- Jerry L. Thompson
- Maya Lin's "Wavefield" at Storm King
Visible from the New York State Thruway in Orange County like some far-off psychedelic dream, the 500-acre Storm King Art Center (est. 1960) is an outdoor paradise of massive modern sculpture that includes permanently installed pieces by Alexander Calder, Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, and others. This year alongside those works are David Smith’s series “The White Sculptures” and Heather Hart’s piece Outlooks (both on view through November 12). Open from 10am to 5:30pm weekdays and 10am to 8:30 summer weekends, the park offers guided trolley rides and group tours, bike rentals, children’s workshops, food and beverages at the Storm King Cafe, and special events (check website).
- Kayla Nales
- Heather Hart's "Oracle of Lacuna" installation at Storm King
- Todd Norwood
- Melissa Citro and Clay Hilley perform in "Dimitrij" this summer.
Bard College’s annual SummerScape remains one of America’s most acclaimed multidisciplinary arts events. In addition to its Bard Music Festival component, which focuses on a different composer each year—for 2017 it’s Fryderyk Chopin—SummerScape boasts seven weeks of related opera, dance, music, theater, cabaret, and film. Besides concerts by the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bard president Leon Botstein, festival highlights include a fully staged production of Dvorak’s “Dimitrij”; the New York City Ballet MOVE’s “Dances at a Gathering”; the Wooster Group’s theatrical production “A Pink Chair in Place of a Fake Antique”; appearances by Sandra Bernhardt and John Waters (!); jazz from Wynton Marsalis (both his octet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra) and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks; and cabaret and small-scale performances in the Spiegeltent.
- Paul Kolnik
- New York City Ballet Move's Sean Suozzi and Ensemble perform at Bard's SummerScape.
- Solid Sound Festival at Mass MoCA
After a requisite year off, the intelligently hip, Wilco-curated gathering returns to the Mass MoCA compound in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, with one of its most, er, solid lineups yet: Television, Kurt Vile and the Violators, the Shaggs (!), Peter Wolf and the Midnight Travelers, Robert Glasper Experiment, Dave and Phil Alvin, Deep Sea Diver, Big Thief, Jeff Parker Trio, Alloy Orchestra, and more—including, of course, Wilco and several of their enticing side projects. Plus there’s comedy by John Hodgman, Michael Ian Black, Eugene Mirman, and others. Admission also includes access to the recently expanded Mass MoCA museum.
- Jeff Tweedy
The mother of all Northeast roots-rock-jam fests once again lords over Hunter Mountain. 2017’s headliners are Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Steve Miller Band, and String Cheese Incident are abetted by Peter Frampton, the Head and the Heart, Gary Clark, Jr., Michael Franti and Spearhead, Matisyahu, the Strumbellas, Shovels & Rope, the Revivalists, Amy Helm, Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, Lukas Nelson, Moon Hooch, Marco Benevento, the Band of Heathens, Chuck Prophet, Nicole Atkins, and much more.
- Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park
Also known as Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, this tried-and-true outing in honor of the ecological advocacy of patron saint Pete Seeger at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson is back again, this time with Lake Street Dive, Los Lobos, Arlo Guthrie, Richard Thompson, a reunion by Dar Williams’s trio Cry Cry Cry, Josh Ritter, Nick Lowe, Alejandro Escovedo, Tommy Emmanuel, Joan Osbourne, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, Tom Paxton, Holly Near, David Amram, Tom Chapin, Guy Davis, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Josh Whie, Jr., and others.
Summertide (July 7-9)
Musical foodies and amateur (or professional) sommeliers should feast their ears and palates on this taste-filled new fest. Presented by Cascade Mountain Winery and Restaurant on the occasion of the eatery’s 40th anniversary, the weekend takes place on a 20-acre pasture in Amenia with stunning views of Connecticut’s nearby Litchfield Hills. Complementing the fine hand-crafted libations and locally sourced food from a host of regional vendors are live sets by singer-songwriters Jonathan Edwards (“Sunshine”) and Jess Colin Young (the Youngbloods) and area players Kerri Powers, Cole Quest and the City Pickers, Elissa Jones, Advanced Phunk, Peter Muller Band, and the Ram Miles Trio.
Glimmerglass Festival (July 7-August 22)
Founded in 1975 by the opera company that bears its name, Glimmerglass is the second-largest opera festival in the United States and takes place at the glorious Alice Busch Opera Theater on Otsego Lake, near Cooperstown. Every summer, Glimmerglass presents four feature productions performed in a rotating repertory. This season, the 914-seat theater unveils George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!,” Handel’s “Xerxes,” and Donzinetti’s “The Siege of Calais.” Second-stage events include youth theater performances.
MORE MUSIC FESTIVALS:
Green River (July 14-16)
This long-running (since 1986), multicultural folk-roots fave occurs at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, Massachusetts. The lineup this year, as always, puts the accent on Anglo-American traditions while remaining reliably diverse: the Mavericks, Lake Street Dive, NRBQ’s Big Al Anderson, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, the Funky Meters, Amadou and Mariam, Pokey LaFarge, the Sweetback Sisters, Infamous Stringdusters, Darlingside, Chicano Batman, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, Robbie Fulks, Pedrito Martinez Group, Dan Bern, and lots more.
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (August 4-6)
Falcon Ridge flies back to Dodds Farm in Hillsdale for another long weekend of rollicking music and dance at the foot of the Berkshires. Acts taking to its four stages this time around include Eric Andersen, Sawyer Fredericks, David Massengill, Joe Crookston, the Adam Ezra Group, Abbie Gardner, Jimmy LaFave, Vishten, the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Upstate Rubdown, the Nields, Rod McDonald, ZydeGroove, and others. On-site camping is available, and campground activities such as song swaps and round robins hosted by patrons abound, as do specially selected food and craft vendors.
0+ Poughkeepsie (August 5)
With offshoots now in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and Haverhill, Massachusetts, the revolutionary, Kingston-born celebration dedicated to exchanging art for medicine sets its sights right down the road, to the Queen City of the Hudson. In addition to a curated selection of public works by muralists and artists using other mediums, the inaugural 0+ Poughkeepsie will feature music at multiple venues by Holly Miranda, Knock Yourself Out, Dustbowl Fairies, Pontoon, Decorum, the Funk Junkies, Ramblin’ Jug Stompers, Corey Dandridge and Salt, and, among many more, festival founders Monogold—all playing in exchange for care from participating medical and wellness practitioners.
Hudson SummerFest (August 19)
No longer merely a townwide open mike, this fun function in Hudson leaps to the next level with headliners NRBQ, who bring their rarely seen brass section, the Whole Wheat Horns, to the event’s new, fixed site at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. Also: the Zolla Boys, the Matchstick Architects, the Fabulous Versatones, Too Blue, and individual roving artists from the resident Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Food and beverage vendors curated by the FarmOn! Foundation and a craft/maker tent sponsored by Etsy and the Hudson Area Library will be on hand. Admission proceeds benefit the library, FarmOn!, and the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.
Summer Hoot (August 25-27)
The Ashokan Center’s family-perfect outdoor jubilee of world-class folk-roots music, dancing, camping, hiking, food, and crafts is back for three days in its beatific Olivebridge environs. Hosted by Mike & Ruthy, the happening hoedown once again promises performances by the head hooters themselves and their elders, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason (Ruthy’s dad and stepmom), as well as Rhett Miller, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Dan Bern, Sweetback Sisters, the Mammals, the Downhill Strugglers, Arm-of-the-Sea Puppet Theater, and more. Get yer hoot on!
Meltasia (September 8-10)
When the American wing of the international All Tomorrow’s Parties festival vacated its Sullivan County home before eventually imploding, music lovers in the Hudson Valley who lean toward edgy, nonmainstream sounds were crestfallen. Riding to the rescue is upstate/downstate scenemaker Andy Animal and his crew with the magnificent Meltasia, which here marks its second local year by debuting at a new site, the Blackthorne Resort in East Durham. Bands are still being added as we go to press, but on the bill so far are Rory Erickson, Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan, Pissed Jeans, Mungo Jerry (“In the Summertime”), Giuda, Midnight, A Giant Dog, and a Kiss tribute by students of the Paul Green Rock Academy.
Tanglewood (June 16-September 3)
This beloved outdoor music/performance festival is chiefly identified with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which has summered here since 1937, and James Taylor, who has been a staple act for decades. Taylor returns this year (July 3-4), as does the BSO’s standard full schedule of symphonic concerts. Also booked: Joan Baez with Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls (June 17), Joey Alexander (June 23), John Mellencamp (July 1), Natalie Merchant (July 2), Sondheim on Sondheim with the Boston Pops (July 8), Yo-Yo Ma (August 6), the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music (August 10-14), Joshua Bell (August 16), John Williams’s Film Night (with the composer conducting; August 19), Sting (August 29), Diana Ross (August 30), the Avett Brothers (September 1), and more.
- Christopher Duggan
- Camille A. Brown & dancers Fana Fraser at Beatrice Capote perform "Black Girl: A Linguistic Play" August 9-13 at Jacob's Pillow.
Founded by dancer Ted Shawn in 1931, Jacob’s Pillow dance center, school, and performance space in Beckett, Massachusetts, is home to the oldest internationally acclaimed summer dance festival in the United States. For this, its 85th season, the Pillow is packed: the Miami City Ballet and Jonah Boker Choreography (both June 21-25), Michelle Dorrance and NW Dance Project (both June 28-July 2), Jessica Lang Dance and Faye Driscoll (both July 5-9), Paul Taylor Dance Company and Roy Assaf Dance (both July 12-16), Compaigne Marie Chouinard and Aakaesh Odera (both July 19-23), Dendy/Donovan Project’s “Elvis Everywhere” (August 9-13), Trisha Brown Dance Company (August 16-19), and Compania Irene Rodriguez (August 16-20) are just a few of the attractions.
Turn Park Art Space (seasonal; ongoing)
Opened just last month, Turn Park Art Space, in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is the latest addition the thriving Berkshires arts scene. The converted stone quarry features open sculpture fields, a stone amphitheater, and roaming dancers and musicians who perform in colorful costumes. As of this writing no live entertainment events have been scheduled at the adaptive-reuse industrial site, but currently on view are three enticing art exhibitions: illustrator Nikolai Silis’s “Don Quixote Graphic Series” (through October 15), sculptors Ben Butler and Jim Holl’s “Wooden Forms” (July 15-September 1), and a collection of paintings by renowned jazz bassist Alex Rostotsky (August 19-November 15).
Powerhouse Theater (June 23-July 30)
Since 1985, Powerhouse Theater has brought fully produced plays, staged readings of works-in-progress, and musical workshops to the campus of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, which also serves as the home of Powerhouse’s acclaimed resident theatrical training program. This season includes new works by Tony winners Lisa Kron and Duncan Sheik; “How I Met Your Mother” star and Powerhouse regular Josh Radnor; Hedwig and the Angry Inch composer Stephen Trask; stage and screen star and playwright Hamish Linklater; and two-time Pulitzer Prize for Drama recipient Lynn Nottage, among many others. Also present are some of the industry’s leading theater directors, including Tony winners Sam Gold and Michael Mayer, Tony nominees Scott Ellis and Sheryl Kaller, and OBIE winner Trip Cullman.
- Robin Williams in "Moscow on the Hudson"
A few minutes’ drive from Hudson, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century aka PS21 presents live music, dance, and theater under its beautiful saddlespan tent (construction recently began on a permanent pavilion) in a Chatham apple orchard. Among its many plum picks this season are concerts by the opener, klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals (July 15), pianists Lincoln Mayorga (July 16) and Simone Dinnerstein (July 22), and blueswomen Rory Block and Cindy Cashdollar (July 29). Theater includes “Before the Sun and the Moon” by Mettawee River Theater (July 26) and staged readings; the dance component features Parsons Dance (August 4), Monica Bill Barnes & Company (August 18), Ephrat Asherie Dance (August 25), and more.
- Lois Saff
- Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice
In less than 10 years, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice has risen to become one of the Hudson Valley’s indispensable cultural staples. The annual vocal music festival programs an ever-changing variety of performance styles that include, but are not limited to, opera, gospel, ethnic folk, and musical theater. On its one-weekend-only calendar are “A French Affair,” featuring the works of Piaff, Brel, and Offenbach (August 4), “Les Trois Mousquetaires,” an original new operatic adaptation of Dumas’s “The Three Musketeers” (August 5), Puccini’s La Boheme (August 6), and “The Spiritual Side of Duke,” an homage to Duke Ellington’s famed sacred concerts (August 7).
- Justin Swader
- Alex Glossman and Tom Teti perform in "Red" at Shadowland Stages.
Constructed in the 1920s as vaudeville/silent movie house the Shadowland Theatre, this Ellenville institution rebranded itself last year as Shadowland Stages in a move to put the focus on the classic and visionary contemporary productions put forth on its multiple stages. Shadowland’s current summer-into-fall schedule has Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” (June 2-25), Gino Dilorio’s “The Jag” (June 30-July 16), Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner” (July 21-August 13), Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair’s “Murder for Two” (August 18-September 10), David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Ripcord” (September 15-October 1), and Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced” (October 6-22).
- Live music at Luther Barn at the Wassaic Project
The dream continues to be lived by artists of all stripes and their admirers at Wassaic Project, a magical mill-complex-turned-arts-utopia in the Dutchess County hamlet of Wassaic. The compound’s summer season officially kicked off last month with an opening by resident artists, which recurs the last Saturday of every month through October. A benefit in support of the site’s summer events takes place on June 10, followed by the July Festival of music on July 1; the intriguing Heather Metal Parking Lot (“a massive bonfire, heavy metal DJs, event-inspired artist projects and films, beer pong, making out in the woods with strangers,” etc.) on July 12; the August Festival of dance and film on August 12; the Sandwich Summit on September 23; and more.
- Charles Erickson
- An ensemble dance scene from the 2016 production of "As You Like It" at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
When it comes to Shakespeare, this delightfully different series is beloved by longtime lovers of the dean of all playwrights as well as audiences of all ages who are new to his timeless works. Performed outdoors on the grounds of the Boscobel estate in Garrison, HVSF spans approximately 12 weeks and is known to attract as many as 35,000 attendees from the Hudson Valley, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and well beyond to its lush lawn and capacity open-air theater tent to take in classics by the Bard and other productions. This summer’s roster has his “Twelfth Night” (June 16-August 27) and “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (August 14-29) plus an adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” (June 24-September 4) and the original “Book of Will” (June 22-July 28).
- A mashup of the cast of "Twelfth Night" with David Ryan Smith as Duke Orsino, performing as part of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival