SHERMAN - A summer tradition since 1992, the Great Blue Heron Festival is an annual celebration that brings back thousands of music lovers to the rolling hills of Western New York each July. With a wide variety of live music on three stages - including the intimate Tiger Maple Stage and a big top dance tent that swings through the night - plus instrument workshops, dance lessons, and activities for both children and teens, the festival provides many ways to enjoy the Independence Day weekend. And that is why so many music fans come back year after year, sharing the event with family and friends while camping out among the breezy fields and shady woods that grace the property.
This year's lineup features Rochester's Campbell Brothers and their electrifying blend of blues, rock and African-American gospel known as Sacred Steel, the swinging jazz and classic pop of Brooklyn's Lake Street Dive, and the rough and rowdy string picking of Pittsburgh's Jayke Orvis & the Broken Band. They join Sugar Hill recording artists Donna the Buffalo, whose highly contagious brand of danceable Americana rock has been a crowd-pleasing staple of the event since the very start. The Ithaca-based Americana troubadours were ready to release their 10th studio album Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday on June 18.
Jamestown barnyard stompers Big Leg Emma and Buffalo's scorching roots rocker Alison Pipitone head up a host of regional favorites that include soul-jazz purveyors Smackdab, hard-driving bluesman Ron Yarosz & the Vehicle, steam-powered string band Driftwood, and many more.
A scene from a past Great Blue Heron Festival, which will kick off Friday.
Between performances, go for a swim at the spring-fed pond, take a hike or bike along forested trails, or just relax with coffee at the cozy Cafe in the Woods. The festival midway offers an exotic variety of fresh-cooked fare, as well as artists and vendors offering a wide variety of clothing, jewelry, musical instruments, and other gifts.
As the festival begins their third decade, the core principles of the event remain the same to present a wide assortment of original music from regional and national performers, to create a magical space where festival-goers can interact with the artists and each other, and to foster a positive environment that ensures a safe and satisfying experience.
For tickets and more information, go to www.greatblueheron.com