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Boyz II Men to headline Rochester Summer Soul Music Festival

Gate 1 at Frontier Field in June 2020
James Brown
WXXI News file photo
Gate 1 at Frontier Field in June 2020

The Rochester Summer Soul Music Festival at Frontier Field is back on this year, with 1990s R&B icons Boyz II Men serving as the headlining act.

The festival is set to take place Friday, Aug. 27, and Saturday, Aug. 28, and will feature a free community block party on Saturday leading up to Boyz II Men's performance.

Rochester native Charlene Keys, better known as Tweet, and go-go group EU and dancehall artist Sugar Bear will also perform at the festival.

The Rochester Summer Soul Music Festival will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, although it's technically been 26 years since the start of the festival. Summer Soul began in 1995 as the Rochester Music Festival, but was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I remember attending the Rochester Music Fest at Brown Square and Genesee Valley Park, jamming to Mary J. Blige and doing the wop and the cabbage patch and all of those great things," said Mayor Lovely Warren in a news conference Tuesday. "We wanted to make sure the legacy remains a part of Rochester history."

Warren said this year's festival is meant to pay homage to former Mayor William Johnson and Loretta Scott, outgoing City Council president and former commissioner of the Department of Recreation and Human Services. Warren credits Scott and Johnson with making the music festival a part of Rochester culture.

"(Johnson) sent me to New Orleans and also talked about the other festivals he attended, which he did regularly," Scott said. "He had something in his mind, in his vision."

Tickets for Rochester Summer Soul range from $15 for a Friday night tailgating event to $129 for two-day VIP tickets. They can be purchased at

"No violence, dry record, happy people," Johnson said. "That's the record (the city) is going to continue."

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or