ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s that time of year again in Rochester. That special time when spring is in bloom at Highland Park and thousands plan their ascent for the great sights, sounds and smells of the Lilac Festival.
The festival kicks off Friday May 12 and festival organizers have more than 50 free concerts scheduled for the 10-day festival, with plenty of both local and out-of-town talent coming to the Flower City. While there is something for everyone as far as genres go, these are shows you can’t miss if you’re a music fan:
#5 Lettuce, Tuesday May 16, 7 p.m. – “Let us” get to the point, this band rocks! The festival-friendly funk band is familiar to most music fans in the area, especially to those who came out for the awesome set they played last year at Party in the Park.
#4 Get the Led Out, Saturday May 13, 5:30 p.m. – It might not be Plant and Page, but it’s still the legendary tunes of Led Zeppelin. This tribute bands pays homage to one of the most widely beloved, commercially successful and critically acclaimed rock bands of all time. They’re familiar to Rochester music fans with local performances in the past few years, and they always leave LedZep fans satisfied.
#3 Rusted Root, Wednesday May 21, 7 p.m.– Is it even really a Lilac Festival if Rusted Root doesn’t perform? The band continues their Rochester tradition with this annual concert. Lilac Fest Pro Tip: Come early, or car pool. The Rusted Root tradition has created a huge fanbase in Rochester and this is annually one of the busiest, most traffic-heavy nights of the festival each year.
#2 Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People, Sunday May 21, 4 p.m. – Among all the local acts performing at Lilac Festival this year, this band might just be the best. Dee Ponder and her crew bring a unique sound that has made them a mainstay in the Rochester music scene for years, but their wings are beginning to stretch far beyond the Flower City.
#1 Turkuaz Sunday May 21, 7 p.m. – A staple on festival lineups throughout the east coast, Turkuaz is a can’t miss indie power funk band. They delighted the crowd last summer at Band on the Bricks at the Rochester Public Market, and they’re bringing their upbeat, dance-friendly tunes to the final night of Lilac Festival.
Honorable Mention: Zack Brown Tribute Band (Saturday May 20, 7 p.m.), Teagan and the Tweeds (Sunday May 14, 4 p.m.), Noble Vibes (Saturday May 13, 4 p.m.), Upward Groove (Friday May 12, 4 p.m.), Skycoasters with Gene Cornish (Sunday May 14, 7 p.m.) and The Medicinals (Sunday May 21, 5 p.m.).