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Free concerts return to Highland Park after 2-year hiatus



Rochester, New York — This year Rochester Lilac Festival is bringing back free concerts with a lineup that’s loaded with talent and variety.

Marking the return of the event’s signature live music concert series for the first time since 2019, festival organizers joined Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, and other local officials Wednesday at Record Archive to announce the 2022 musical lineup headliners.

“We need to continue making Rochester a place known for festivals,” Evans said. “This is such an important festival. I grew up near this festival and this isn’t just an event that put Rochester on the map, but it’s also a great economic opportunity with so many visitors coming to our city.”

2020’s festival was canceled due to COVID-19. The 2021 edition, which was one of the first large-scale events to return in Monroe County since the beginning of the pandemic, included ticketed shows in a special events tent to reduce and control crowd capacity.

“I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back, talking about the Lilac Festival,” Bello said. “This has been two tough years. Everyone here fought hard, but we did so to come back and we are back.”

The 124th annual Lilac Fest at Highland Park will follow the pattern of the 2021 iteration, which featured three consecutive weekends instead of the traditional ten consecutive days. In total, this year’s Center Stage will highlight more than 85 musical sets over the three festival weekends, including nationally renowned acts, local supporting acts, and featured performances from music programs of local schools. There will also be performances by the young musicians that make up Elvio Fernandes’ ROC Star Academy, comprised of 11-to-21-year-old aspiring artists.

“Safely bringing back our beloved free live music concert series is something that we have looked forward to since the start of the pandemic,” said festival organizer Jeff Springut of Rochester Events. “We have a great mix this year of national and local favorites, and we’re excited to see the lawn come alive once again in 2022 while guests enjoy the performances planned by our talented line-up.”