Jul 142013

By Charles McEnerney.

A picture from last year's Green River Festival. Photo: Charles McEnerney

A picture from last year’s Green River Festival. Photo: Charles McEnerney

One of the best music festivals in New England is the annual Green River Festival, which takes place in Greenfield, Massachusetts—this year on July 20-21, 2013—along with its own hot air balloon festival.

Taking place on a giant, grassy field on the Greenfield Community College property, the festival’s focus could be described as Americana and roots, including blues, bluegrass, Cajun, folk, funk, old timey, reggae, rock, zydeco, and beyond.

The festival has been running since 1986 and celebrates its 27th festival this year. It was started by Jim Olsen, co-founder of Signature Sounds Recordings, which has released albums by Josh Ritter, Erin McKeown, Winterpills, Lori McKenna, Chris Smither, and several dozen other acts. Olsen was the program director at WRSI before that and has served as the music director and talent buyer for the festival since its inception. Olsen was on the original planning committee along with Ann Hamilton and Bob Diamond, who merged a music festival with the balloon festival back in 1987.

Read my review of the 2012 festival.

The festival is family friendly, no alcohol is served, and there are always great activities for children at a variety of ages. It’s easy to get in and out of the parking lot and from the parking lot to the concert site. Get there early, though, to get parking in the closest lot and so you don’t have to park in the farther lot and take the shuttle bus. There are plenty of food vendors, but some tips on what you can bring in can be found here.

I’ve been going to the Green River Festival since 2002 (where I took a hot air balloon, myself), and this year looks like another stellar line-up. I’m looking forward to seeing acts I know and some that I’ve just heard some good buzz about. Here’s a handful I’m looking forward to the most.

‪Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside‬‪: I Swear

Bombino – Azamane Tiliade

Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole @ Barbican

Slaid Cleaves – Still Fighting the War

JD McPherson – “Scratching Circles”

“Super Stupid” by the Bernie Worrell Orchestra

Jim Lauderdale & Ralph Stanley, ‘She’s Looking At Me’

Caravan of Thieves, “Rattle Snake”

‪Todd Snider‬‪ Live: “Tension”‬‬

‪Jeffrey Foucault‬: “Everybody’s Famous”

GOGOL BORDELLO – Trans-Continental Hustle (official video)

‪Brandi Carlile‬‪ – That Wasn’t Me‬

Ryan Montbleau & Tall Heights – Fast Car

The Devil Makes Three: Graveyard

The Ska-tallites

Spirit Family Reunion: Tiny Desk Concert from NPR Music


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