Heralding the Arrival of Another Happy Heron
There's something special about the western New York festival
Friday, July 6
Flashback five years to July 2013:
"You okay, brother?" I hear a woman's voice — calm, light — ask from somewhere nearby.
I'm crouching down, hurriedly combing around on the ground for all the important crap I'd just let tumble out of my open camera bag.
"You are stopped in a weird spot," I hear the voice say, closer this time.
Sounds like someone must be a little outta sorts somewhere close by, I think to myself. Well, that woman sounds nice, matronly — she'll take good care of them.
And then, before that thought even ended, I realize ... she's talking to me.
"Aw, yeah, I'm fine," I say as I look up and see the woman, who's probably in about her late-50s, pretty and white-haired, with kind eyes, a big, floppy sun hat and a long, flowing skirt.
I get up. She eyes me up. Gives me a friendly smile, puts a hand on my shoulder.
"I'm just a mom," she says on her way back down toward the stage. "Once a mom, always a mom."
I'd only been at my first Great Blue Heron Music Festival for about 10 minutes at that point in time. But, just in that one loved-up little moment, I was already feeling like everyone who makes their way there is part of a really big little family.
That's just kinda the way it is there at those beautiful, lush farming and festival grounds in nearby Sherman, N.Y. There's something special about the Heron, too (it's been doing a whole lot of things right for, oh, 27 years now) and it's safe to say the thousands who make their way there each year would agree.
None of that's even mentioning the festival's lineup: An inclusive musical family reunion spotlighting many of the region's best live performers, the now-annual tradition of headliners Donna the Buffalo, and other toppers including the Felice Brothers, Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad, the Suitcase Junket, the Gunpoets, the Town Pants and Driftwood.
It's one of local summer music fest-lovers' longest-standing traditions, and most deservedly favorite get-downs of every year. Happy Heron, everyone. — Ryan Smith
Friday, July 6 through Sunday, July 8 // 2361 Waits Corners Rd, Sherman, NY // greatblueheron.com