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Blues Traveler, tribute bands fill Lilac Fest schedule

Blues Traveler
Provided by Blues Traveler
Blues Traveler

The veteran blues jammers Blues Traveler, the British jazz-funk fusion of the New Mastersounds and the soulful Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears headline the 10 days of the Lilac Festival, running May 8 through 17 at Rochester’s Highland Park.

The Devil Makes Three, an Americana trio from California, plays opening night at the 122nd edition of the annual festival, joined by Miami’s Amigo the Devil.

The rest of the fest:

  • Rochester’s Zac Brown Tribute Band plays two sets, May 9.
  • The New Mastersounds, with Josh Hoyer and the Soul Colossal, May 10.
  • Rochester’s reggae-rock band, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, joined by Street Pharmacy, May 11.
  • Blues Traveler with The Medicinals, May 12.
  • The Record Company with The National Reserve, May 13.
  • Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, with Kat Wright, May 14.
  • The Allman Brothers Band tribute Blue Sky Brothers, with Root Shock, May 15.
  • Mingo Fishtrap with Eli “Paperboy” Reed, May 16.
  • The Phish tribute The Lizards, with Rochester’s Mikaela Davis Band and Rochester’s Dave Matthews Band tribute, Big-Eyed Phish, May 17.

The festival is free, as is the music, although the festival will once again offer the VIP Ultra Lounge ($40), which includes front-stage access, an in-tent and outdoor lounge area, one free drink and a full private cash bar, private climate-controlled restrooms, a commemorative lanyard, a chair massage and snacks. Also available is the Recipe 21 High Spot Party Deck ($15), with a tented full bar and private, climate-controlled restrooms.
The May 9 Lilac Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. on South Avenue at Science Parkway and winds its way to South Avenue and Goodman Street. The Great DuBois, a two-person circus show, is at 6:45 pm. May 13, with an admission of $18. The 5K and 10K runs are May 17. The Lilac Festival also features an art festival on the weekends, and beer and wine tastings.

The festival is open from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. each day. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at

For more on the festival, go to

Jeff Spevak is WXXI’s Arts & Life editor and reporter. He can be reached at

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle.