Two years after the untimely passing of the “patron saint” and the “unofficial ambassador” of New Paltz, Ludwig Montesa, the day that bears his name continues to be recognized in the village and celebrated with themed events and lots of live music. This year, Ludwig Day is celebrated throughout the village on Saturday, May 23; but the festivities will have begun the evening before at Bacchus (4 South Chestnut Street), where two outstanding and very different world/reggae-oriented bands, the Big Takeover and Los Thujones, co-headline the Ludwig Day Kickoff bash, beginning at 10 p.m. These two bands, says Los Thujones’ Rick Schultz, had performed together at Ludwig’s last birthday party.
As opposed to the first two Ludwig Day celebrations, during which daytime events were staged at venues and at various ad hoc sites throughout the village, this year the organizers have decided to try a centralized daytime stage at Hasbrouck Park on Mohonk Avenue. The lineup of performers and activities is still being finalized, but the window is clear: 12 noon to 5 p.m.
This year, the Oasis Café (58 Main Street) debuts a Ludwig-style karaoke party between 5 and 7:30 p.m. As many villagers but maybe not so many outsiders know, Ludwig’s main passion, beyond being friends with everyone, was the karaoke performance of show tunes and torch songs: a practice that he had begun at the New Paltz open mics of the ’90s and that he continued up until his death at the age of 34 in April of 2013. Bands begin at Oasis at 8 p.m. and continue all night.
Bloodwig, the Ludwig-themed punk/metalfest, returns to Snug Harbor (38 Main Street) and features such heavies as Pete Crotty’s long-running epic punk band NCM, Exit 17 and the New Paltz-headquartered, nationally recognized heavy psych band It’s Not Night; It’s Space. Music begins at Snug’s at 2 p.m.
Bacchus isn’t taking Saturday off, either. The outstanding New Paltz progressive psychedelic band Breath Collective, supporting their spanking new album Gatekeeper, headlines the Bacchus stage on Saturday along with Acoustic Sun – the longtime ecstatic groove project of Ludwig’s close friend John Curran IV – and the talented young instrument-swapping funk/soul outfit the Kairos.