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2015 Summer Arts Preview—Music 


By Peter Aaron

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Solid Sound (June 26-28)

Since 2010, with a year off here and there to keep things from becoming a businesslike grind, the Wilco-curated gathering at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, has balanced timeless veteran acts with adventurously experimental ones. With two sets by the hosts, it boasts Real Estate, Parquet Courts, King Sunny Ade, Richard Thompson, Taj Mahal, Cibo Matto, the Expandable Brass band, the Charles Lloyd Quartet, NRBQ, Bill Frisell, comedy from John Hodgman, performances by sundry Wilco side projects, and more.

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Tanglewood (June 19-August 29)

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer retreat in the Berkshires is back in business for its 79th season, bringing, as usual, a lawn-friendly mix of pop, classical, jazz, and Broadway. Holding forth from the magnificent Koussevitzky Music Shed in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, this year's lineup includes returning festival faves Garrison Keillor (6/27) and James Taylor (7/4) as well as Diana Krall (6/21), Huey Lewis and the News 6/28), Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (6/30), the Piano Guys (8/28), and Idina Menzel (8/29).

Disc Jam (June 11-14)

This newer fest is in the rural Rensselaer County burg of Stephentown. Billed as "four days of live music, camping, and disc golf," the jam-crammed soiree includes Lettuce, Electron, Dopapod, Twiddle, Kung Fu, Consider the Source, Cabinet, Phutureprimitive, Soul Monde, Pink Talking Fish, the Heavy Pets, Viral Sound, the Roots of Creation, Ikebe Shakedown, and more. Plus there's the Silent Disco, which forgoes the usual pumpin' PA for headphones worn by late-night dancers.

Clearwater (June 20-21)

Also known as the Great Hudson River Revival and inspired by the conservationism of local legend Pete Seeger, Clearwater has been held since 1978 next to the river he held so dear. Once again taking place at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, this installment offers another stacked roster: David Crosby, Citizen Cope, Neko Case, Guster, Ani DiFranco, Los Lobos, the Mavericks, Angelique Kidjo, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Kate Pierson, Betty LaVette, Shelby Lynne, the Felice Brothers, Todd Snider, the Lone Bellow, and more. Still staples of Clearwater are its numerous family-oriented attractions, storytellers, artisanal food and crafts, and sustainability/environmental components.

Beacon Riverfest (June 28)

Back again after a one-year layoff, this daylong, indie-oriented, music-and-food festival happens at Beacon's newly named Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park (formerly Beacon Riverfront Park). Headlined by West African collective Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, the event's welcome return further promises the sounds of Tracy Bonham, Decora, Gato Loco,
Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents, Breakfast in Fur, What Moon Things, Schwervon!, Shana Falana, Sidewalk Chalk, the M Shanghai String Band, Simi Stone, and others.

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Bethel Woods (June 19-September 19)

Keeping the classic rock alive on the spot that basically birthed the genre, the site of the original 1969 Woodstock festival, Bethel Woods once again offers a full plate of FM favorites, along with mainstream country acts, family fare, and even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (6/27). Among the hot hitters this time around are Bryan Adams (6/19), Train (6/26), Neil Young (7/17), Brad Paisley (7/24), the Zac Brown Band (8/23), Chicago/Earth, Wind & Fire (9/1), Van Halen (9/6), and Jackson Browne (9/19).

Green River (July 10-12)

The 29-years-strong Greenfield, Massachusetts, fete mixes roots traditions with indie rock, kicking off for three days of top-tier acts next month. Set to appear for 2015 are Steve Earle and the Dukes, the Punch Brothers, tUnE-yArDs, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, J Mascis, Booker T. Jones, Rubblebucket, Polaris, the Milk Carton Kids, Eilen Jewell, Antibalas, Tony Joe White, Langhorne Slim, the Wood Brothers, Sean Rowe, Marco Benevento, Heather Maloney, Lydia Loveless, Red Baraat, Parker Milsap, Chuchito Valdes, and lots more.

Grey Fox (July 16-19)

The Northeast's leading bluegrass festival, Grey Fox is alive and well at its second home, the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill. And, once more, bluegrass buffs couldn't ask for a better lineup: the Del McCoury Band, the Sam Bush Band, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the Infamous Stringdusters, the Gibson Brothers, the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, the SteelDrivers, Greensky Bluegrass, Chatham County Line, Hot Rize, the Steep Canyon Rangers, the Stray Birds, Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys, Bill Keith, host band Dry Branch Fire Squad, and many others.

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