Full Lilac Festival calendar will be released Tuesday afternoon

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The 125th annual Lilac Festival begins May 12. Highland Park will be full of live music, food, vendors, and people smelling the fully bloomed lilacs until May 21.

Organizers on Tuesday afternoon will announce their plans to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Rochester tradition. They will also announce the full calendar for the festival including a list of food vendors.

The festival usually draws around half a million visitors. Here is what we know about the schedule so far:

  • May 12 – Opening Ceremonies, 125th Anniversary Celebration
  • May 12, 15, 16, 17, & 18 – Lunch Specials
  • May 13, 14, 20 & 21 – Art in the Park
  • May 13 – Wine Tasting Expo & Lilac Parade
  • May 14 – Craft Beer Expo
  • May 17 – Seniors’ Day
  • May 20 & 21 – 2nd Annual Health & Wellness Experience presented by Evans Bank
  • May 21 – Lilac 10k, 5k and Donut Dash presented by the Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester

This year’s festival will run for ten days in a row instead of three weekends in a row as it did for 2021 and 2022. There will be over 120 musical performances from local and national acts.

“A lot of people don’t realize the wealth and depth and breadth of good talent there is here in Rochester,” Lilac Festival Producer Jeff Springut said. “And a lot of these bands, as I’ve mentioned, are breaking out of Rochester and playing around the country.”

Having a lot of local bands is important for the organization, but local doesn’t mean the same music taste.

“The headliners, I guess the overall flavor of this year’s headliners and festival is variety,” Springut said.

Springut wants to bring as much variety as possible and some of that involves going outside of our area to find it.

“I preview a lot of bands, I listen to other promoters tell me who they like that are new and upcoming because a lot of the time we don’t have the budgets to present the really popular national acts, so we look to discover bands that are looking for exposure,” Springut said.

Springut says he has gone from New York to Nashville to Dallas to find some of these bands. The lineup will have music all the way from 50s and 60s oldies to New Orleans R&B.

“I got to tell you, one of the things I love about Rochester, I love about Monroe County is we’re a festival town,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said.

Headliners like the local Zac Brown Tribute Band, Mikaela Davis and The Record Company from Los Angeles will be joining the 10-day free festival that over 500,000 people attend every year.

Here is the lineup for the headliners. You can learn more about the acts here.

  • Special Guest (TBA) – May 12
  • Zac Brown Tribute Band – May 13
  • The Iguanas, The Seven Wonders – May 14
  • Mikaela Davis – May 15
  • The Sam Grisman Project – May 16
  • Blue Sky Brothers – May 17
  • Almost Queen – May 18
  • The FOUNDERS of Roomful of Blues,
  • The Record Company – May 19
  • Shamarr Allen, Big Eyed Phish – May 20
  • Into the Now – May 21

Here is the lineup for supporting talent:

  • Sneezy, Personal Blend – May 12
  • MoChester, Shine – May 13
  • Sofrito, BB Dang – May 14
  • Big Blue House, Public Water Supply – May 15
  • Organ Fairchild, Digglers Bridge – May 16
  • Inside Out, Root Shock – May 17
  • Mothership, Stunt Double – May 18
  • Steve Grills & The Roadmasters– May 19
  • Hello City, The Medicinals – May 20
  • Head to the Roots, Vintage Pistol, Judah, Workingman’s Dead – May 21

The festival first started in 1898, in sync with the blooming of the most extensive collection of lilacs in the Northeast. It’s hosted by Monroe County, the City of Rochester, and Visit Rochester. Vendor registration is now open online.