Summer music and arts festivals mount a comeback

Live music and festivals are anchors of the Hudson Valley’s cultural legacy that have, to varying degrees, been pre-empted by the pandemic. But many are back in the coming months and hopes are high that they could, perhaps, bring a sense of normalcy.

Pete Daly of Lagrangeville attended the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival for more than three decades before the pandemic forced it to go virtual in 2020 and be canceled in 2021. Daly purchased tickets for the return of Grey Fox this year — July 14-17 in Oak Hill, Greene County — and grew emotional discussing reuniting with friends, camping, and soaking in the Grey Fox scene.

“I had tears in my eyes when I got my tickets,” said Daly, who looks forward to seeing performances by such bluegrass heavyweights as Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush and the Del McCoury Band.

Not every festival is returning in 2022. The absence of festivals with a long track record, developed over decades prior to the pandemic, will also be felt this summer, particularly by fans of both the Clearwater and Mountain Jam festivals.

“With the scope of its typical programming and accompanying cash flow severely reduced by the pandemic, Clearwater did not have the upfront cash necessary to begin planning and production for a 2022 Clearwater Festival,” reads a statement from the Beacon-based environmental organization founded by Pete Seeger, the late folk singer and activist from Dutchess Junction.

Clearwater, held prior to the pandemic at Croton Point Park in Westchester County, was held virtually in 2020 and 2021. Plans are in motion for the return of the festival in 2023.

As for Mountain Jam, which was held at Hunter Mountain in Greene County for years before moving to Bethel Woods in 2019, festival founder Gary Chetkof said, “Planning a festival takes at least nine months and we felt that we did not want any uncertainty to cloud the next Mountain Jam.”

Instead, Chetkof, who also runs Radio Woodstock (WDST/100.1 FM), is planning Mountain Jam’s return to Bethel Woods in June 2023, and this summer, he said the station is planning an outdoor concert similar to the Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats show he organized last year, with details still to come.

Fans of radio station K104’s KFEST can also hold out hope that their favorite music festival could return.

KFEST, produced by Dutchess County-based WSPK (104.7 FM) and in past years has presented such acts as Rihanna, Robin Thicke and the Goo Goo Dolls, was last held at Bethel Woods in 2019. The pandemic put a two-year pause on events, but the gathering could return this year — they are currently discussing partnering with Bethel Woods for a show this summer.

There’s a sense of renewal and rebirth among many Hudson Valley concert promoters, and venues are not just considering mounting shows, they’ve scheduled dates. Below are all the musicians and performing artists booked to play in the region this summer.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts: Bethel, Sullivan County

Bethel Woods’ summer concert lineup is longer than last year’s, with multiple bands like Earth, Wind & Fire finally playing rescheduled shows.

Bethel Woods

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, on the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival in Bethel, Sullivan County, has released a slate of performances that offer an outlook on life circa 2019:

  • May 28: The Who, with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic
  • June 5: Celtic Woman
  • June 17: Comedian Bill Burr
  • June 23: Thomas Rhett with Parker McCollum and Conner Smith
  • July 3: Steely Dan (rescheduled from 2020 and 2021)
  • July 8: Train with Jewel, Blues Traveler  and Will Anderson
  • July 22-23: Phish
  • Aug. 4: Jimmy Buffett
  • Aug. 19: Brandi Carlile
  • Aug. 21: Earth Wind & Fire (rescheduled from 2021)

Tickets and information: bethelwoodscenter.org

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival: Oak Hill, Greene County, July 14-17

Grey Fox's Greene County festival grounds welcome campers and RVs.

Grey Fox’s Greene County festival grounds welcome campers and RVs.

Dave Weiland

Grey Fox is a true overnight music festival experience with the option for regular camping and RV sites. Headlining acts will be performing during the weekend.

  • July 15: The Del McCoury Band, Béla Fleck
  • July 16: Steve Earle and The Dukes

Tickets and information: greyfoxbluegrass.com

Bard SummerScape: Annandale-on-Hudson, Dutchess County, June 23-Aug. 14

Fisher Performing Arts Center at Bard College will host the Bard Music Festival, part of their annual SummerScape event series that also includes performances in its circus-like Spiegeltent.

Fisher Performing Arts Center at Bard College will host the Bard Music Festival, part of their annual SummerScape event series that also includes performances in its circus-like Spiegeltent.

Bob Van Voris

Fans of opera and classical music can look forward to SummerScape at Bard College, which also includes The Bard Music Festival.

SummerScape, which was sidelined by the pandemic in 2020 but held in 2021, will unfold over eight weeks beginning in June with opera, theater, dance, music and the dazzling Spiegeltent venue. The focus of the 32nd Bard Music Festival will be “Rachmaninoff and His World.”


SummerScape will feature a theatrical production of “Dom Juan,” which Bard describes as “a glittering and ferocious study of lust and power” that “combines slapstick comedy with the taut psychology of a thriller.” There will also be the SummerScape commission and world premiere of the dance program, “Song of Songs;” and a presentation of the opera, “The Silent Woman” by Richard Strauss.

Bard’s Belgian Spiegeltent, a hand-crafted pavilion of mirrors and stained glass, will host multiple offerings, including “Black Roots Summer,” a celebration of Black roots music; and a first look at music from the Fisher Center-commissioned adaptation of Scott Joplin’s 1911 opera “Treemonisha.”

Tickets and information: fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival: Garrison, Putnam County

The 35th season of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival will be the first in its new home in Garrison next year.

The 35th season of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival will be the first in its new home in Garrison next year.

T. Charles Erickson, courtesy Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s 2022 summer season will be the first to unfold at its new, permanent home in Garrison. HVSF will use its pre-existing, temporary theater tent as plans remain under way for the construction of a permanent, open-air theater. The festival for decades had called Boscobel House and Gardens, also in Garrison, home.

Open-air productions and pre-show picnicking will remain a staple of HVSF offerings, which in 2022 will include “Romeo & Juliet”; “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play”; and “Where We Belong.”

HVSF will also present two developmental workshops from its Tent Pole Commissions: “Untitled Agatha Project” and “Memnon;” as well as a community event, “Highland Lights: A Reawakened Landscape.” Details regarding HVSF’s 2022 season, including casting and dates will be announced soon; tickets go on sale April 14. A procession of illuminated lanterns, “Highland Lights: A Reawakened Landscape” will be held on April 17.

Tickets and information: HVshakespeare.org

Kaatsbaan Summer Festival: Tivoli, Dutchess County

Kaatsbaan has planned a three-weekend long Summer Festival, followed by a Fall Festival themed around Phillip Glass's 85th birthday.

Kaatsbaan has planned a three-weekend long Summer Festival, followed by a Fall Festival themed around Phillip Glass’s 85th birthday.

Tony Adamis

Kaatsbaan Cultural Park is a 153-acre artist sanctuary and presenter of live music and performing arts. Their Summer Festival is a three-weekend-long affair, dedicated more to dance this year than live music. Below are some highlights.

  • June 3: Summer Soirée concert and dinner with Natalie Merchant
  • June 4 & 5 : Live Arts Global featuring music by The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, Alabama Shakes and more
  • June 18: Taylor Mac

Tickets and information: kaatsbaan.org

Hudson Valley Art, Music and Culture



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