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Solar Vortex: 2014 Summer Music Festivals 

click to enlarge Rainbow Stage at Clearwater Festival - ECONOSMITH
  • Econosmith
  • Rainbow Stage at Clearwater Festival

"Chewing out a rhythm on my bubble gum / The sun is out and I want some." —The Ramones, 1977

After the winter of 2014, it's safe to say that most of us in the Northeast will shed no tears if we never hear the term "polar vortex" again. In fact, after such a brutal season we pretty much deserve a summer annex—say, an extra 80-degree stretch through September, October, and November. Is that too much to ask? Come on now, Great Weather Spirit, fair is fair. While that's being pondered, Chronogram would like to once again welcome you to our yearly curated survey of the Hudson Valley region's most happening summer music festivals. So check the list below, pack a cooler, roll up a lawn blanket, put some gas (or biofuel) in the tank, and hit the road to take in some of our outdoor-leaning menu's varied and delightful musical events. The sun is finally out, and so are the sounds. Go get some.

Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival (June 21-22)

With the passing of its cofounder Pete Seeger since last year's music festival spread, it seems only fitting to open with the 48th edition of his beloved Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson. Alongside the recurring bonhomie, family fun, and social and environmental consciousness-raising, this one certainly does Pete proud with its lineup: Lucinda Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Puss N Boots (featuring Norah Jones), Richard Thompson, moe.acoustic, the Mavericks, Tom Paxton, Jake Shimabukuro, David Bromberg, Dar Williams, Bettye Lavette, Lake Street Dive, and more.

Bard Music Festival/Bard SummerScape (June 27-August 17)

Further up river is this revered classical/arts celebration at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. For its 25th year the theme is "Schubert and His World," which examines the life and music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828) and his Austro-German Romantic milieu with concerts, discussions, and more. Highlights: the Trisha Brown Dance Company's "Proscenium Works: 1979–2011" (June 27-28), the first US revival in 100 years of Carl Maria von Weber's opera "Euryanthe" (July 25, 27, 30 and August 1 and 3), Schubert's rarely performed opera "Fierrebras" (August 17), the world premiere theater production of "Love in the Wars," based on Heinrich von Kleist's Penthesilea (July 10 and 20), and a film series. The Spiegeltent has music, cabaret, and dining.

Belleayre Music Festival (July 5-August 30)

Back on top at the Belleayre Mountain ski resort in Highmount is the return of the Belleayre Music Festival. With a truly stunning outdoor setting (lawn and pavilion seating are available), this season's series is short but fully packed. It kicks off with the Belleayre Festival Orchestra performing "The Music of Queen: A Rock Symphony" (July 5) and continues with Buddy Guy (July 11), Gaetano Donizetti's opera "Lucia de Lammermoor" (July 26), the Django Reinhardt Festival All-Stars (August 1), jazz greats the Cookers (August 2), music of Mexico from Alberto Solis and Gil Gutierrez featuring Bob Stern (August 7), Brazilian and Cuban sounds by Romero Lubambo's Quintet (August 9), the Hold Steady (August 30), and more.

Festival of the Arts at Mohonk Mountain House (July 6-August 22)

Like the Bard festival, this lovingly programmed New Paltz series turns 25 this summer. Held at the 145-year-old Mohonk Mountain House, it offers "dozens of music, drama, and dance performances from classical to contemporary, including annual favorites to innovative newcomers." Festival events take place in the historic resort's large 1899 Victorian parlor, and in addition to many others include Grammy-nominated folk rock duo Trout Fishing in America (July 18), Syncopated City Dance Company (July 27), the Vanaver Caravan celebrating Pete Seeger (August 7), Dick Cavett and John Cunningham (August 11), cabaret performer Lauren Fox (August 17), and Natalie Merchant (August 22).

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  • Peter Aaron’s guide to the area’s summer music festivals.


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