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Green River Music And Balloon Festival! July 19, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in music.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Last weekend saw the 25th Annual Green River Music and Balloon Festival, with spectacular weather and superb weather.  The crowd was huge, filling an upper field by the main stage with tents and umbrellas:

…and a lower field with two more stages and a whole lot of Frisbees:

I timed my arrival to see the amazing NRBQ, a band from my youth, here reincarnated and cookin’:

…with the irrepressible Terry Adams at its helm:

For forty-plus years I’ve been blown away by his open-hand-and-forearm piano playing – he fronts a highly regarded  jazz band in NYC, so it’s not for lack of virtuosity that he plays rock that way.  He’s just… crazy!

There were also great sets by Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears:

…who tore it up on guitar, backed by a horn section which kicked butt.

Another great act was The Carolina Chocolate Drops, four kids who played an amazing blend of Americana and more modern stuff, including an air-bass-playing beat boxer:

…along with banjo, fiddle, jug, bones, washboard and more, and gorgeous ensemble vocals led by a beautiful young lady:

Highly recommended, if you get the chance.  😉

Also fun was Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade, featuring Miss Tess on vocals and guitar:

…and her sidekick, the Sweet and Lowdown:

She smoked!  (Figuratively, of course.)

The afternoon was punctuated by a children’s parade with a New Orleans theme:

…and lots of little kids and Mommies:

The three stages offered far more music than any one person could take in, but I tried – Locos Por Juana laid down some smoking Salsa in the dance tent, driven by a great trombonist:

Rosie Ledet and her Zydeco Playboys had the place jumping:

And to top it all off (for Saturday,  at least!) Toots and the Maytals brought the house down.

That’s Toots:

…and the Maytals:

I last saw Toots and the Maytals when I was in college, and I’ve never forgotten his high-energy show.  Amazingly, he’s still got that vibe, and a great band of old dust-farters who were probably with him since the early Seventies  (except for the ladies, who were a good deal younger.)

The night shots pushed my box to ISO 4000, but I think the results are a lot better than last year.  I was ruthless about getting in there and working the angles with Ollie, my 24-105mm L-Series lens.  Thanks, Ollie.  😉

I split during Toots’ encore, hoping to beat the traffic, but unfortunately enough others had that idea that it still took me an hour to get on the road!

Sunday was another full day of music culminating in a set by Emmylou Harris, but I could only afford one day.  Let’s just assume that it was equally fun.

Next time I’ll have some hot air balloon pics for you, but for tonight, that’s it.

G’Night!  🙂



1. Laurie B - July 19, 2011

Glad you had a great day at Green River Fest, traffic is not much better than a late evening at Tanglewood. Guess what? There are too many people in Western MA. You surely must remember the old Jonathan Edwards and NRBQ early days and all of the other great music that came through at the Tobacco Barn? Great venue, great music. Wish we still had that kind of thing without Iron Horse EG being involved. Pay IHEG to buy tickets, (with box office fees added) for artists they bring into a “buy our crappy food venue” or the “sound system sucks” Calvin. Sweet Jebus, no, I will not and I don’t.

2. littlebangtheory - July 20, 2011

Laurie, Hi 🙂

I’ve been loving the local music scene since the Woodrose Ballroom days (late 60’s?) through the present. I’ve seen lots of top-flite entertainment through the IHEG, though admittedly the food at the Horse proper isn’t much for the money. There are lots of other venues these days, though – the Colonial in Pittsfield has excellent sound, for instance.

Music is an important element in my life, and I’ve made the decision to support touring musicians whom I like regardless of who else takes a piece.

Besides, unless I missed something subtle, IHEG isn’t involved in the Green River Festival – it’s a WRSI thing.

3. susan - July 21, 2011

How sweet to see your pictures of a wonderful day of music and fun. I wish I could have been there. Halifax is not the place to be for great music but I do know shows are outrageously expensive nowadays. I guess bands can’t make any money at all any more from recording so they must tour and promoters take a huge slice.

4. littlebangtheory - July 21, 2011

Actually, Ladies, the hit was pretty reasonable – $45 or so (advance sale price) for ten hours of music from two dozen bands. It’s common in these parts to pay that much to hear 90 minutes of a national act with a local opener. I can’t afford that with any regularity, though I’ll do it on occasion for someone I really want to see.

I brought my own food (which was yummy) and dropped couple of bucks for an excellent cup of coffee, so the day was altogether affordable.

Besides, I considered the occasion to be work. I didn’t have any decent balloon photos and got some interesting ones this time, and the shots of the performers were a big step up from my last attempt. Both of those subject fields are considerably different from the nature photography I mostly do, and I consider them “growth areas.” 🙂

5. gina - July 24, 2011

Great shots! The balloon shots are the most vibrantly colored I’ve seen of the event! So sorry I missed it this year. I was in Holland and Amsterdam, in spite of its many charms, does not have much, if any, music scene.

Did you say you had a nice shot of Emmylou Harris? I’d love to see it. She’s one of my all-time favorite singers, as you know! 🙂

Glad you had fun. Stay cool!

6. littlebangtheory - July 24, 2011

Thanks, Gina. I had fun doing the balloons, working off a tip from Lizz – “Get inside them!” Smart lady. 😉

Sorry, no Emmylou this time – she closed on Sunday, and I went Saturday. I was sorry to miss her, but I wanted to see NRBQ and the balloon illumination and couldn’t afford both days. 😦

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