We’re halfway through summer, but it feels like we’ve already seen a whole season’s worth of art, music, festivals and special events. Hudson Valley culture is blooming at all corners of its garden.
At first you’d be forgiven to think it only feels like there’s tons to do because we’ve been locked down for so long. In reality, every creative person is jumping at the chance to make a real-life human connection because audiences are just as eager to be back at events. At the same time, a horde of cabin-fevered transplants and eager tourists are ready to escape captivity and spend the money they saved leaving the metro, inflation be damned.
Our area’s support of the arts is legendary. Now it’s turbocharged. The demand for “getting out of the house and doing something” is through the roof, and the supply is abundant. This week’s top Hudson Valley event picks are but a small sample of the hundreds of events this week. Find a lot more going on at calendar.hudsonvalleyone.com.
Artsplosion! – Upstate Art Weekend July 22-24 at 145 art galleries across the Hudson Valley. We repeat, 145 art galleries. You probably don’t want to miss the biggest local art event in recent memory. It’s a cross-county affair, and there’s likely a participating gallery in your backyard. An art crawl through the breathtaking scenery of our valley? The only question is, where to begin? Visit upstateartweekend.org for a full map and list of venues.
Shroom with a view. For the Love of Fungi at Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, Sunday, July 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mushrooms are having a moment, and not just the “magic” ones. Rockstar mycologist (yes, really) Paul Stamets has done much to fuel trending cultural interest in mushrooms, but to be fair, our area has always been a hotbed of fungus love. This event brings together local mushroom luminaries from various walks of life, and takes you into the beautiful surrounding forest for guided mushroom forays throughout the day. There will be cooking demos, art demos, presentations, vendors, food and beverage. We share 50% of our DNA with fungi, so half of you is already there. Tickets are $40 for adults, $16 for kids 2-12, babies stroll in free. Visit ashokancenter.org for more.
Rock your dog. Music in the Parks with Kurt Henry & Dog Knows, Saturday, July 23, 7 p.m. at T.R. Gallo Park. Set up by the Kingston Parks and Recreation Department, this show will bring the sweet sounds of one of our area’s most beloved bands to the Rondout. This group is known for its upbeat, uptown-country-tinged rock with genre-hopping elements and excellent musicianship. What a venue to see them live, and with no cover charge!
Big views at small scales. English Landscapes reception at The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW), Saturday, July 23, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Noted local photographer Fionn Reilly has a new solo show featuring a series of small-scale color photographs Reilly made in his native England between 2018 and 2020. His work has been featured in such publications as Esquire, The New York Times, iD Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, and the prestigious Woodstock Times.
Skulls are cool. Children’s Nature Program: Skull & Bones at Saatsburgh State Historic Site, Sunday, July 24 and 31, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. This nature program for kids ages 6-9 asks, “What can you tell by looking at a skull?” Then it hands your kids animal skulls to examine. If that doesn’t sound totally rad to you, well, more skulls for my child. Cost is $2 per person and definitely worth it. Have you ever tried to go out and build a skull collection from scratch?
From slide guitar to string quartet. Maverick Concert Hall hosts Americana maestro Happy Traum and slide guitarist extraordinaire Cindy Cashdollar on Saturday, July 23 at 8 p.m. Then Sunday, July 24, it’s back to the classics, as part of the Maverick’s Chamber Music Festival, at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 24, Quatuor Danel performs Tchaikovsky and Friends — Beethoven: Quartet in G Major, Op.18 No.2; Shostakovich: String Quartet No.13 (1969-70); Tchaikovsky: Quartet Movement in B-flat (1865); and Tchaikovsky: Quartet No. 1 in D Major. Visit maverickconcerts.org for info and tickets.
Sad apples. Blues on the Farm – Cider, Blues & BBQ at Stone Ridge Orchard on Saturday, July 23, noon to 7 p.m. This all-day music festival emceed by Big Joe Fitz promises to be an epic day of bluesy jams. Along with seven music groups, there will be a farmer’s market, food trucks, vendors and campaign. Kids under 12 get in free, otherwise tickets are $20 online and $30 at the door. Visit stoneridgeorchard.com for more.
Good vibes only. Bill Ware and the Upstate All Stars at Senate Garage in Kingston, Friday, July 22 at 8 p.m. (doors at 7:30 p.m.). Vibraphonist and musical polymath Bill Ware is coming to this intimate venue with a quintet of equally talented jazzstronauts for a night of sonic adventure. Sure, he could name-drop collaborations with Steely Dan, John Zorn, Elivs Costello and David Gilmore… but we’re sure he’d rather let the music speak for itself. If jazz is a language, Ware is a master orator with something new to say. Tickets are $25 at jazzstock.com.
Horn of plenty. Brazzamatazz Music Festival at Seed Song Farm in Kingston, Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. This is not your father’s brass music festival. If you haven’t been keeping up with the contemporary brass scene, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover it’s full of high-energy musical inventiveness. While these instruments might conjure up dusty memories of yesteryear, in fact, these brass bands are some of the hippest, hottest live acts to catch these days. There will be food and a bonfire at the end of the day. It’s a benefit for the farm, and tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, $15 for students 18-21, $10 for ages 13-18, and free under 12. Get tickets and check out the bands at brazzamatazz.com.
Dig in the crates. Bargain Record Fair at The Lace Mill in Kingston, Saturday, July 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kingston Artists Collective will host record vendors and personal collectors, with an emphasis on pricing platters to move fast. Over one-billion dollars of vinyl was moved in 2021, the biggest year for records since 1986. Some of it will be here at a steep discount, though you’re likely to also find some real gems at real prices too. They aren’t charging for vendor spaces, so you can go as both a seller and a buyer. More info at facebook.com/kingstonartistcollective.