LIVE: Troy Triple-Header: Farmer’s Market > River St. Fest > Freedom Fest, 6/15/13

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

Reviews and photographs by Stanley Johnson

The day started with the simple plan of going to the River Street Festival in Troy, one of Nippertown’s best annual urban street festivals.

But first I had to stop at the Farmer’s Market at the Riverfront Park for breakfast, where I discovered that last year’s major construction project had been completed. (I don’t get to Troy real often). The park was beautiful. The new, not-exactly-an-amphitheater, was huge. What a great place for the festival’s main entertainment. Except that it wasn’t…

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Just as well. I’m not going to speculate on the reasons for separating the Farmer’s Market from the River Street Festival. It probably has something to do with the politics and economics of each event’s sponsors. Whatever…

The Nellies

The Nellies

The thing that mattered on a beautiful Saturday afternoon (sorry, I slept late) was that I was sitting by the water, eating great food and watching a great band, in this case the Nellies. Playing a wonderful set of folk-country-mountain-roots music, which I hesitate to also call Americana because they did a perfect-for-a-sunny-day version of “Rain” by the Beatles, the band played to a small but ever-changing group of spectators. Everybody stopped to eat and watch and move on to the next logical area, the River Street Festival.

I got wrapped up for a while checking out the sidewalk art contest. There were about 50 sidewalk squares sporting chalk drawings: First place in the adult category went to “Happy Birthday Lucy Hale” by Teresa Joy Richards, with a close second by Adam Parsley for “Ashley and Aidan.”

I was drawn to the main stage by the sound of Emerald City playing “Keep On Growing” by Derek & the Dominoes, followed by Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady.” I like a band that targets music from the best period in the History of Rock.

Emerald City

Emerald City

But I still had to get to the other end of the fest, where, after checking out many tents and tables full of handmade arts, crafts and stuff, I found Maurizio playing a solo set of great songs like “The Weight,” “Feelin’ Alright” and more.

I had already missed half the festival, with sets by Rich Ortiz, Jocamo, Holly & Evan, Mike Thomas and Molly Durnin. So I stuck around and caught a solo acoustic set by Erin Harkes, who has a powerful sound even without her band.

But the main event, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, were already rockin’ with great crowd-pleasers like “Walk Away Renee,” “Cadillac Jack,” “Talk to Me,” “Havin’ a Party” (featuring “Bolero” during the intro), an excellent Tom Waits cover (“Tango Till They’re Sore”), a Bobby Womack cover (“Lookin’ For a Love”) and, of course, “I Don’t Want To Go Home.”

Well, I didn’t want to go home, either, so instead I went a couple of miles to North Troy, where the Sanctuary for Independent Media was hosting the inaugural Freedom Festival, as the dedication of the new Freedom Square stage. The stage was a riot of colored glass and images, and art was still being created on the rear of the stage walls.

The multi-cultural music there was very danceable, with strong world music grooves from Taina Asili Y Band Rebelde and M.A.K.U. Sound System.

By the time I headed home, I realized I had traveled far beyond the confines of the sprawling River Street Fest and heard great music all over the City of Troy. I’ve got to get there more often…

Erin Harkes

Erin Harkes

Maku Sound System

Maku Sound System

Maurizio

Maurizio

Taina Asili Y La Banda Rebelde

Taina Asili Y La Banda Rebelde

Second Place by Adam Parsley

Second Place by Adam Parsley

First Place by Teresa Joy Richards

First Place by Teresa Joy Richards

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4 Responses to “LIVE: Troy Triple-Header: Farmer’s Market > River St. Fest > Freedom Fest, 6/15/13”

  1. Tim says:

    thanks 4 the recap

  2. PK Miller says:

    The author should have gone to the Family Stage & enjoyed Cavanaugh & Kavanaugh! They put on their usual terrific set of songs for children of all ages if, drowned out the last hour or so by the main stage band! Note to River Street Festival audio techs: entertainment at River Street Festival does NOT need to be heard at SPAC or Tanglewood!

    I also wish, a la Larkfest, drinking could be confined to a beer garden, preferably AWAY from the Main Stage so those of us who do not wish to imbibe (not in that heat–better places to spend the rest of Saturday than the ER in diabetic shock!) do not have to mingle with those who do and have quickly OVER-imbibed. Coping with obnoxious drunks isn’t my idea of fun. And for heaven’s sake, people, PUT YOUR BLOODY PHONES AWAY!!!!! Put them away regardless of their sanguinity, please. NO ONE is impressed by your cellphone, smart, stupid or otherwise! Mother Teresa would probably have a cellphone and my riff on that is waaay beyond PG13! How can you talk on cellphones & DRIVE when you can’t talk on a cell and WALK?????

    Finally, I was disappointed by the lack of a breakout band on the local stage this year, a la Stuck on Stupid, Museum Guards & last year’s Shut Up Tim. It’s always a great–and safe–platform for new & up and coming bands.

    Troy–you do know how to party!

  3. Actually I saw Kavanaugh and Cavanaugh, or is it Cavanaugh and Kavanaugh, several times at the previous weekend’s Rhythm on the Ridge Fest (see my article and story), as well as Holly and Evan. As with most fests, you can’t see everything. But I still wish that next year’s fest headliner in Troy would play next to the river, where there is plenty of seating and great sightlines, although no shade. As far as drinking, some people have no idea how to party responsibly.

  4. Chris Busone says:

    Thanks to Vito for bring Southside to Troy!! Next best thing to seeing The Boss in my backyard.

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