by Matt Bauer
The Rochester Summer Soul Music Festival will be celebrating its re-birth as well as its 25th anniversary when the celebrated event returns to the Roc’s Frontier Field on August 27 and 28.
“We re-named the Rochester Music Festival The Rochester Summer Soul Music Festival for a reason,” explained promoter Varick Baiyina of Experience Events, LLC who is handling the event for the third consecutive year. “We wanted it to represent the soul of Rochester which is everyone, so as we evolve the event we want to bring in different audiences and multi-cultural acts. That’s our mission.”
With that objective, Baiyina acknowledged the universal appeal of headliners Boyz II Men as a major factor in their appearance on the Stone Soul Saturday Concert. “They’re a good cross over group that everyone can come out and enjoy and have a great time. We wanted someone that resonated with multiple generations and races, as well.”
The festival kicks off Friday, August 27, with the Roc Summer Soul Tailgate, in the Frontier Field VIP lot at 5 PM. Hosted by Ruff Ryders, it will be a tribute to DMX–who was to have hosted last year’s Tailgate before his untimely death.
The evening will also be dedicated to Rochester’s finest DJ’s, with a reward in store for the top seven. Saturday opens with a free community block party at 10 AM, featuring exclusively local talent before the gates open for the Saturday concert at 4 PM. Besides the multi-Grammy Award wining Boyz II Men, the stellar line-up also includes Rochester’s own Tweet, Go-Go legends Sugar Bear & EU and The Hip Hop Alumni featuring Chubb Rock, Monie Love, Dana Dane, Kwame, Special Ed, Carpe Diem, and Danell Daymon among other surprise performers.
While the pandemic initially made the prospect of this year’s festival shaky, Baiyina said he was grateful for the many sponsors who’ve stepped up. “We didn’t know
if we’d have enough people to sustain the event and make it profitable but we’re going to be able to put on a great show.”
Go to rocsummersoulfest.com for tickets and show info