Spring is just a few weeks away, and some flowers, nice weather, and live music would be a welcome sight for most — so cue the Lilac Fest!
Lilac Festival organizers announced the headliners and special guests Tuesday for the 121st annual event which will run from May 10-19:
May 10 — Yonder Mountain String Band
May 11 — The New Mastersounds, and Willie Nile
May 12 — Big Something, and Kat Wright
May 13 — BB King's Blues Band featuring Michael Lee of NBC's The Voice, and Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People
May 14 — Julian Marley
May 15 — Lee Rocker of The Stray Cats, and Eli "Paperboy" Reed
May 16 — Maceo Parker, and Cory Wong from Vulfpeck
May 17 — Classic Albums Live Presents Led Zeppelin II
May 18 — Zac Brown Tribute Band
May 19 — The Lizards (a Phish tribute band), Big Eyed Phish (Dave Matthews tribute Band), The Blind Owl Band, and Alyssa Trahan
You may notice this list doesn't include Rusted Root, who have graced the Sahlen's Center Stage at the Lilac Festival for six consecutive years (though last year's performance was Rusted Root frontman Michael Glabicki featuring the band "Uprooted"). However, this is just the initial list of performers; the complete lineup will feature 70 acts in total with performances starting early in the day and continuing until after sunset throughout the 10-day event.
The festival continues upon its tradition of booking both prominent national performers as well as local rising stars — a big reason why the 9-day free festival (the largest of its kind in the country) attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually from across the state and beyond.
“The Rochester Lilac Festival is known for bringing talented performers to Rochester right before, and in some cases, right as they’re stepping into the big-leagues,” said festival producer Jeff Springut in a press release. “Visitors come from all over to see their favorites and to experience up-and-comers at the festival because you just can’t beat a free outdoor show surrounded by Rochester’s treasured and fragrant lilac collection.”
As always, admission to the Lilac Festival is free, but there are VIP options available. Tickets are available for the Recipe 21 VIP Ultra Lounge, a reserved area first introduced last year, which offers festivalgoers an up close viewing experience. Benefits of the VIP lounge include front stage access, in-tent and outdoor lounge area, full private cash bar (with beer, wine, and spirits), private air-conditioned restrooms, commemorative landyards, complimentary chair massage, one free drink and food available for puchase in the tent. In addition, the festival is adding a new ticketed experence for fun in the sun. It's called "The Party Deck" and comes complete with a tented full bar and private restrooms.
A limited number of tickets are available for both the Recipe 21 VIP Ultra Lounge and the Party Deck. Tickets go on sale March 7 at 10 a.m. with pre-sale tickets available March 6 at 10 a.m. for Rochester Events Fan Club members.
The fesitval is a family-friendly event, and for the kids, there will be appearances by Arthur, of PBS Kids, on May 13 and 14.
The Rochester Lilac Festival is one of our city's premier events, and the unofficial start of the festival season in the Flower City — so let the countdown to summer begin!