Review and photographs by Stanley Johnson
My first trip to the Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam came with the realization that, although I had never been there, I had seen the place many times from a distance at various locations in Schenectady. So it was with a kind of déjà vu that I made a pretty easy trip (four left turns from the I-88 exit on the Thruway) to the small but spectacular ski center for the fifth annual Rhythm on the Ridge Roots Music Festival last weekend.
The first things I saw on the way were the many piles of branches and broken trees from the recent tornado damage. As we pulled into the festival lot, my next thought was, “Where are all the people?” Well, it had been a very wet week and initial weather forecasts had called for a wet Saturday as well. But it didn’t rain: in fact, within an hour of arrival we had a patch of blue sky overhead. The ground was very soggy but not muddy. There were probably less than a hundred spectators, many of whom were musicians.
Perhaps the attendance was limited by the completely local line-up of American roots musicians without any big name headliners, and perhaps American roots music is too much of a niche genre to draw big crowds, but I think a lot of people just plain missed the ski lift on this one.