Head to the Best Music Festivals in the Hudson Valley This Summer
Bethel's Woodstock Fest might be no more, but that doesn't mean there's nothing great to do this summer.
Pavel Losevsky | Adobe Stock
The Hudson Valley is home to one of the greatest spreads of live music in America, and every summer means it gets taken outdoors. From classical to electronica, country to punk, these festivals will satisfy anyone who loves music, beer, and (hopefully not too much) sunburn.
Caramoor Summer Music Series
When: May 4 – July 28
Vibe: Artsy and avant-garde
Acts to Catch: This summer-long series focuses around new voices in jazz and classical, including avant-garde vocal troupe Roomful of Teeth, Spanish singer BUIKA, and an entire program focusing on composer Caroline Shaw, the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music.
When: June 6-9
Vibe: This festival combining jam bands, bass music, and disc golf is as chill as they get.
Acts to Catch: The skronky sax-and-drums trio Moon Hooch, Ghost Light’s abstract psychedelia, and Pine Needle Soul’s tribute to the late Mac Miller. For the bass-minded, Brooklyn's Sermon Nation and Rezinate curate a sub-heavy lineup all weekend.
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Taste of Country
Where: Hunter Mountain
When: June 8-10
Vibe: Beers, boots, and big-ass trucks
Acts to Catch: Some of the biggest names in modern country will be playing 2019’s edition, including Little Big Town, Keith Urban, and Rascal Flatts.
Where: Bethel Woods
When: June 13-16
Vibe: The region’s premiere homegrown festival has become more pop-friendly with every passing year, mixing classic rock and jam bands with up-and-coming folk rockers.
Acts to Catch: Big-name headliners include Willie Nelson and the Avett Brothers, but make sure to catch down-roster locals like Amy Helm and the incredible Laura Stevenson.
Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival
Where: Croton Point Park
When: June 15-16
Vibe: Begun by local legend Pete Seeger, Clearwater is hands-down the nicest music festival you will ever attend, with disability-friendly seating, signers for the hard-of-hearing, and helpful staff.
Acts to Catch: 90s legend Ani Difranco, songwriter Guy Davis, and songwriter Leslie Mendelson.
Where: Bard College, Red Hook
When: June 29-Aug 16
Vibe: Dressed to the nines
Acts to Catch: Summerscape themes its entire lineup around one composer. In addition to the music of Austrian composer Erich Wolfgang Kornhold, as well as his The Miracle of Heliane opera, there will be a performance of Michael Gordon’s cinematic play Acquanetta and a program of films with groundbreaking musical scores.
Ellicotville Summer Music Festival
When: July 5-7
Vibe: Politely relaxed
Acts to Catch: Songwriter Caitlin Koch, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and former Eagle Don Felder.
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Irish Arts Week
Where: East Durham
When: July 14-20
Vibe: Quite Celtic
Acts to Catch: Rather than highlight specific acts, this festival invites some of the region’s and even the world’s best traditional players to team up and pick, strum, and bow their way to glory.
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival
Where: Oak Hill
When: July 18-21
Acts to Catch: Bands run the gamut from the throwback Earls of Leicester to the Steep Canyon Rangers’ Grammy-winning mix of modern sounds and traditional arrangements.
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
When: August 2-4
Vibe: Relaxed and Non-Corporate
Acts to Catch: This is an Americana-heavy fest, with everything from acoustic guitarists Beth Nielsen Chapman and Stephen Kellog at the Friday Night Song Swap, to the psychedelic Slambovian Circus of Deams, to roots rockers the BoDeans closing out on Sunday night.
Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice
When: August 2-4
Acts to Catch: The centerpiece of this festival are short plays and opera excerpts exploring radical and avant-garde themes. Lady Parts presents music from the abolition movement, while reimagined music from Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha explores the plight of newly-freed Black Americans in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Jazz in the Valley
When: August 18
Acts to Catch: The festival will be headlined by bassist Ron Carter, the young Bahamian-born trumpeter Giveton Gilen, and tribute to legendary drummer Art Blakey led by saxophonist Javon Jackson.
Where: Bethel Woods
When: Aug 16-18
Vibe: Not a full fledged festival, but big names alight from the 60s counterculture.
Acts to Catch: Santana; Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band; Edgar Winter and The Edgar Winter Band; The Doobie Brothers
PHOTO FROM BREA CARTER / INVNT
Hudson Valley Hoot
Where: Ashokan Center
When: August 23-25
Vibe: Family-Friendly Folk Fun
Acts to Catch: Sessions, banjos, and good vibes predominate at this festival run by local musical duo Mike & Ruthy, and headlined by house band the Mammals.