Update: Rochester’s Lilac Festival Full Lineup Released

Update 4/6/2016:

The full lineup for Rochester’s Lilac Festival has been released and includes some big names. In addition to the previously reported headliners, Keb’ Mo’ has been added to headline May 11. Kim Wilson of Heart will team up with the Fabulous Thunderbirds on May 13. On May 14, attendees will be treated to a set from the Adam Ezra Group followed by Led Zeppelin tribute act Get the Led Out. Gedeon Luke and the People will play two evenings of the festival on May 12 prior to Rusted Root and on May 13 just before the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

On opening day, May 6, Rochester City School District’s School of the Arts, a school dedicated to the fine arts, will feature performances by their student groups throughout the day.

Original Post:

The initial headliners for the 2016 Lilac Festival in Rochester have been announced and will not disappoint.


The Lilac Festival, now in its 118th year, is a free event held in Highland Park May 6 to 15 celebrating the blooming lilacs throughout the park. The festival, which sees about 500,000 attendees throughout its 10 days, showcases a myriad of local food and craft vendors. The highlight of the festival for many is the free music, and this year has some great shows in store. Seven of the headlining acts have been announced and span several genres.

Saturday, May 7 will see the Sheepdogs from Canada playing their good time rock ‘n’ roll. Their album Learn & Burn was certified platinum and contains the rock radio staple “I Don’t Know.” NRBQ and surf rockers Los Straight Jackets share the stage on May 8. NRBQ, known for their hits “Ridin’ in My Car” and “Me and the Boys,” have been around since the last ’60s playing their jazz, rockabilly and americana influenced rock for over four decades. Los Straight Jackets have been delighting audiences with their Dick Dale-style surf rock and are known for wearing Mexican wrestling masks while performing.

The Celtic stylings of Gaelic Storm take the stage on May 9, with their modern take on traditional Irish music. New York’s own Matisyahu brings his Jewish reggae-infused hip hop on May 10. He’s best known for his song “King Without a Crown.” On May 11, singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell performs with her band. She will likely play songs off her upcoming album Sundown Over Ghost Town, due out May 26.

Returning to the Lilac Festival will be Rusted Root, who played last year. They’ll take the stage with their drum-driven fusion of acoustic, world and afro-beat on May 11, and they’re sure to have the whole crowd dancing along.

Those on the fence about the Lilac Festival can read our review from last year. As one of the largest events of its type, Rochester really shines during the 10 days.

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