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Outdoor concerts: coming soon to a park near you

Outdoor concerts: coming soon to a park near you

Riverside Concerts, the city’s music department, is introducing a new series aimed at bringing outdoor concerts to each of Rochester’s six wards.

The forWARD Neighborhood Park Concerts will debut on July 3 in Ward 5’s Cooke Park with the folk rock band Delta Rae. The event will be followed by two other concerts, one in Lincolnshire Park (Ward 3) on August 21 and then another at Withers Sports Complex (Ward 2) on August 28.

Steven Schmidt, general manager of Riverside Concerts, told the Rochester City Council on Monday that the plan is to then host concerts in Wards 1, 4 and 6 in 2020 — before expanding the program to all wards in 2021.

“If we can generate the funding to support it, we would hope to do 12 of these concerts in the summer, two in each municipal ward,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt said his department, which is best known for the popular Down by the Riverside concert series, has been working with the Rochester Music Board for the past year and a half to recaliberate its programming. The goal, he said, is to improve outreach in neighborhoods outside of downtown.

“Think of [the forWARD series] as Down by the Riverside lite,” said Schmidt.

Related: The Revolution to headline 2019 Riverside finale

Each neighborhood concert will feature an opener, in most cases a local artist, along with a regionally or nationally known headliner. There will also be opportunities for food trucks and games from Parks and Rec.

In addition to the new concert series, Schmidt said the music department is also expanding its partnerships to support summer events like Rochesterfest and the Salute to the 4th celebration.

Unlike in previous years, there will not be a 4th of July performance from the city’s concert band, which has been put on hiatus for the year. Instead, Riverside Concerts will partner with The Commission, the organizers of Salute to the 4th, to bring in a nationally known Tom Petty tribute group known as Petty Fever. The band, Schmidt said, will play the classic song, “American Girl,” prior to the fireworks going off.

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