Fairs & Festivals 2010

From traditional county fairs and innovative theater performances to music of all types, these 20 local events help put the fun in summer


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shawn colvin at clearwater festivalGreen scene: Folk-pop singer Shawn Colvin is one of the top-shelf performers at this year’s Clearwater Festival

Music Festivals

If a trip to Bonnaroo is beyond the realm of possibilities for your wallet, you’ll be psyched to know you can get your folk and popular music fix without leaving the Valley. So don’t pack away your tie-dye once Mountain Jam is over — here are some other diverse and exciting musical happenings close to home.

It’s time once again for Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival (June 19-20) at Croton Point Park. In addition to performances by legendary founder Pete Seeger, headliners include Steve Earle, Shawn Colvin, Joan Osborne, and Buckwheat Zydeco. Also slated to appear are indie darlings and Valley natives the Felice Brothers and Revival favorites Toshi Reagon, Dog on Fleas, and the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus.

The country’s oldest music and environmental festival, Clearwater also features a World Dance Tent, where boogie inspiring performances by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, C.J. Chenier, Folklore Urbano and others will have you shaking your tail feather for the environment. True to the cause, the festival offers a Green Living Expo, river rides on the famed Clearwater and Mystic Whaler, storytellers, family-oriented entertainers, a juried craft show, and the interactive Circle of Song (www.clearwater.org).

Although it’s only five years young, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has had no problem hauling in the big guns for their 2010 season. This year’s schedule includes legends like Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band (June 26); Crosby, Stills, and Nash (Aug. 31); the Moody Blues (July 10); the New York Philharmonic (July 3); and Sting (July 30), who performs his greatest hits accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Other big names set to appear include Santana (July 17), Dave Matthews Band with Amos Lee (July 13), Brooks and Dunn (June 27), O.A.R with Citizen Cope (Aug. 7), and Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon (Aug. 28). A special mini-fest, the Bethel Woods Bluegrass Jamboree (Aug. 22), brings in favorites like Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, the Travelin’ McCourys and Dan Tyminski, and Cherryholmes.

The Museum at Bethel Woods — which is dedicated to the history of the 1960s and the cultural implications of Woodstock (which took place on the same site that now holds the museum and arts center) — hosts a moving Vietnam War exhibit through July 11. Eddie Adams: Vietnam showcases the work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, offering visitors an intimate glimpse at the war that defined an era (www.bethelwoodscenter.org).

Now in its 30th year, Altamont’s Old Songs Festival (June 25-27) offers festivalgoers what few fests do: the opportunity to learn from the performers, rather than just hear them. Saturday and Sunday evening performances present more than 80 old-time and world music artists ­— including Prince Edward Island fiddler Gadelle, Delta blues singer Eleanor Ellis, and West African drummer Fode Sissoko, among many others. Daytime programming includes upwards of 120 hands-on and interactive workshops. Franco-American old-time band Groovemama works with school-aged string players in the Great Groove Band, whose daily rehearsals culminate in a Sunday afternoon performance; kids can also join the Festival Jug Band, and learn to play a washboard or kazoo. Other festival highlights include a drum circle, contra dance, open jam sessions, and an open mic event. Camping passes are available (www.oldsongs.org).

If variety is the spice of life, then the Belleayre Music Festival (July 3-Sept. 4) is one very large spice rack — this summer’s program features everything from country legends like the Charlie Daniels Band (July 24), to Broadway diva Patti LuPone (July 10), to Rossini’s Cinderella (Aug. 28). Other highlights: “Red, White, and Bluegrass: Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder” (July 3); classic-rock icons America (Aug. 14); and New Orleans favorite, the Aaron Neville Quintet (Sept. 4). The Belleayre Festival Orchestra performs romantic classics including Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (July 17), and the Children’s Opera Theater offers a free afternoon performance of the Three Little Pigs on Aug. 29 (www.belleayremusic.org).

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