Fairport Music Festival sees great opening night after 1-year break

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FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WHEC) — Live music once again filled the streets Friday night for the kick-off of this weekend’s Fairport Music Festival.

Thousands are expected to attend the annual music fest which benefits the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Last year the pandemic put the festival on pause, but now the music is back on track, and festival-goers returned for some good old rock and roll.

Opening night for the 2021 Fairport Music Festival got off to a great start: Six stages, 40 bands, and two days of live music.

"We’ve got music. I’m running into people I haven’t seen in a couple years in some cases. It’s just great. It’s gonna really be a good weekend," said Fairport resident Jim Franklin.

Stage Manager Bill Houston says the crowd may be slightly smaller this year since it wasn’t heavily promoted, but big enough for a great return after a one-year break.

"People can spread out a little bit. They’re not sitting on top of each other," Houston said.

Friday afternoon the Monroe County Health Department reported that there were 221 new COVID-19 cases. For months the festival was on the brink of being canceled before organizers decided to go ahead with it. Houston says there are no attendance regulations even as cases of the delta variant continue to grow.

"[It’s an] open-air environment here. All of our volunteers are all vaccinated. We feel comfortable with our situation. Hand sanitizer, people can be with their options to wear masks, or not," Houston said.

The festival which has raised more than $1.8 million to date, donates specifically to the Golisano Children’s Hospital. For the past several months organizers of the festival hosted pop-up events, just to keep the music going.

"The musicians loved it cause they were the ones who were hurting. you couldn’t play indoors. They weren’t making any money, not that they were making much money with us because everything we did was for the hospital," Houston said.

Ice Cream Factory Owner Tracy Paladino added, "It’s been a part of this community for so long, and it’s just so much fun to see the best of the best, and you see a lot of local artists, and it’s perfect."

The Fairport Music Festival first got its start back in 2005. Click here for more information about it.