SCHENECTADY — For years, Jim Gilbert has wanted to put on a festival highlighting the Capital Region’s thriving music scene.
It’s something he and his wife, Laura DaPolito, have thought about long before the couple took over Nippertown, the Eddies Award winning website that highlights the Capital Region’s vibrant arts scene, three years ago following the death of the website’s original publisher.
“We have an incredible scene,” Gilbert said. “We have a great scene and we wanted to promote it.”
After years of pondering the idea, Gilbert’s vision is finally taking shape.
Late last week, he announced plans for NipperFest, an all-day music festival that will take place on July 23 at Music Haven in Central Park featuring 13 of the best acts throughout the Capital Region.
Details are still being finalized, but Gilbert, a Niskayuna resident, said plans call for two stages, with seven one-hour sets on a main stage and six acts that will take place in between sets. The festival is scheduled to take place between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Thousands are expected to flock the Music Haven grounds, which Gilbert said is like “mini SPAC” and is the ideal location for such a festival.
“I couldn’t think of a better venue in the Capital Region for a music festival than Music Haven,” he said. “It’s like a mini SPAC. You’ve got great seating … it’s dog friendly, it’s kid friendly. It’s awesome.”
Mona Golub, producing artistic director for the venue, agreed, adding that Music Haven is hoping to ramp up activity next year after the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 season and limited events this past year.
“It’s always wonderful to present something unique and special that has the ability to draw and welcome in neighbors and friends throughout the region and beyond,” she said. “This will be yet another event at Music Haven that does just that.”
Four acts have already been confirmed for the festival, including The Figgs, SIRSY and Super 400, which were announced via a Nov. 24 Facebook post seeking to drum up interest in the festival.
“Mark your calendars, the first NipperFest is coming to the Capital Region on July 23, 2022, with The Figgs, SIRSY, Super 400, and more bands to be announced!” the post reads.
On Monday, Gilbert confirmed Glass Pony — the Albany-based rock outfit that won Nippertown’s March Madness tournament last year — will also perform on the main stage. The winner of next year’s college basketball-inspired tournament will also receive a spot on the main stage, Gilbert said.
The remaining acts are still in the process of being booked, but Gilbert promised high-energy performances.
“People are going to dance,” he said. “Whether they like it or not, they are going to have to move their bodies because their bodies are going to make them.”
In addition to music, the festival will also feature local food, craft beverages and stands featuring nonprofits that support the local arts and music scene and issues relating to mental health.
Gilbert said vendors have yet to be contacted, but he hopes to have an assortment of options, including barbecue, pizza, burgers and vegetarian selections to choose from.
”We want a good sampling of what the area has to offer,” he said.
Additional details on NipperFest are expected to be slowly released in the months ahead, said Gilbert, who added he hopes to bring further attention to the local music scene.
“It’s not just about promoting NipperFest,” he said. “It’s about promoting how much great music we have in the Capital Region. That’s kind of been Nippertown’s mission, and that’s what this is — it’s just a continuation of that.”
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.