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Nick's Picks: Xerox International Jazz Festival

With nineteen stages, more than 1500 artists, and more than 200,000 people in attendance, it should come as no surprise that my pick of the week is the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, which began Friday, June 23 and will end Saturday, July 1.

This summer’s Jazz Fest has featured exactly what’s made this event such a popular destination for Rochesterians every summer since 2002: world-class live performances, an array of delicious food and drinks, semi-cooperative weather, and an atmosphere where vibes are high and familiar faces are plentiful.

Festival-goers enjoy free and paid concerts at indoor and outdoor venues from the likes of Joss Stone, Monty Alexander, George Cables, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, and many more. Local high school bands have also been able to show their stuff, playing earlier shows throughout the week.

Navigating your way through Jazz Fest, your senses will be assaulted—in a good way. Perhaps even more powerful than the beautiful sounds emitted from stages throughout the festival are the potent aromas from food trucks, booths, and carts that call Jazz Fest home during this nine-day span. Abbott’s, Macarollin’, Marty’s Meats, the Meatball Truck Co., Tom Wahl’s, and Red Osier, to name just a few, serve customers spectacular food to go along with the spectacular music. Java’s Café and Victoire Belgian Beer Bar and Bistro also operate within the confines of Jazz Fest.

One of the stars of the Jazz Fest food scene is Le Petit Poutine. Freshly cut potatoes fried in peanut oil and dressed with thyme; rich, succulent beef gravy; and springy cheese curds are the base ingredients for the menu at the food truck, which boasts one of the longest lines every night. It offers traditional, vegetarian, bacon, pulled pork, and breakfast poutine options.

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival’s electric, fun-filled atmosphere sucks you in as soon as you set foot on festival grounds. Acts like Tessa Souter, Down North, the Eric Krasno Band, Benny Green, and the Hooligans will keep the party going for the last two days of Jazz Fest. Find the schedule and more info at

Follow Nick’s Picks on Twitter at @NicksPicks585.

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