For time out of mind, the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge has been the gathering place for the legendary Fiddle & Dance Camps founded by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. Ungar’s daughter Ruth and her husband, Mike Merenda – a/k/a the band Mike + Ruthy – have taken on primary responsibility for the series of seasonal celebrations at the Ashokan Center that are known as the Hoots.
Though it may still seem like a new phenomenon, the Summer Hoot already has its fourth annual iteration coming up this weekend. This three-day, family-friendly music festival has a “pay-what-you-want” entry policy, gathering community to appreciate the Catskills’ natural beauty, excellent local food and drink, a down-to-earth and welcoming atmosphere and great folk, indie, Cajun, blues and rock music. Activities including camping, hiking to the site’s spectacular gorge, square dancing, workshops, jams and singalongs, crafts led by the people from FiberFlame and more.
The gates open for campers to set up at 3 p.m. on Friday, August 26, and performances start at 7:30 p.m. Music expands to three locations on Saturday and Sunday, wrapping up around 7 on Sunday evening, August 28. The lineup includes Baby States, Robert Sarazin Blake & the Package, Tracy Bonham, the Brother Brothers, Paul Brown, Burnell Pines, Caprice Rouge, the Cupcakes, Elijah, Don Flemons, Bill Harley, Connor Kennedy & Minstrel, the Ladles, Love Waves, Lula Wiles, Chris Merenda & the Wheel, the Mike + Ruthy Band, Mister Chris, Ratboy, Jr., Kalyn Rock, Serious Juggling & Comedy and Simi Stone. Longtime fans of Jay and Molly’s various musical projects over the decades will be particularly excited to know that the triple-threat 1980s violin supergroup Fiddle Fever will reunite for a 3 p.m. set on Saturday and close out the festival with a performance at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
An assortment of local food trucks and vendors will offer lunch, dinner and snacks. To see the full schedule and order tickets, visit www.homeofthehoot.com. The Ashokan Center is located at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge, not far off Route 28A.