Party in the Park will open with Blues Traveler

11:59 AM, Apr 30, 2013

Dawes will perform July 4 as part of Party in the Park. (SAM JONES)/

Written By Jeff Spevak | Staff music critic

A Fourth of July fireworks and beer-garden party with the roots-rocking band Dawes, a July 11 reggae festival and dates with John Hiatt and Leon Russell highlight the summer schedule for the Windstream Party in the Park, the weekly Thursday events at the Rochester Riverside Festival Site.

There has to be a reason to be downtown,” Mayor Thomas S. Richards said of why the city, which is looking a $24 million budget shortfall, continues to back such events. Richards pointed out that the crowd gathering downtown on Tuesday morning to watch scenes being filmed for the new Spider-Man movie was not activity that the city could regularly count on.

Party in the Park, now in its 17th season, has been ramped up to make the parking lot at Court Street and Exchange Boulevard more appealing, with the emphasis on local products: a stage for local bands, some seating, local beer and a revolving lineup up gourmet food trucks.

Tuesday morning’s Party in the Park announcement in the atrium of the old City Hall building joins the new list of five Friday nights for the Bands on the Bricks series at the Rochester Public Market will feature Donna the Buffalo and Los Lonely Boys.

The Party in the Park lineup, with the shows starting at 5 p.m.:

• Blues rockers Blues Traveler, June 6

• The rock, soul and R&B-infused party band Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, June 13

• Jam band moe., June 20.

• The alt-metal group Puddle of Mudd, June 27.

• Dawes playing a Forth of July fireworks and beer garden party.

• A reggae fest with John Brown’s Body and The Skatalites, July 11.

• The Celtic rockers Great Big Sea, July 18.

• Blues-rock icon Leon Russell, July 25.

• The Pacific Northwest indie folk-pop band The Head and the Heart, Aug. 1.

• Singer-songwriter John Hiatt & the Combo, Aug. 8.

Support acts for each date, to be announced later, will include local bands playing in a separate area featuring local street performers and the work of two or three local artists selected each week by Rochester Contemporary Art Center.

The event has been turned over to a consortium of area promoters that includes Ithaca’s Dan Smalls Presents and Gerard Fisher of Up All Nights. Cat Bauer, formerly booking shows at Water Street Music Hall, and Temple Bar & Grille owner Michael O’Leary, who partnered with Fisher for a few years when Party on the Park was held at the High Falls Festival Site, are also heavily involved.

Admission remains $2, with ages 12 and under free. A “10-Week Party Pass” is available for $15 and allows admittance to an express entry line. Tickets, with service charges, go on sale May 10 at, (800) 745-3000. They’ll also be available at the gate. Chairs, bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and pets will not be allowed on the site, but bleachers will be set up. Seating in a special VIP section will also be available for an additional $3. Patrons will be allowed to bring one sealed bottle of water.

In more outdoor music news, the Bands on the Bricks at the Rochester Public Market headliners are set:

• Ithaca hippie groovers Donna the Buffalo, July 12.

• Texican blues-rockers Los Lonely Boys, July 19.

• Americana roots rockers The Felice Brothers, July 26.

Latin Night, Aug. 2.

• The Led Zeppelin tribute band The Sound Remains the Same, Aug. 9.

For more, check or call (585) 428-6690.