This is our last year,” said CGI chairman and CEO Bob Bartosiewicz.

The 21st annual festival runs nine days, through June 29, with 326 shows at various East End and downtown venues.

CGI, a Rochester-based digital marketing agency, initially signed a three-year contract, then extended the agreement. Before CGI, Xerox did a decade-long run as title sponsor.

click to enlarge Musician Danielle Ponder performs at the 2022 Rochester International Jazz Festival. - PHOTO BY JACKIE MCGRIFF
  • PHOTO BY JACKIE MCGRIFF
  • Musician Danielle Ponder performs at the 2022 Rochester International Jazz Festival.
While it has been a “wonderful” run, Bartosiewicz said, “we want to do other things.”

“Am I glad that I did it? Yes,” he added.

But sponsorship is not cheap. The city of Rochester is the lead government sponsor, which translates to a $243,000 commitment. Taxpayer support underwrites more than 60 free outdoor concerts. Bartosiewicz declined to say what CGI paid as title sponsor.

“It’s a lot of money,” he said, "in a good way. It’s good for the community.”


The festival is produced by RIJF LLC, a private company owned by co-producers Marc Iacona and John Nugent.

click to enlarge Marc Iacona, Rochester International Jazz Festival executive director, talks about the 27 free shows that will be held at Parcel 5 during the 2022 festival at an announcement at the Theater at Innovation Square on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. - MAX SCHULTE/WXXI NEWS
  • Max Schulte/WXXI News
  • Marc Iacona, Rochester International Jazz Festival executive director, talks about the 27 free shows that will be held at Parcel 5 during the 2022 festival at an announcement at the Theater at Innovation Square on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
In a provided statement, Iacona described CGI as “a great partner” while adding: "We are fortunate to have multiple organizations interested in the title sponsorship and we will announce that exciting news when it is finalized.”

Finding a title sponsor is no simple task.

“I don’t want to say it’s difficult, but it is challenging,” said music promoter Jeff Springut, speaking generally about the industry.

Springut has been in the business for more than a half century. Known best for the legendary Red Creek Inn music club he operated in Henrietta, Springut also formerly produced the Park Avenue and Lilac festivals. He still runs Party in the Park and produces the summer concert series at the Perinton Amphitheatre and concerts at the Theater at Innovation Square.

“It does run in cycles,” Springut said of companies wanting to sign up as sponsors, but also move on. “The dollars are out there ... It’s all about finding that fit.”

When Bartosiewicz first signed on as title sponsor, he said he wanted to “showcase as a company that we are privileged to be in the downtown of Rochester,” and that being a title sponsor was a way of giving back.

The company’s 265 downtown employees now are mostly remote, and have been since the pandemic.  Bartosiewicz thinks his company name is now better known, thanks in part to its involvement with the festival — he said both he and CGI would find a way to continue supporting the festival going forward. rochesterjazz.com

Brian Sharp is the investigations and enterprise editor for WXXI News. He can be reached at [email protected].
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