Venues, artists finding ways to keep summer concert sounds coming

And the beat goes on…
The McKrells will be a part of this year’s Freedom Park Concert Series, with shows streamed from the Quarantine Studio.
The McKrells will be a part of this year’s Freedom Park Concert Series, with shows streamed from the Quarantine Studio.

In the Capital Region, the summer season means concerts. Whether the Saratoga Performing Arts Center is your go-to spot, or you aim to be at every Harbor Jam or Music Haven concert of the series, there’s a show to see nearly every night of the week.  

Unfortunately, concerts were among the first things to be canceled due to COVID-19, and many if not all regularly scheduled shows have been postponed or scrapped altogether. Yet artists and venues have come up with a few other solutions to keep the summer season playing on. 

Caffe Lena 

This historic Saratoga Springs venue was among the first in the Capital Region to start live-streaming concerts from its intimate setting. 

The coffeehouse has been running Stay at Home sessions for the past few months, inviting artists to perform solo or in small groups on its stage. The sessions are free to join, though a donation is suggested. Throughout each performance, viewers can comment with questions or feedback. If you can’t catch them live, watch the performances later via YouTube. 

Beyond the Stay at Home sessions, the Caffe Lena School of Music holds virtual classes with local artists. So even though crowds aren’t allowed back at the coffeehouse, there’s still plenty of music to be heard from Caffe Lena — all from the comfort of your couch. 

For the full schedule, visit


Founded earlier this year by Grammy Award-winning artist Kevin Brandow and sound and lighting engineer Peter Jones, the company started at just the right time. 

From a studio in Rensselaer, CoverBand live-streams concerts from artists who are either physically in the studio or are tuning in via Zoom. With this system, CoverBand has run a few concert fundraisers, including ALBFest and Saratoga One for All. It’s also hosted several virtual performances from Erin Powers and Paul Zarvis, among other artists. 

For information, visit or CoverBand TV on Facebook. 

Argyle Brewing Company

The Argyle Brewing Company Depot in Cambridge has been serving up pints for years, along with live music.

Since COVID-19 started, they’ve taken it online, streaming performances from local bands on Facebook. 

Throughout June, the brewery has been running Wildflowers: Women who Rock, inviting 20 female artists from throughout the Capital Region to perform there, including Julia Alsarraf, Belle-Skinner, Sirsy, Erin Powers, Girl Blue, Candy Ambulance and Zan & the Winter Folk. 

To see the schedule or any of the previous live-streams, visit Argyle Brewing Company’s Cambridge location on Facebook. 

More from A Summer to Remember: 2020 Big Edition

Freedom Park Concert Series

While this popular summer series can’t be held in Freedom Park, the shows will go on via the Freedom Park Quarantine Studio. 

Concerts are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 7 p.m. through Aug. 26. From the studio, concerts are streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and via They’re also shown on OSM Spectrum Channel 1302 and Verizon FIOS Channel 37. 

Musicians such as Alan Payette and Friends, Carmen Lookshire, The McKrells and Audiostars will perform in the coming weeks. For the full schedule, visit

Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival 

This Lenox, Massachusetts institution is a favorite of many classical music fans in the Capital Region. Due to COVID-19, organizers have had to cancel the regularly scheduled season, though they’ve created an online season. 

There will be recitals and performances from Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Conrad Tao and others recorded at Tanglewood. The festival will also feature performances from Paul Lewis, Silkroad and other artists who were recorded at venues around the world.  

Every week from July 5 to Aug. 23, the festival will include a Boston Symphony Orchestra Encore Performance that showcases previous BSO concerts, with guests like John Williams, Seiji Ozawa and Anne-Sophie Mutter. 

Many of the performances are free to stream, while others range in price from $5-$12 for a single stream to $8-$90 for multiple stream packages. To see the schedule and for more information, visit


Drive-In Concert Series

Hosted by the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and WEXT, the Drive-In Concert Series is a step removed from the regular concertgoing experience, but it’s a bit closer than the virtual options. 

Kicking off the series will be Jocelyn & Chris at the Jericho Drive-In in Glenmont on July 9. The show starts at 8 p.m., and concertgoers are welcome to stay after the show to watch the 2019 film “Yesterday,” slated to start at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 per car.

For tickets and updates on the next shows in the series, visit

Your favorite local musician

Just because concerts have been canceled doesn’t mean musicians have stopped playing. Many have been streaming rehearsals and performances right from their homes.

Bands like Architrave, Eastbound Jesus, Rusticator, Erin Harkes and Zan & the Winter Folk have all streamed concerts on social media, most for free. 

Curbside Concerts 

This is another step toward normalcy in the time of COVID-19. Curbside Concerts is like Uber for musicians, according to Greg Bell, the local concert promoter who brought it to the Capital Region. 

People can book local musicians such as Rob Piccola, Chris Wiski, David Gleason and Erin Powers to perform at their homes or in their driveways for an hour or two. 

Social distancing must be maintained, and the musicians and the homeowner can work out any other safety measures they might need to feel comfortable. 

“We want this to be a safe situation. … We’re looking at small gatherings. Just for musicians to get out there and play for people to enjoy live music again, easing back into it,” Bell said. 

For information, visit

More from A Summer to Remember: 2020 Big Edition

Categories: A Summer To Remember, Entertainment, Special Sections

Leave a Reply