Lilac Festival ready to go with new name, management

07:35 PM, Apr 09, 2013

The new poster celebrating the Rochester Lilac Festival was unveiled today during a press conference held at Olmsted Lodge in Rochester on April 9, 2012 announcing the dates and changes to the Rochester Lilac Festival. (TINA YEE/Staff photographer)/

Written By Jeff Spevak | Staff writer

Changes had been hinted at, but the 115-year-old, brand new Rochester Lilac Festival smells quite a bit like the old one.

There’s the name change: They’ve added Rochester to the title of the May 10-19 event in Highland Park.

And there’s the “less carnival” and “family-friendly kickoff to spring” aspects that Larry Staub, director of Monroe County Parks, said the city had requested. New producer Jeff Springut said that’s just what it’ll be, while adding one qualifier: “It’s a big ship to turn around in a short period of time.”

Likewise, the music announced at Tuesday’s late-morning press conference is the familiar Lilac Fest formula. Afternoons filled with a wide range of local bands, leading up to headliners both intriguing — The Lone Bellow — and acts that Highland Park designer Frederick Law Olmstead himself might have seen: The Marshall Tucker Band, Eddie Money and The Spin Doctors.

The music headliners, with all shows free:

• Local party band The Skycoasters, 7 p.m. May 10.

• The Spin Doctors, an ancient form of hippie-groove band (with the early ’90s hit “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” 7 p.m. May 11.

• Eddie Money, “Two Tickets to Paradise” hitmaker, 7 p.m May 12.

The English Beat, pop-ska band of the early 1980s, now resurrected, 7 p.m. May 13.

• The acclaimed roots-rock Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express, 7 p.m. May 14.

• Southern rockers The Marshall Tucker Band (having undergone serious revisions since the early ’70s, with four band members having passed away), 7 p.m. May 15.

• Pittsburgh’s world-music jam veterans, Rusted Root, 7 p.m. May 16.

• The ’80s pop band The Smithereens (with hits such as “Blood and Roses” and “Behind the Wall of Sleep”), 7 p.m. May 17.

• Dark, Brooklyn Americana band The Lone Bellow, 7:30 p.m. CQMay 18.

• Two of Rochester’s premier bands, Prime Time Funk and The Campbell Brothers, 7 p.m. May 19, playing “Remembering Ralph,” a benefit for the music program named for Prime Time Funk’s late bassist, Ralph Ortiz.

West Webster volunteer firefighters Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino will be the grand marshals of the 10:30 a.m. May 11 parade. The two were injured during the Christmas Eve ambush that took the lives of two of their fellow firefighters.

This year’s festival will add mini rides to the bounce attractions in the kids area, three nights of wine and chocolate tasting, a local craft beer garden and demonstration stages where festival goers can learn skills from gardening tips to woodworking. There will be an app for your phone, available on the event’s first day, that will allow runners and walkers to track their times and send texts during the May 19 Lilac 10K and Family 5 K runs.

The juried arts and crafts show will feature the work of 130 artists from 10 states.

In case of inclement weather, Springut said no definite plan is in place, but both the Main Street Armory and Water Street Music Hall would likely have open dates to accommodate shows. “The bands that are coming are getting paid,” he said. “So they’ll play some place.”