WXXI AM News

Lilac Festival

Lisa Robinson

After a year's hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rochester Lilac Festival will be back this May, but it will be a quite different experience. 

Organizer Jeff Springut said Thursday that social distancing and mask wearing are expected to be enforced for the 123-year-old festival. Those aren’t the only changes coming.


Dates announced for 2021 Lilac Festival

Mar 24, 2021

The Lilac Festival will resume this year, although in a “reimagined” format to comply with state requirements meant to limit the spread of COVID-19, organizers announced Wednesday.

The festival will span three weekends: May 7-9, May 14-16, and May 21-23. It is produced by the Springut Group on behalf of Monroe County, the city of Rochester, and Visit Rochester. Last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

File photo

The Lilac Festival is the latest casualty of closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Provided by 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:

Organizers of Rochester’s Lilac Festival say that they have made the difficult decision to close the festival on Monday due to the rains over the last several days as well as Monday’s forecast.

Festival Producer Jeff Springut has arranged for the evening headliners, The BB King Blues Band featuring Michael Lee of NBC’s The Voice and Danielle Ponder & the Tomorrow People, to perform at Anthology, located at 336 East Ave in Rochester. Doors at 6:30 pm, and the  show begins at 7:30 pm.

Organizers of the Rochester Lilac Festival have announced a dozen headliners and special guests who will be performing free shows at that festival in May.

Festival Producer Jeff Springut  says they include Roomful of Blues, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Third World, and several others. 

“We’ve got some blues, we’ve got a little bit of country, we’ve got some reggae, we’ve got some Dave Matthews, we’ve got a nice variety.”

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Classical 91.5 morning host Brenda Tremblay conducts an interview with the Cary Ratcliff, the new artistic Director of Madrigalia. We then preview the Lilac Festival and the artist that will be part of the festivities.