After attending the Green River Festival last year, the boyfriend and I decided that we’re making it an annual event. It’s a two-day music festival in July on the campus of Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, Massachusetts. If you’re in New England for July and like a mix of folk, rock, jazz, and a little bit of funk or hip hop, you’ll find something to move to at Green River. The vibe is laid back, the whole evening is family-friendly, and they’ve even started selling beer. There’s everything from hot dogs to hot air balloon rides and I wanted to give you a feel for how awesome this year’s festival was.
It’s an eclectic mix at Green River. Literally, darlings, there’s something for everyone. The worst part is not getting to see everything.
We started Saturday shaking it with the Dirty Bourbon River Show. They bill themselves as “New Orleans big brass circus rock” and hot damn you cannot resist dancing. After dancing and hula hooping with them for awhile, we checked out the Snaz, a band made up of high schoolers from Brattleboro, Vermont. Their song “Anna” had been playing on local radio stations after they cleaned up in several local battle of the bands.
We stopped briefly for a song with the Gaslight Tinkers where “Northern Fiddle, Afro-pop, Caribbean, Reggae, Funk, and Latin grooves meet traditional.” Then, while we ate eggrolls filled with beet risotto and Tex-Mex chicken, we caught the end of the Debo Band playing their brand of Ethiopian pop. Both were super danceable and are queued up in my Spotify playlists for closer listening.
During the dinner hours, we munched on more food truck grub (red coconut curry dumplings from one truck and barbecued ribs from another) and walked between sets of Norah Jones’s new country group Puss ‘N’ Boots and more New Orleans brass from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
We sipped beers and grabbed choice spots for Lucius while the hot air balloons began to fill the sky. Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig sing their catchy, heart-grabbing pop music in unison, and to complement their shared voice on stage, their outfits always match, mirroring each other as they rock out and play back-up percussion. If you only see one act this year, see Lucius.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue closed Saturday night with a bang of high energy funk. They stepped up with some awesome brass solos, jazz improvisation, and lots of energy.
We kicked the day off with some 50s-inspired country rock courtesy of Girls Guns & Glory. After wandering through the craft vendors and buying a wind chime made of spoons, we got a spot in the crowd to see Ana Tijoux. You might know “1977” from its feature in a Breaking Bad episode. Tijoux is French-Chilean; her music is infused with personal and political story telling. She’s the first hip hop artist to perform at Green River and hopefully not the last.
We finished up our day with Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and Trampled by Turtles. Lady Lamb was my Sunday evening highlight. Her quiet, whimsical name is in contrast to the passionate music she makes while singing and playing guitar on stage. I may be guilty of having Lucius on repeat in the car lately, but Lady Lamb is up next and I’m excited to get to know her better.
Sunday’s a shorter day at Green River. The closing act starts around 6pm and finishes around 8:30. It rained a bit in late afternoon, so we skipped Josh Ritter in favor of a change of clothes and some pizza. Sorry, Josh!
There were so many artists we didn’t get a chance to hear and many plates of food that didn’t make it to our bellies. Every year, we’re going to try to fit a little more in.
Early bird tickets go on sale in March. There’s no on-site camping, but there’s plenty of camping in the surrounding area as well as a few motel options. Make it a plan for next summer, darlings, it’s a choice New England weekend getaway.
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