Venues Friendly to Bluegrass in Upstate New York

by Bruno Bruzzese

This list is meant to be a resource for Bluegrass fans and performers alike. It’s not a list of calendared events, rather a survey of venues that have hosted bluegrass regularly or at least from time to time. If you’re looking for a show or a gig in one of these areas check their websites and give them a try. A few calls asking if they have any bluegrass music scheduled might help encourage them to book more!

If you know of other venues that should be on this list or learn of changes that should be posted here, please email suggestions to Bruno Bruzzese.

Note to Performers: Most of these venues are bars and restaurants that won’t pay enough to bring a band in from out of state, but might facilitate a band that is passing through or wants to visit the area. A few that are music venues with professional sound and staging have been highlighted in yellow.


ULSTER COUNTY
(Includes the cities of Woodstock, Kingston and New Paltz)

Bearsville Theater: Bearsville, NY (just outside Woodstock), – They have hosted a Memorial Day Weekend Bluegrass event for the last few years and have had bluegrass bands in their lounge. It’s a place that expects the band to fill the room, but if you can do that it’s a great place to play with professional sound and amazing atmosphere.

Colony: Woodstock, NY, This is a venue with professional sound and stage. They have had bluegrass in their beer garden summer shows but they don’t pay much. Filling their indoor venue depends on the band’s draw, without that it’s likely to be a pretty empty house.

Tinker Street Tavern: Bearsville, NY (next to the Bearsville Theater) Has live music, usually electric but I think they have hired at least one bluegrass band.

Hudson House Distillery: Esopus, NY, – Don’t know much about them but looks like a beautiful venue. I can see they have had at least one Hudson Valley Bluegrass band on a Saturday night.

Snug Harbor Bar and Grill: New Paltz, NY, – New Paltz is a college town. This place has 3 shows a week, don’t know anything about it but I see they have had at least one Bluegrass band in their line up.

Rough Draft Bar and Books: Kingston, NY, – They have several shows a month and have had a couple of Bluegrass Bands

Stonehouse Tavern: Accord, NY, – They present acoustic music and I’ve seen one or two bluegrass bands advertised.

Bad Seed Cider Company: Highlands, NY, – I’ve played an afternoon at their tap room and I can see that some other Bluegrass bands have also been there. It’s an event venue as well and that might be a more profitable angle. It’s on the border of Orange County and I’m guessing there are more than a few wineries and event venues in the area.

GREENE COUNTY
(Includes the city of Catskill and the ski towns of Windham and Hunter)

The Windham Local: Windham, NY – A restaurant that advertises music Friday and Saturday. I see they’ve had at least one Bluegrass band

Windham Mountain Club: Windham, NY, – As of 2024 this has become a private ski slope. In the past they have hosted concerts and Serene Green played there in 2023. I don’t know if the new organization will continue to host concerts.

Hunter Mountain: Hunter, NY, – The Ski Resort has been home to several Country Music festivals through the years. I didn’t find 2024 info for any of them so I’m just listing the resort. They have hosted Taste of Country Festival, TrailBlazer Festival, and Mountain Jam. There might be some openings for Bluegrass at these events.

East Durham Irish Festival: East Durham, NY, – they haven’t posted anything for 2024 yet but it’s been running for almost 50 years and sometimes they have included country bands. I think they might be open to a bluegrass band if you can find your way to a booking contact.

Reidlebauer’s Resort: Round Top, NY, – they have a pretty big weekly BBQ night in the summer with an accoustic country band and I think they’d be open to bluegrass.

Glens Falls House: Round Top, NY, – they advertise live acoustic music and I know they’ve had at least one bluegrass act there.

The Tasting Lab: Greeneville, NY, – They have a small space for a band and provide sound. They’ve had at least one bluegrass-oriented duo there several times. It’s a noisy background music kind of situation.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
(Includes Hudson, NY and a lot of farms that host events)

Union Street Brewing Company: Hudson: NY, Don’t know much about this place but Hudson has become a pretty upscale, artsy town. This place has featured a couple of Bluegrass bands

Roe Jan Brewing Co.: Hillsdale, NY, – Hosts a local bluegrass band a couple of times a month.

Old Tone Roots Music Festival: Hillsdale, NY, – After a short hiatus Old Tone is back!

Adirondacks
(Includes the towns of Lake George, Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls)

Café Lena: Saratoga Springs: NY, Saratoga County, – you probably know of this place, it’s been a folk music headquarters for many decades.

Adirondack Bluegrass League Concert Series: Queensbury, NY, Warren County, – hosts monthly concerts from October to April

Bluegrass In Heaven Festival: Silver Bay, NY – – this festival launched in 2023. They don’t seem to have a website up, but I’m expecting future festivals.

DUTCHESS COUNTY
(Includes the city of Poughkeepsie)

Daryl’s House Club: Pawling, NY, – has a Sunday brunch which sometimes features a bluegrass band. Daryl’s house is a music venue with a large stage, professional sound and lights.

Millerton Community Park: Millerton, NY, – hosts community concerts and has featured bluegrass bands. I don’t know who to contact.

Millbrook Arts Group/Millbrook Bandshell: Millbrook, NY, They have a community concert series and have featured some Bluegrass bands. Maybe this link gives a contact?

Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association: Poughkeepsie, NY, – Hosts a monthly concert series from September through May that features national, regional and some local bluegrass bands.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY

Westchester Bluegrass Club: Purdys, NY, – They host intimate monthly bluegrass concerts

West of the Hudson Valley

The Bainbridge Town Hall Theatre: concert series sponsored by the Jericho Arts Council: Bainbridge, NY, Chenango County, – Looks like they sponsor quite a lot of string band and bluegrass shows in their series.

Stamford, NY Concert Series : Stamford, NY, Delaware County, – this started during Covid as a pretty informal outdoor concert series but they have been organizing and recruiting sponsors and they have a couple of nice venues.

Facebook pages worth checking for ideas:

New York State Bluegrass

Bluegrass music in Upstate and Central New York

Hudson Valley Live Music Directory

Hudson Valley’s Best Live Music

Bruno Bruzzese

Taking up bluegrass fiddle and banjo in high school, Bruno began to play with local and regional bands at festivals and contests.  Over the years he played and recorded in many circles; Bluegrass, Old Time, Country (he played in one Arizona Honky Tonk 4 nights a week for 3 years), Old Time Jazz and Swing, Cowboy Jazz, Texas Swing (he spent 6 years playing at Trad Jazz festivals with a band called Igor's Jazz Cowboys), Trance Dance Jam Bands, New Wave Songwriter Bands, Arabic, Turkish and Armenian folk music and classical Egyptian music. But now he has returned to playing Bluegrass fiddle and is enjoying it, and being enjoyed by others, more than ever before.

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