Lilac Festival to announce musical headliners today

Lilac Festival

Cory Wong of Vulfpeck plays in front of the crowd at the 2019 Lilac Festival. (News 8 WROC Photo/Matt Driffill)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — At 4 p.m. Wednesday, organizers of the Rochester Lilac Festival will announce the musical headliners for this year’s event.

Organizers previously announced that Blues Traveler will be one of the performers. The American rock band will headline a day of music on Tuesday, May 12. 

The festival continues upon its longstanding tradition of booking both prominent national performers as well as local rising stars — a big reason why the 10-day free festival (the largest of its kind in the country) attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually from across the state and beyond.

MORE | Lilac Festival named in ‘Top 10 Flower Festivals’ list by Oprah Magazine

As always, admission to the Lilac Festival is free, but there are VIP options available, as well as ticket-required shows in the festival’s special events-tent.

VIP options include the Party Deck and the VIP ULTRA Lounge. The Party Deck costs $15 per person, per day, and offcers full cash bar that includes beer, wine and liquor. I tlaos offers a nice view of the stage and festival grounds high above the crowd,a s well as private, upgraded bathrooms.

The VIP Ultra Deck costs $40 per person, per day and offers a lounge area both in front of and behind the stage, private tent, complimentary drink voucher, complimentary chair massages, food and treats from Trader Joe’s, private, updated bathrooms, and a commemorative lanyard. Both the Party Deck and the VIP ULTRA Lounger are for those 21 years or older. Both VIP options have a $5 increase at the door for day-of purchases. Tickets will be available online, with pre-sale tickets for  Rochester Events Fan Club members.

For special ticketed events, the Wine Tasting Expo and Craft Beer Expo will each make a return to Lilac, on consecutive Saturdays. The Wine Tasting Expo will take Place Saturday, May 9 with two sessions — 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Craft Beer Expo will take place the following Saturday, May 16, with the same time schedule.

New to Lilac this year — fresh, family-friendly attraction for the event. The Great DeUbois, a circus show for all ages, will be at Highland Park for the festivities on Wednesday, May 13. The duo is known for the Tony Award-winning “pippin” on Broadway and have appeared on several late-night talk shows and concert tours with their juggling, hula hoops, unicycles, aerial skills, circus stunts, contortion, magic, and more. This show will take place Wednesday, May 13 at 6:45 p.m. It’s general admission seating and tickets for all three special events are available online.

Other Lilac events to look forward to include:

Saturday, May 9 — Garden Battles

Local television and radio personalities put their landscaping skills to the fest in Garden Battles — a fast-paced event inspired by reality based competitions like Chopped and Iron Chef. Media teams work with identical plant and hardscape materials to create 15’x’15’ gardens, aided by Master Gardeners from the Cornell Cooperative Extension. The competition starts at 1 p.m. and the winning team will make a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice with $500 going to the runner up’s charity of choice.

Representing News 8 WROC in this year’s Garden Battles will be Kayla Green and James Gilbert.

Saturday, May 9 — Lilac Parade

Although the festival officially starts the day before, the full festival feeling goes into effect Saturday at 10:30 a.m. where more than 2,500 participants will march in the Lilac Parade. The parade will feature 20 marching bands, dancers, costumed characters, popular Damascus mini cars and a whole lot more.

Sunday May 17 — Lilac Run and Dunkin’ Dash

A 5K and a 10K for the runners of Rochester, but if that’s too long for you, there’s also the 1-mile Dunkin’ Dash, which is for all ages, and includes a Munchkin pit stop halfway through. All proceeds benefit Willow Domestic Violence Center.

Both weekends — Art in the Park

Reservoir drive becomes a crafter’s paradise for both festival weekends. Art shows commence on Saturday May 9, Sunday May 10, Saturday May 16, and Sunday May 17 for some of the very best in local art. Just a few minute walk from the main festival grounds, and adjacent to the lilac gardens, this setup is perfect for anyone who wants to kick off Rochester’s rich summer art scene. There’s also a juried show which features original work from 120 artists using mediums of jewelry, clothing, ceramics, paintings, soaps, woodwork, and more.

For more on Lilac Festival events and entertainers, visit this website.

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