John Marshall High School senior Dylan Hilliker is all too familiar with the attitude, the barely veiled condescension that teen musicians sometimes encounter. Oh, isn’t that neat, you play the electric guitar.
The fact is, Hilliker says, Rochester is home to a musically vibrant and eclectic teen music scene. And that talent will be on display Sunday, May 15 at the first-ever ROCKchester, a day-long musical festival featuring musicians and bands from Rochester’s high schools.
The event runs from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Wicked Moose Bar & Grill.
“The amount of talent that we have in our lineup is outstanding,” Hilliker said. “Anyone who attends the event will want to stay longer than just the headline band, because you’re really going to get a taste of everything that the teen scene has to offer.”
The popular image of Rochester is as a bipolar metal and country music scene with “really no in-between.” Sunday’s concert will show the depth of that musical in-between, featuring jazz, indie alternative, rap and other genres.
Most of the bands, singer-songwriters and performers are 9th-through-12th graders from Mayo, John Marshall, Century and Lourdes high schools.
“I mean, it’s a very eclectic concert,” Hilliker said.
As a first-time concert promoter, Hilliker was able to secure the sponsorship of 10 area businesses by promoting ROCKchester as offering a glimpse of tomorrow’s arts scene. That future is a “hot topic” lately, he said. With all the uncertainty about how Destination Medical Center will impact the arts, businesses saw the concert as a chance to align with that future.
It can be hard getting a music gig as a teenager, but some businesses, such as Cafe Steam and Pure Rock Studios, have been stalwart supporters of the teen music scene.
“Having those connections already in place and knowing that they’re committed to growing the teen scene, it helped me a lot as far as the sponsorship goes,” Hilliker said.
Putting on a day-long concert featuring most of the private and public high schools demands plenty of planning. And the original idea was to host a summer festival toward the end of last summer. But that didn’t work. And as the concert got pushed back, the concept evolved, from outside to inside, from summer festival to an end-of-school blowout.
Hilliker, a member of the band Dystonia, said planning for the concert was a responsibility shared between himself and his mom, Terri Allred, who brought an event-planning background to the work. Hilliker said he already knew many of the bands and musicians that will perform at ROCKchester, having crossed paths at previous gigs.
Sunday’s concert will not only offer a preview of Rochester’s arts and music scene but an opportunity to support it as well, he said.
“You’re going to have a more empowered and open community in the arts, and it’s going to grow because of the youth getting involved, not just the adults,” Hilliker said.
If you go
What: ROCKchester musical festival featuring bands and musicians from Rochester’s public and private schools
When: 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, May 15.
Where: Wicked Moose Bar & Grill.
Tickets: $20 for adults, $12 for students. Discounted tickets can be obtained at Rochester Deals For Less.
ROCKchester band lineup:
12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Pure Rock Studios teen group
1:10 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Sarah Hutchison
1:40 p.m. to 2 p.m. – Grace & Cate
2:10 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Hayley Ann
2:40 p.m to 3 p.m. – Crs Twn Hwy (Andy Furness)
3:10 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. – Vansire (Century band)
4:05 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. – Younge Park (Mayo band)
5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. – Dystonia (JM band)
6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. – Project Substitute (Lourdes + RCTC band)
7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Fauna and Flora (Lourdes band)
8 p.m. to 9 p.m. – The 9th Planet Out