Archive for the ‘Real Good For Free’ Category

FREE FEST: The StoryHarvest Festival @ Freedom Square on Saturday

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The fifth annual StoryHarvest Festival community celebration, featuring free
food, music, art activities and more, takes place from 3-6pm on Saturday (September
26) in Troy’s Freedom Square. Bring lawn blankets and chairs, plus food to share in the community potluck.

Just as farmers reap the harvest to provide sustenance for all, it is also time to celebrate all our harvests – the results of seeds sown through art, education, agriculture, tolerance and everything we do to help build strong, healthy communities.

The Joe Barna Quartet brings powerhouse jazz to the Freedom Square stage at 3pm, followed by the wildly eclectic NYC-based world music band TriBeCaStan at 4:30pm.



FREE: Lost Radio Rounders’ Third Friday Charity Concert Series Starts on Friday

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Lost Radio Rounders – the vintage Americana duo of Tom Lindsay and Michael Eck – are bringing their annual Third Friday Charity Concert Series to a new venue this fall. The concert series is moving down the road to the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church in Guilderland beginning on Friday (September 18).

At 7pm on the third Friday of the next several months, Lost Radio Rounders will round up some of their musician pals for a benefit concert for a local charity. Admission is free; donations are gratefully accepted.

Friday (September 18)
Guests: Gail Sparlin, Bryan Thomas, Steve Butler
Charity: Community Caregivers

Friday, October 16
Guests: Don McGrory, Alice Oldfather, Ted Hennessey, Amaal Yehia
Charity: Guilderland Interfaith Council Food Pantry

Friday, November 20
Guests: The Bluebillies, Kim Kilby, Niamh Schmid
Charity: TBA

A FEW MINUTES WITH… Paul Pines, Curator of Jazz at the Lake

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
Paul Pines

Paul Pines

Interview and photographs by J Hunter

I’ve emceed a few concerts in my time, and it’s a pretty cush gig – tell a joke or two, give a shout-out to sponsors and/or dignitaries, and try not to mispronounce the name of the act you’re introducing. No heavy lifting is involved, there’s usually food & drink backstage, and occasionally you get a free t-shirt out of the deal. You gotta love that, right? Well, as I discovered when I first attended Jazz at the Lake in 2005, Paul Pines definitely takes the other road.

Sure, the Brooklyn native tells jokes, and he always gets the artists’ names right. But Pines takes the job three steps further – he educates the audience about what they’re about to see, and how it relates to what has come before in jazz. When I first saw Pines do his thing at the jazz fest in Lake George’s Shepard Park, he talked about how one of that day’s acts – vocalist Giacomo Gates – sang “in the spirit of Eddie Jefferson.” Forget that I didn’t know Jefferson was one of a cadre of jazz royalty who played the Tin Palace, a jazz club Pines ran in the ’70s just down the street from CBGB’s; I didn’t know who Eddie Jefferson WAS… but you can be damned sure that I found out, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who did some digging into jazz history after the show was over.

It’s not just that Pines is one of the best minds I know when it comes to this genre; his stage patter isn’t about showing off how much he knows. As the longtime curator of the free Jazz at the Lake festival – which returns to Shepard Park in Lake George this Saturday and Sunday (September 19 & 20) – Pines has taken great pains to make his weekend as far from the “standard jazz festival” experience as possible, and part of that is avoiding the kind of lightweight, commercial fare that’s come to dominate your typical mega-festival. Unlike the bookers for those shows, Pines assumes his audience is of more than average intelligence, so he books bands that don’t insult that intelligence. That said, because of the death-defying – and, occasionally, ear-piercing – qualities of some of his acts, Pines’ introductions are sometimes less about education and more about preparing the crowd for the coming storm.


FREE FEST: Empire State Plaza’s 50th Anniversary Celebration on Wednesday

Monday, September 14th, 2015

The Empire State Plaza at 50 Anniversary Celebration takes place from 12noon-8pm on Wednesday (September 16), featuring a farmers market, a 50th anniversary cake, special tours of the Plaza, a spotlight on the Plaza’s art collection, a panel discussion, and, of course, live music.

And it’s all free.

Here’s the complete, updated schedule of events for the celebration:


FREE FEST: Hispanic Heritage Celebration @ Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Saturday

Friday, September 11th, 2015

The fall festival season continues, and while there are still plenty of outdoor fests coming up on the calendar, this one brings the festivities indoors.

You can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration, a free, one-day fest paying tribute to Latin culture. Rich in tradition, the Hispanic community will come together from 5-10pm on Saturday (September 12) in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center for a colorful pageantry of live music, dance, food and family friendly activities.

Singer of salsa and pop ballads, headliner Alex Matos won the prestigious Casandra Award of the Dominican Republic in 2014 as “Salsero of the Year.”

Here’s the complete line-up of performers at the 2015 Hispanic Heritage Celebration:


FREE FEST: Drum Boogie Festival in Woodstock on Saturday

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Bang a gong…

The fourth biennial Drum Boogie Festival returns to Andy Lee Field on Rock City Road in Woodstock from 11am-8pm on Saturday (September 12). The rain date is Sunday (September 13).

The Drum Boogie Festival is a free, one-day, family-friendly, multi-cultural music festival that celebrates rhythm and diverse styles of music, dance and voice from all around the world. This year’s festival will bring together world-class performers and introduce the audience to an assortment of musical styles that feature percussion including jazz, rock,
classical, African, Balinese, reggae, steel pan and more.

And there’s more to Drum Boogie than just drumming; it’s song, dance, food and family fun. There will also be food trucks and fun children’s activities at the venue.

Hosting the festivities will be Ward Todd, President/CEO of the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce and former Morning Show host at Kingston’s WKNY-AM. Presented by the Woodstock Chimes Fund, this year’s Drum Boogie Festival will support Family of Woodstock’s Domestic Violence Program and will be staffed by Family volunteers. Festival-goers are urged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Here’s the schedule of world-class performers at Saturday’s 2015 Drum Boogie Festival:



Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Interview and story by Don Wilcock

“To be a writer in the world, you need to have all kinds of eyes and ears open all the time and be noticing all kinds of little things and big things,” says Booker T. Jones, who headlines the free Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival at Jennings Landing on Saturday (September 12). “You need to be always looking out as a creative person. I think that’s what I do that alerts me (to things in the musicians’ personality that I’m able to translate into their music).”

In 1962, at a time when Motown had all but turned soul music into lipstick and slinky dresses, Booker T. Jone blended the Ray Charles-Hammond B-3-organ-special soul sauce of “What’d I Say” into a righteous and uproarious instrumental hit single called “Green Onions.” Hand-in-glove with guitarist Steve Cropper, bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn and drummer Al Jackson, Jr., Jones threw out the rule book against mixed-race bands in the south and built Stax Records – and the towering southern soul sound along with it – around his band the MGs, pumping out hit after hit for the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd and Albert King.


FREE FEST: Jazz at the Lake 2015 @ Shepard Park, Lake George

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
Jason Marsalis

Jason Marsalis

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Stanley Johnson

You might know it as the Lake George Jazz Fest. Or maybe as the Lake George Jazz Weekend. But the official name is Jazz at the Lake. The lake is still Lake George, and the jazz still makes it the best jazz fest in Nippertown – bar none.

On Saturday and Sunday, September 19 & 20, the two-day festival returns to the scenic Shepard Park in Lake George, where the shimmering lake serves as the backdrop behind the stage. Sponsored by the Lake George Arts Project, the fest doesn’t bother booking pop acts masquerading as jazz just to attract a crowd. This is a real jazz festival presenting both established and emerging, adventurous musicians who take a wide-ranging, global approach to the music.

And best of all, the entire festival is absolutely FREE.

Here’s the schedule for the 2015 Jazz at the Lake:


Holly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Artist Charles HaymesLeave Regular Radio BehindThe LindaKeep Albany BoringBerkshire On StageAlbany PoetsHudson SoundsDennis Herbert Art