FREE FEST: Hats Off Music Festival in Saratoga This Weekend

July 20th, 2017, 9:00 am by Greg
Erin Harkes

Erin Harkes

Photograph by Tim Reidy

Yes, the race track opens in Saratoga Springs on Friday, and as is the tradition here in the Spa City, the annual Hats Off Music Festival takes over downtown with a variety of free outdoor music on the track’s opening weekend. Performances run from 7-11pm on Friday & Saturday (July 21 & 22).

Unfortunately, the free street fest has been in downsizing mode recently, and this year is no exception. Back in 2011, the fest featured 10 bands at nine different venues around downtown. By 2015 to schedule had shrunk to eight bands at six venues. This year, the fest is down to just five bands – only four on Saturday… But it’s free so I guess we shouldn’t be complaining.

Anyway, here’s a round-up of who’s playing where at the 2017 Hats Off Music Festival:

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FREE: Garage Bands in the Garage @ Albany Public Library

July 19th, 2017, 11:00 am by Greg

The main branch of the Albany Public Library is once again hosting its free Garage Bands in the Garage concert series, beginning on Friday (July 21).

Each concert features a pair of Greater Nippertown bands performing in the Elk Street parking garage behind the Washington Avenue branch of the Albany Public Library. The concerts take place from 6-8pm on select Fridays.

Here’s the 2017 Garage Bands in the Garage schedule:

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FREE FEST: Berne Summerfest @ Berne Town Park

July 19th, 2017, 9:00 am by Greg

The fifth annual Berne Summerfest takes over Berne Town Park in Berne at 3pm on Saturday (July 22) for a full day of fun, music, crafts, food and fireworks.

The children’s tent will feature concerts by Andy “the Music Man” Morse at 3 & 4:30pm, as well as instrument making workshops, a drum circle, games and other activities throughout the day.

Here’s the main stage schedule of music for the 2017 fest:

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FREE: Concerts at the Gazebo in Niskayuna

July 18th, 2017, 9:00 am by Greg

The Concerts at the Gazebo concert series is back at the Niskayuna Town Hall Gazebo again this summer.

The concerts take place at 7pm on Thursday through August 10. Bring a picnic, a lawn chair and your dancin’ shoes to enjoy these free hour-long concerts.

Here’s the schedule of upcoming concerts for 2017:

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FREE: Monday Night Concert Series @ Albany Elks Lodge Lawn

July 17th, 2017, 9:00 am by Greg


Photograph of the Canjo 10s by Alan Goldberg

The Monday Night Concert Series will be held this summer on the Elks Lodge lawn in Albany at 7pm Mondays beginning tonight (July 17). Admission is free.

Here’s the complete schedule of the 2017 Monday Night Concert Series:

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A FEW MINUTES WITH: Amadou Bagayoko of Amadou & Mariam

July 13th, 2017, 1:25 pm by Greg

By Don Wilcock

Where is the home of the blues? Clarksdale, Mississippi? Helena, Arkansas? New Orleans? Chicago?

“The blues was brought to America from Africa,” says Amadou Bagayoko of the Afro-pop duo Amadou & Mariam, who play a free concert at Schenectady’s Music Haven on Sunday evening (July 16).

Talk about the blues! The married couple is from Mali in West Africa that includes portions of the Sahara Desert and has a population of 14.5 million people, 90% Muslim and 50% below the poverty line of $1.25 a day. Both Amadou and his wife, Miriam Doumbia, grew up in Mali’s Institute for the Blind and had to travel to the Ivory Coast to record their first album because Mali had neither producers nor recording studios.

And yet their 2010 album Welcome to Mali was nominated for Best Contemporary World Music Album. They’ve played world renowned festivals from Coachella to Glastonbury. And Bono personally chose them to open for the Johannesburg and Cape Town legs of U2’s 360 Tour in 2011.

In a career that spans three decades and eight albums they have taken their music around the world, performing at Lollapalooza in Chicago in 2008 and playing at the 2010 World Cup in front of 80,000 people and millions of TV viewers.

The New York Times calls their music “all bouncy, perky synth-pop that makes dancing the clear priority.” At first listen their upbeat sound shines a light on what we in America can only imagine might have emerged here had blues immigrated from Africa to the United States without the specter of slavery.

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FREE: Schaghticoke Summer Concert Series

July 13th, 2017, 9:00 am by Greg

The Schaghticoke Summer Concert Series is back for the season at the Schaghticoke Town Hall lawn in Melrose. The concerts take place at 6:30pm on Thursdays (except where noted), and admission is free.

Here’s the complete schedule of upcoming concerts for 2017:

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FREE: Malta Summer Concert Series Kicks Off Tonight

July 12th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Greg

The Malta Summer Concert Series kicks off tonight (Wednesday, July 12) on the front lawn of the Malta Community Center, except where noted below. (In the event of inclement weather, the concerts will move inside.)

Concert-goers are invited to bring picnics, blankets or lawn chairs to the shows, which will be held at 6pm on Wednesday evenings.

Here’s the complete schedule of concerts for the summer of 2017:

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