County lawmakers consider $125,000 for Syracuse Jazz Fest, which would match city grant
Syracuse, NY — Onondaga County lawmakers next week will consider spending $125,000 to support the return of the Syracuse Jazz Fest to downtown Clinton Square this summer for the first time in more than two decades. The proposed grant will be considered by the Legislature Ways and Means Committee on February 22.
If the county approves the grant, it would be equal to the funding approved earlier this month by the Syracuse Common Council. The full legislature could vote on the appropriation at its March 1 meeting.
Jazz Fest promoter Frank Malfitano has been scrambling to raise at least $500,000 in public and private funds to bring back the big music festival, which was last held in 2017. If the money rolls meets, he plans to hold the event in Clinton Square, where it last took place in 2000. Most recently, Jazz Fest was held at Onondaga Community College.
Malfitano said he is working to attract corporate donations and is waiting to hear if the state will contribute funding. He said a county grant would provide a critical boost.
“It would really help us get to the point where we can say Jazz Fest is happening this summer,” he said.
City officials will use federal stimulus money to subsidize the festival. County officials are proposing to use money from the hotel room occupancy tax, which supports tourism.
Last time it was in Clinton Square, the Syracuse Jazz Fest drew crowds of up to 35,000 downtown to hear Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Dave Brubeck and other major artists.
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