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Harbor Jam heats up in Schenectady

Harbor Jam heats up in Schenectady

Free outdoor concert series is packing them in at Mohawk Harbor
Harbor Jam heats up in Schenectady
The Lords of 52nd Street, a Billy Joel tribute band, performs last Saturday at Harbor Jam in Schenectady.
Photographer: Ali Stewart

The Harbor Jam series, which started in June, hasn’t slowed down. The concert series, which takes place in the outdoor Mohawk Harbor Amphitheater, has drawn in upwards of 3,000 people with weekly concerts by Yellow Brick Road, Journeyman and Pure Prairie League. 

On Saturday, California Transit Authority is slated to take the stage, with members Danny Seraphine and Bill Champlin, among other renowned musicians. Drummer Seraphine and vocalist Champlin were members of Chicago, the iconic rock band that formed in the late 1960s. CTA pays homage to Chicago’s sound. 

Since the series started in June, anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000-plus people have been attending the concerts according to Justin Moore, the assistant general manager of Rivers Casino & Resort. When Rivers first began planning the free concert series, they estimated around that number, though each week they seem to be hitting the higher end of their estimate. 


“This past Saturday's show, featuring Lords of 52nd Street (Billy Joel’s former band members), was the most successful so far.  We expect the popularity to continue as attendees spread the word about how great the venue is and the fun they had,” Moore said. 

The series has drawn more people into the casino as well as to places like Druthers Brewery and Restaurant, which is located on Harborside Drive. According to one manager, Druthers packed in upwards of 540 people during the last Harbor Jam concert. While customers can’t necessarily watch the concerts from the restaurant, the music makes its way up to the patio. 

So far, Moore said the community has been surprised and excited to have a festival and a venue like the amphitheater in Schenectady. 

“Many guests will say, ‘I can't believe this is here,' " Moore said.

The last concert in the series, which is slated on Aug. 11, will feature Orleans. The pop-rock band, which formed in Woodstock in the 1970s, is popular for hits like “Let There Be Music” and “Dance With Me.” 

Nowadays there’s no shortage of live music during the summer in the Capital Region, with Music Haven, SPAC concerts, Rockin’ on the River, Alive at Five, Jazz on Jay, etc. Yet, it seems like the interest hasn’t died down. There are already plans in the works to continue Harbor Jam next year. 

“Due to the overwhelmingly positive reaction of the concert-goers and community we will be 'Jamming' in 2019,” Moore said. 

California Transit Authority

(concerts are held rain or shine)
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday 
WHERE: Mohawk Harbor Amphitheater
COST: Free
MORE INFO: riverscasinoandresort.com 

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