Jazz Fest founder discusses festival's history in celebration of 35 years: The Conversation

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Local jazz fans have their calendars circled for next weekend, where the Jazz Fest makes its way to Central New York for the 35th year.

Carrie Lazarus sits down with Frank Malfitano, the man who has been bringing world class jazz to Central New York for three decades. 

“I couldn't possibly envision myself in that scenario,” Malfitano said when asked if he thought he would be doing this 30 years ago. “I didn't have that dream in the beginning. I just selfishly got tired of going to festivals in Detroit and Newport, Rhode Island and Woodstock and I foolishly thought we can do this in Syracuse, not knowing what it entailed and didn't have a clue.”

After he visited a jazz club downtown, the rest was history.

Greats like Ray Charles, Nathalie Cole, Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin have all taken the stage at the Jazz Fest.

“To be able to present these giants free of charge at our festival, it's a big deal for a little kid like me from Eastwood,” Malfitano said.

The Jazz Fest runs from Thursday, June 8 and runs through Saturday, June 10.

For more information on entertainment and parking, click here. 

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