ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A summer tradition in Rochester returns this year with the Party in the Park concert series. Party in the Park is known for booking national touring acts as well as regional rising stars to entertain crowds at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Rochester. The $5 concerts happen every Thursday from June 7 to August 2.
This year's lineup is as diverse as it is stellar. After seeing a plethora of top-notch bluegrass/Americana bands at this year's Lilac Festival, Party in the Park follows it up with a lineup that features talent from funk, jam, reggae, soul, rock, folk and much more. From tribute bands to originals, this lineup has a lot to offer, and like Lilac, there's a little something for everyone. These are the top five shows we recommend for Party in the Parkgoers:
5) Get The Led Out — "The American Led Zeppelin," as dubbed by media and critics alike, return to Rochester this summer. These classic rockers are not strangers to Party in the Park, playing sets almost annually for the past few years. No wigs or fake English accents with this tribute band — instead Get the Led Out focuses on the sound, and the honest, heart-thumping intensity from the catalog of one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands of all time. They take the stage Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m.
4) The Original Wailers — This timeless reggae band continues the legacy of Bob Marley's music, but also deliver their own tone creations (for which they received a Grammy nomination in 2013 for their album "Miracle"). Al Anderson, best known for his guitar work on Bob Marley classics, leads this band with soul and dedication. Whether it's Three Little Birds, Exodus, No Woman No Cry, or even something you may have not heard before, their smooth reggae sounds are a perfect fit for summer nights in downtown Rochester. They take the stage Thursday, July 19 at 7 p.m.
3) Turkuaz — This 9-piece "powerfunk" outfit from Brookyln packs a funk punch! They headlined at last year's Lilac Festival (we had them as our No. 1 show for the whole event) and return to Rochester this summer, with a playful feel that evokes the best of 80s dance music, but with a modern touch. They blend elements of Motown with bands' sounds like the Talking Heads, and their constant touring from coast-to-coast has garnered them a significant following. Driven by crafty, but powerhouse horn sections, four different vocalists and a toe-tap-worthy rhythm section, concertgoers will be dancing non-stop when Turkuaz is on. They take the stage Thursday, June 7 at 7 p.m.
2) Anders Osborne — "Fiery anthems and tumultuous confessional songs punctuated with a raw, inspired guitar," raved USA Today about Anders Osborne. He's been described as "the poet laureate of Louisiana's fertile roots music scene." Since his recording debut in 1989, Osborne has written virtually all of his own material as well as contributing on memorable songs for a number of prominent artists. His following has only grown since his early days, as he tours non-stop, either with his own band, as a solo artist or as a guest with his many musical admireers. We think when you see this artist, you'll become one of those admirers as well. He takes the stage Thursday, June 14 at 7 p.m.
1) Pigeons Playing Ping Pong — From opener to headliner; Pigeons played last year's Party in the Park in support of the main act, The Los Lonely Boys. They showed Rochester they belong with the big time and the city has brought them back for a headlining set that will surely dazzle, deliver and definitely not disappoint. Based out of Baltimore, this animated quartet has been wow-ing fans all over the country with explosive performances and non-stop engery. Ping pong balls will fly through the crowd as their electric-funk grooves for the motion of their fans, or their "flock," as they're called. There's a reason they went from opener to headliner in just one year, and why they're at the top of our list. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong take the stage Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m.
Like year's past, Party in the Park will host a number of rotating food trucks and beverage trucks as well. General admission prices for the event is $5, but new this year are VIP tickets available for $35. VIP offers admission to the event, access to VIP Experience Tent, front stage access, lounge area, private cash bar, private restrooms, table service, food for purchase in the VIP tent and a commemorative lanyard.
Concertgoers can park their cars in the underground garage on Chestnut Street right next to the venue. Additional parking spaces can be found at nearby downtown garages: The Washington Square Garage, Court Street Garage and East End Garage. There's also limited street parking. Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers can also drop passengers off right at the gate.
Before heading out, check our local weather forecast to see if you need sunglasses, or an umbrella.
Full Party in the Park lineup:
Thursday, June 7 — Turkuaz (7 p.m.)
Thursday, June 14 — Parsonfield (5 p.m.) & Anders Osborne (7 p.m.)
Thursday, June 21 — Get the Led Out (7 p.m.)
Thursday, June 28 — Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (7 p.m.)
Thursday, July 5 — Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad (7 p.m.)
Thursday, July 12 — Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express (5 p.m.) & G-Love and Special Sauce (7 p.m.)
Thursday, July 19 — Ginkgoa (5 p.m.) & The Original Wailers (7 p.m.)
Thursday, July 26 — Devon Allman Project with special guest Duane Betts (7 p.m.)
Thursday, August 2 — Almost Queen (7 p.m.)
Check back with Spectrum News as we'll update this page with any lineup additions or changes, as well as supporting opening acts who perform in the park's lower fountain bowl.