CHEERS to the organizers of music festivals big and small in our area.
This past week marked the 50th anniversary of “an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”, better known as Woodstock.
The sights and sounds of that weekend-long event have been forged into the American consciousness: Hundreds of thousands packed into an upstate New York farm, driven to rock and rollick by some of the most iconic musicians of the day.
But when North Country natives shared their Woodstock memories with the Press-Republican, they told stories familiar to anyone who’s gone to a music fest before.
The rancid bathrooms. The expensive food. The rain and, shortly after, the mud.
To someone who has never attended a festival, that likely sounds pretty miserable.
But as with Woodstock, a music fan stepping onto any festival grounds steps into another world, and what might seem like miseries become fond memories.
And as Plattsburgh resident Steve Jackson described, there come those moments, huddled in the energy of the crowd, speakers booming, where something magical happens.
For Jackson at Woodstock, it was the light show dimming as the sun rose behind The Who.
“It was almost a religious experience,” he recalls.
So how can someone have these experiences? Well, Woodstock was a nearly five-hour drive but, fortunately, there are a smorgasbord of music festivals right around the North Country.
• The Adirondack Independence Music Festival is set for Aug. 31 to Sept. 1 in Lake George: adkmusicfest.com.
• Northern Current, a successor to the former Hobofest, is set for Sept. 1 in Saranac Lake: www.northerncurrentadk.org.
• The Otis Mountain Get Down, held each fall in Elizabethtown, is set for Sept. 6 to Sept 8. Tickets are sold out, but a ticket exchange marketplace is ongoing: otismountain.com.
• The Plattsburgh Bluegrass Festival held its 8th-annual event last weekend at the Clinton County Fairgrounds: ccfairny.com/index.php/speakers/schedule.
(If there are any we've missed, please email Night Editor Ben Rowe at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll shout them out in next week's Cheers and Jeers.)
Looking to our neighbors, Montreal and Burlington both hold a host of festivals each year including Grand Point North in Burlington each fall and Osheaga, one of the biggest festivals in the area, held in Montreal each summer.
Whether you’re a little bit country or a little bit rock’n’roll, or a little bluegrass to a little bit blues, there’s sure to be a festival for you right up the road.
Plattsburgh native Scott Ransom had no idea the festival he was going to would end up being as iconic as it is today, so go check out a festival and make your own memories to look back on 50 years later.