The Upstate Beat: Farming Man brings the heat — and plenty of beverages along with it

Albany’s BattleAxxx bring their hard-rocking skills and lawn-care gear to Farming Man, a music and craft beverage festival at Indian Ladder Farms on Saturday, July 16. (photo provided)

Albany’s BattleAxxx bring their hard-rocking skills and lawn-care gear to Farming Man, a music and craft beverage festival at Indian Ladder Farms on Saturday, July 16. (photo provided)

Farming Man, a music and craft beverage festival at Indian Ladder Farms Cidery and Brewery in Altamont on Saturday, got its name from Burning Man, the Nevada cultural event where participants erect art installations and a flaming “burning man” sculpture in the desert each year.

Attendees can expect that Farming Man, staged in a back field behind orchards with a magnificent view of the Helderberg Escarpment, will be much less dusty. And if the day is still hot, as expected, there will be over 20 New York state breweries, cideries and distilleries to keep people hydrated.

Farming Man started seven years ago, as a casual “bottle share” where local breweries came together to sample each other’s wares. Bands, with members who worked at Indian Ladder Farms, provided the entertainment. The event wasn’t held at all for the first two years of the pandemic, but now it is back — bigger than ever.

“We have such a fabulous craft industry in New York. And we have such great local musical talent too,” says Dietrich Gehring, whose family owns and operates Indian Ladder Farms Cidery and Brewery. “We’re really happy to bring this together.”

Albany musician Ian Carlton of the Swingin’ Palms — who does the farm’s podcast and catchy marketing jingles heard on local radio station 102.7 WEQX-FM — put together a killer lineup of mostly local acts. Bands slated to play include surf-punk trio the Jagaloons, Rochester rock-and-roll combo Televisionaries, Schenectady psychedelic rockers the Abyssmals, Troy country crooners Brule County Bad Boys, hard rawkers BattleaXXX, garage band Mystery Girl and indie-folk’s College Farm (featuring brothers Andrew and Matthew Pelletier, who work for Indian Ladder).

“I told Ian I would like to have a mix of different genres of music, so that it didn’t feel like the same old thing,” Gehring says.

Carlton, who moonlights as hilarious karaoke personality Ritz Carlton, will DJ in between sets, along with local musician and music fan Ed Conway and Cacophone Records DJs Spacewolf with Masterpeace.

Like Burning Man, which takes place on a playa — a dry, flat area at the bottom of an undrained desert basin — Farming Man is held on its own special geological formation called a glacial kettle, a tree-less depression made by a retreating glacier thousands of years ago.

“It’s kind of like a natural amphitheater,” says Gehring.

In addition to craft beer and cider poured at a discounted rate, there will be local food and coffee, and possibly a “farming man” sculpture made out of Indian Ladder hop plants. On-farm camping is available.

Despite the festival’s evolution over the years, Indian Ladder still plans to keep it a family friendly, low-key atmosphere.

“It’s not just a music festival, and it’s not just another beer festival where you stand in line,” Gehring says. “We’re trying to make it a little more intimate. We want it to be personal, where you can meet the band members, and you can meet the brewers and talk with them informally because it’s not a crowded situation.”

Farming Man Fest takes place at Indian Ladder Farms (342 Altamont Rd, Altamont) on Saturday, July 16. Live music starts at 2 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m. General admission tickets for 21+ are $30 including a souvenir glass, and $25 for those under 21 or for those not drinking. Beverages are not included in the ticket price. Children under 13 are free. Camping is $20 for a site that accommodates one car, one tent and up to five people.

For more details, visit

The Week Ahead

Summer shows are coming fast and furious. Almost too many to keep up. Here’s just a sampling.

— The world-music-focused Music Haven Concert Series (500 Iroquois Path) in Schenectady’s Central Park is always one of the area’s best curated and most chill summer music events. The free concert series kicked off last week with a banner performance by reggae’s Steel Pulse. Don’t miss the rest of the series, held on Sunday evenings through August 21. On July 17, expect a zydeco dance party with Louisiana Hall of Famer Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas with special guest The Brass Machine. 7 p.m.

— Chicago has an unbelievable 55 years of touring behind them. The rock-fusion pioneers return to Saratoga Performing Arts Center (108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs) on July 17 with Brian Wilson, the former Beach Boys frontman who now tours with a band including Beach Boys co-founder and rhythm guitarist Al Jardine and onetime Beach Boys member Blondie Chaplin. It gets confusing, because the Beach Boys led by Mike Love come to SPAC on Aug. 18. (Love and Wilson have a fraught relationship, and we’ll leave it at that.) 7 p.m.

— At the Egg’s Hart Theatre (S Mall Arterial, Albany) on July 19, singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren performs his “Unpredictable” show featuring music culled from his deep catalog — including songs from his days as frontman of the quintessential cult-rockers Nazz, indelible solo pop hits like “I Saw The Light” and “Hello It’s Me” and his work with prog-rockers Utopia. 7:30 p.m.

— Ceramic Animal were incredible when they opened for the Nude Party at Empire Underground in Albany a few weeks ago. Now, the Pennsylvania hard rockers, whose latest album, “Sweet Unknown,” was produced by Dan Auerbach, are opening for Auerbach’s the Black Keys as well as Band of Horses at a highly anticipated SPAC show (108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs) on July 20. 7 p.m.

— Expect to dance when reggae night takes over Empire State Plaza (100 S Mall Arterial, Albany) on July 20 for a free show featuring Jamaican quintet Inner Circle, who stretch back to the mid-1970s with their energy-filled live performances, and King Yellowman, who overcame his upbringing at a Kingston, Jamacia, orphanage and discrimination against his albinism to become one of the biggest artists in reggae music. With K’reema & The Sagittarius Band. 5:30 p.m.

— Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist Roger Waters returns to MVP Arena (formerly Times Union Center, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany) on July 20 after a couple of years of pandemic delays. Expect an audio and visual spectacle from the creator of the “The Wall” rock opera. His “This Is Not a Drill” tour features plenty of old Pink Floyd hits and marks the first time Waters has played “in the round” on a stage laid out like a giant cross. 8 p.m.
Reach Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts

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