In its sixth year, the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival has put together its most impressive lineup yet, and is becoming a bigger event in other ways, as well.
The most obvious sign of the festival’s growth is the booking of two huge names in the roots music world, John Prine (in his only area appearance of the summer) and Steve Earle, to co-headline.
“When I first started this festival five years ago, on my 50th birthday,” said founder Joe D’Urso, in a press release, “I hoped to see it grow and bring in many of the world’s best songwriters as well as involve more local charities and communities in both Rockland and Bergen counties. Both counties have been underserved with outdoor entertainment/national talent over the years.
“I had a few ‘goal’ songwriters in mind when I started and I am extremely proud to present John Prine and Steve Earle this year, as they were part of the ‘goal’ writers I was thinking about.”
There will also be, simply, more music than ever at the festival: It will include 10 events over five days, including the first Rockland County Music Awards.
Also, 16 local charities will be on site at the festival’s Circle of Hope at German Masonic Park in Tappan, N.Y., June 22-23.
“Having the amount of local charities involved at RBMF each year is just as important to me as having some of our country’s best songwriters performing,” said D’Urso, a board member of both WHY Hunger and Light of Day. “I always joke that the weekend of RBMF is my inner Harry Chapin and Pete Seeger exploding, as my goal from day one was to have every single person who walks into German Masonic Park make a connection with one of the organizations that we have on site each day. Not just a donation/drop in the bucket, but making that organization a part of their lives for years to come.”
In other new twists, City Winery will be selling some of its own wines at German Masonic Park, and a beer garden will feature local craft beer.
Early bird tickets are on sale through May 12; visit rbmfestival.com.
Here is the festival’s schedule, with more acts to be added later.
Levity Live, West Nyack, N.Y.: Rockland County Music Awards. Honorees will be announced in the June issue of Rivertown magazine.
• The Turning Point, Piermont, N.Y.: Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes, McMule, Joe D’Urso’s Acoustic Excursion.
• The ’76 House, Tappan, N.Y.: School of Rock Orangeburg
• The Turning Point, Piermont, N.Y.: Miss Emily, The Slippery Chickens, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan
• The ’76 House, Tappan, N.Y.: The Foxfires
• German Masonic Park, Tappan, N.Y.: Steve Earle & The Dukes, the Willie Nile Band, the James Maddock Band, Jeffrey Gaines, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, Guy Davis, Christine Martucci, The Demos, Johnny Markowski, Adam Falcon, Miss Emily, David Frye, Chihoe Hahn
• The Turning Point, Piermont, N.Y.: Matt Jaffe, Williams Honor, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan
• The ’76 House, Tappan, N.Y.: Bach to Rock
• German Masonic Park, Tappan, N.Y.: John Prine, Donna the Buffalo, Joe Purdy, Williams Honor, Joe D’Urso’s Acoustic Excursion, The Roues Brothers, Anthony D’Amato, Tim O’Donohue & TMU Band, Matt Jaffe, Bobby DiBlasio Band
• The ’76 House, Tappan, N.Y.: Tim O’Donohue & TMU Band