31st annual Jazz Fest returning to Jamesville Beach for July 4th

Central New York will be swinging to the sweet sounds of jazz music this 4th of July, as the 31st annual Jazz Fest comes to Jamesville Beach.

Neighbors have been wondering if the event is still on, and organizers say the stage is set, with a few new changes to better play to music fans in Central New York.

Organizers have decided to move the timing of the fireworks display up to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 4th, right before the Doobie Brothers take the stage. The hope is that families and those with young kids do not get restless and tired waiting until 11 p.m., or later, for the festivities to conclude.

Also new this year, The Onondaga County Parks Department will open the beach for swimming at 11 a.m. all days. That way, families can come early, and enjoy the entire park and the whole event.

There will also be additional parking for guests.

One thing that will not change is the price of the event -- it's free.

Executive Producer Frank Malfitano credits the community, the county's efforts, and the festival's 40 to 50 sponsors for consistently making this possible in a world where so many arts organizations and cultural institutions' festivals are struggling. He says he is extremely grateful for the support.

"You see operas and orchestras coming and going, and going under. You see festivals going under. It's really become Darwinian, survival of the fittest out here," Malfitano says. "Our goal is to put on the best possible cultural event we can, and these people help support it."

"We do not want to charge admission for this festival. We will not charge admission to this festival. If that day comes, I'm gone. We want to thank all of them for doing this to keep it free."

Jazz Fest is scheduled for July 4 through July 6 at Jamesville Beach.

A few new acts have been added to the line-up, set to take the Verizon Main Stage over the course of the three days. Malfitano says of the 17 scheduled acts, 15 are jazz-related. He says the goal is to find artists that will best connect with the audience. Soul, and hip-hop artists with jazz flavors are good ingredients to satisfy Central New Yorkers.

Pop-singer Taylor Dayne is billed as the headliner, set to perform Saturday night, July 6th at 9:30 p.m.

The Doobie Brothers, Bruebeck Brothers, The Yellow Jackets, and the Grandmothers of Intervention are other highlights.

Five local high school jazz ensembles will also perform.

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