Man Man with a young dancer (photo by Timothy Reidy)
Review by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Kirsten Ferguson and Timothy Reidy
The second day of this year’s Restoration Music & Fun Festival, held for the first time at the Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside – a Neo-gothic stone complex perched precariously on a hillside in South Troy – got started early in the afternoon on Saturday with quiet, reverent music. We were in a former church, after all.
Architecturally, the new Rest Fest location – although historically important – couldn’t quite match the towering St. Joseph’s Church in Albany, which last year provided a stunning setting of both beauty and decrepitude: high vaulted ceilings and gorgeous stained glass windows along with chipped walls, leaky ceilings and crumbling plaster depictions of Jesus.
Ownership of St. Joseph’s Church has since returned to the city of Albany, so the purpose of the annual music and arts fest – started four years ago by local music collective B3nson Recording Company to raise funds for the church’s restoration – shifted this year to an equally worthy cause in the Contemporary Artists Center, which is transforming the long vacant church and chapel at Woodside into an arts venue.
Festivalgoers trickled into Woodside’s church with its heavy wooden monastic doors on Saturday as the Accents kicked off the afternoon with subdued and soul-baring folk on the “church stage.” Tor & the Fjords, a project of Albany librarian and songwriter Tor Loney, had just opened the day on the festival’s “chapel stage” with a set of introspective indie. And Matt Durfee & the Rattling Baddlies followed with dark-tinged emotional pop highlighted by a murder ballad based on a true-life love triangle that ended disastrously in Cohoes.