Music festivals in Capital Region and beyond – Travel 2023

People fill the lawn at SPAC
FILE - Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 2015.
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TRAVEL 2023 – After the dismal festival scene of 2020, when most summer festivals were postponed or canceled due to COVID-19, it’s great to see live music festivals coming back. Take a road trip this summer — or fall, as the music festival scene seems to be shifting over into autumn — and catch some live music while you hit the beach or visit historic sites.

Below is a selection of multiday music festivals in the Northeast, ranging from much-loved returning festivals such as Green River and Grey Fox to new offerings like Cat Bird and Cave Mountain.

Of course, don’t forget about the single-day events such as the free NipperFest Music & Arts Festival in Schenectady’s Central Park on July 22, or the Outlaw Music Fest at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Sept. 15, where country icon Wille Nelson will celebrate his 90th birthday.

For those on a budget or who just prefer to stay in the area during the beautiful summer months, we’ve included a few events closer to home to liven up your weekend or staycation.

JUNE 23–25
Green River Festival,
Franklin County Fairgrounds,
Greenfield, Massachusetts
In a nutshell: A feel-good event with skillful musical booking and a positive spirit featuring some of the best roots rock, world and Americana bands. Tends to sell out, so get tickets soon.
Headliners: St. Paul & the Broken Bones, the Wood Brothers, Little Feat
Our picks: Rubblebucket, Felice Brothers, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers
Tickets: Weekend pass is $169; Friday/Saturday pass is $124.99; single-day pass ranges from $59.99-$74.99. Volunteers get a free festival pass.
Accommodations: Camping is sold out; visit the festival site for links to alternate campgrounds and hotels.
While there: Visit Poet’s Seat Tower, a 1912 sandstone observation tower on a steep cliff in Greenfield with a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
More info:

JUNE 24–25
Freihofer’s Saratoga
Jazz Festival, Saratoga
Performing Arts Center,
Saratoga Springs
In a nutshell: World-class jazz, great vibes and community-minded people come together every summer on the SPAC lawn. Bring a picnic, check out the artisan craft tent and visit the Charles R. Wood Discovery Stage for up-and-coming acts.
Headliners: Snarky Puppy, Angelique Kidjo, Bonnie Raitt
Our picks: Hiromi’s Sonicwonder, Samara Joy, Jupiter & Okwess
Tickets: Range from $84 for lawn to $219 for the best of the amphitheater. There are a variety of discounts available, including a two-day discount when purchasing tickets to both days of the festival prior to June 15.
Accommodations: Saratoga Springs and the surrounding area have a plethora of hotels but they fill up fast in summertime, so book early.
While there: Stroll through Spa State Park and drink from the mineral springs or visit the Saratoga Auto Museum.
More info:

JULY 7–9
Dead of Summer
Music Festival,
Manchester, Vermont
In a nutshell: The two-day festival in a beautiful Green Mountain setting is kid- and family friendly with a lineup that leans heavily on jam bands and interpretations of the Grateful Dead.
Headliners: Melvin Seals & JBG, Pink Talking Fish, Steely Dead
Our picks: Melvin Seals, Bella’s Bartok, Bearly Dead
Tickets: A two-day pass is $125; a two-day pass with camping is $165.
Accommodations: You can camp on-site in a tent, RV or van.
While there: Attend a tie-dye or yoga workshop at the festival, or head into Manchester and shop at the outlets.
More info:

JULY 12–16
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Oak Hill, New York
In a nutshell: Four days of the best bluegrass, newgrass and roots music on six stages with workshops, family fun, camping, dancing, jamming, foods, crafts and thousands of fans from around the world.
Headliners: The Infamous Stringdusters, Del McCoury, Sam Bush
Our picks: Steep Canyon Rangers, the Emerging Artist Showcase, artist-in-residence Jerry Douglas
Tickets: The full festival with camping is $295; day passes without camping are $90-95.
Accommodations: Onsite camping is available or visit the website for a list of area hotels. Campsite areas typically sell out, so purchase soon.
While there: Attend yoga or meditation, bring your own instrument and jam at Jam Central Station or take a hands-on workshop.
More info:

JULY 27–29
Rye Bread Music & Arts Festival, Schaghticoke
Fairgrounds, Schaghticoke, New York
In a nutshell: Three days of music and camping on the Schaghticoke Fairgrounds for fans of jam band artists promise unique collaborations among artists throughout the festival.
Headliners: Oteil and Friends, North Mississippi Allstars, Cool Cool Cool
Our picks: Neon Avenue, The Seapods, Super 400
Tickets: Two-day passes are $125; the website says one-day passes are coming soon.
Accommodations: The festival offers tent car camping as well as RV camping.
While there: Visit Victory View Vineyard.
More info:

AUG. 19–20
In Between Days,
Veterans Memorial Stadium,
Quincy, Massachusetts
In a nutshell: The indie-rock festival also hosts a marketplace with vintage fashion, home décor and vinyl record dealers as well as a classic ’80s retro arcade games and New England-based food trucks and breweries.
Headliners: Modest Mouse, Lord Huron, Sunny Day Real Estate
Our picks: Phantogram, the Beths, Blitzen Trapper
Tickets: In a tiered-pricing system, single-day tickets range from $95-$115, while two-day tickets range from $175.50-$190.
Accommodations: The festival is located just steps from the Red Line, so stay in Boston or find a more local hotel.
While there: Visit a Quincy beach or explore the city of Boston.
More info:

AUG. 19-20
Catbird Music Festival,
Bethel Woods Center
for the Arts,
Bethel, New York

In a nutshell: A new camping festival on the grounds of the 1969 Woodstock festival features a wide-ranging bill of 22 performances on two stages and local food and spirits.
Headliners: The Lumineers, Tyler Childers, Trey Anastasio Band
Our picks: War on Drugs, Margo Price, Band of Horses
Tickets: Two-day tickets start at $199; one-day tickets start at $140.
Accommodations: Catbird offers car and RV camping as well as glamping in canvas tents.
While there: Visit the Museum at Bethel Woods for exhibits on the cultural significance of the original Woodstock.
More info:

AUG. 25–27
Beach Road Weekend,
Martha’s Vineyard,
In a nutshell: A marquee, mid-sized festival with three days of pop and rock in Veterans Memorial Park on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard.
Headliners: Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons, Leon Bridges
Our picks: Patti Smith and her band, Kevin Morby, Japanese Breakfast, Dinosaur Jr.
Tickets: Three-day passes start at $400, with much higher VIP options; single-day passes are $150.
Accommodations: It’s best to stay on Martha’s Vineyard because the island’s last ferry may have left for the day before the headliners end. There is no festival camping, but hotel packages are available on the festival website.
While there: Visit the gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs, rent a bike and cycle the island or tour the Gay Head Lighthouse and Aquinnah Cliffs.
More info:

SEPT. 15–16
Cave Mountain Catskills
Music Festival,
Windham Mountain,
Windham, New York
In a Nutshell: The brand-new festival organized by the team behind Brooklyn Made Presents and Crush Music offers a diverse lineup, local craft vendors and the early fall backdrop of Windham Mountain in the Catskills.
Headliners: Weezer, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Dinosaur Jr.
Our picks: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Lee Fields, Sheer Mag Tickets: $199 for two-day general admission and $125 for single day.
Accommodations: Book early for a spot at one of the area’s hotels, motels or campgrounds.
While there: Browse the shops in Windham and eat breakfast at Catskill Mountain Country Store.
More info:

SEPT. 22-24
FreshGrass Festival,
North Adams, Massachusetts
In a Nutshell: A topnotch bluegrass and roots music festival featuring bands on four stages over three days, instrument and industry workshops, pop-up performances and local Berkshire food and spirits.
Headliners: Dropkick Murphys (acoustic), Lukas Nelson, Rhiannon Giddens
Our picks: Sunny War, the Devil Makes Three
Tickets: A three-day pass is $164 ($119 for students and $59 for kids ages 6-16).
Accommodations: FreshGround tent camping in a field withing walking distance of the festival is available, or check the website for a list of nearby campgrounds. Hotels can be hard to come by in the area during large events, but driving back and forth each day from the Capital Region is possible.
While there: Visit the vast art galleries of MASS MoCA, one of the nation’s leading contemporary art museums.
More info:

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