From July 10–12, the Greenfield Community College hosts the Green River Festival in celebration of world-class music, great local food, beer and wine, a handmade-crafts fair and family games and activities.
“I love how manageable the festival is,” says Flora Reed of festival organizer Signature Sounds. “You get to see big names like Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson and Norah Jones in a very easy to navigate festival setting.”
The Green River Festival will host legendary performers from many genres of music, from folk to indie rock, from reggae to Cajun and Zydeco, and from Alternative Country to blues. There will be over 30 bands on three stages.
“Last year, the festival completely sold out in advance for the first time, so it’s been expanded to three days,” says Reed. “Friday night will feature a Signature Sounds 20th anniversary celebration and a Latin Music stage with M.A.K.U. Sound System, Cuchito Valdes and more. It’s going to be a great way to kick off the festival.”
And this year, Reed calls the lineup “one of our most diverse and deepest ever.” She continues, “Any festival where you can see Tune-Yards, Steve Earle, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, J Mascis, and Punch Brothers over the course of one weekend is pretty incredible.”
Nevertheless, the festival is only the icing on the cake on a trip to an area that is a vacation destination all on its own. “Western Massachusetts is a very beautiful part of the world, set at the foot of the Berkshires,” says Reed. “The area has some of the most fertile farmland in the country — we have farm stands on every corner, farmer’s markets in virtually every town, CSAs, great hiking and swimming holes in the summer. You can also kayak or tube down the Deerfield river.”
Children under the age of 10 are not only admitted to the event for free, but all the games and activities for them are free as well. “I personally love how family friendly the festival is. There are so many activities for kids to take part in,” says Reed.
There will be children’s music performers, a kids activity tent, games, circus acts, a Mardi Gras parade and lots of surprises. What’s more, a lush lawn offers the ideal space to step away for a good game of frisbee.
A festival for foodies
Some of the best restaurants from the Pioneer Valley will showcase their delicious food at the Green River Festival — from burgers and pizza to ethnic and vegetarian specialties. Safe room for dessert.
Beer and wine tent
The Green River Festival welcomes back The Berkshire Brewing Company’s beer and wine tent, where guests can enjoy a premium micro-brew or a glass of local wine.
The Maker’s Market
Another highlight is the Maker’s Market, a collective of Western Massachusetts’ finest artisans with a plethora of handmade crafts and jewelry.
Up in the air
One splendid — and certain — way to make your weekend unforgettable is to book a hot-air balloon ride and float over the festival and down the valley.
A spectacular balloon glow awaits Saturday night. “We are the only music festival in the country that features hot air balloon rides and illuminations,” Reed points out. “The illumination is gorgeous with 10 or more balloons lit up and standing on the lower field while the headlining band closes out the evening. It’s my favorite part of the festival.”