Now Playing: 10 Local Bands

In the Pines festival returns in Beacon

The more things change, the more … you know the words. With Stephen Clair of the Beacon Music Factory resurrecting one of his stable of festivals next month, there was an opportunity to dip into press kits from earlier concerts. For instance, in January 2012, when BMF opened, I wrote:

“The music scene in Philipstown and Beacon has been accelerating for the past decade, with a succession of mini-hubs coming and going, acting as showcases and venues for the many musicians living locally, seeking to perform on their home turf.”

The 11 intervening years have seen some gains in new spaces to hear music — notably The Yard — but also some inevitable losses, many clocked under the category of the large riverside-situated festivals, which eased up as Clair got busier with running BMF and other enterprises.

Part of the impetus for Clair’s founding of BMF was the success of the Rock Boot Camps he’d been operating through Beacon Recreation at University Settlement, all while producing live music events — 15, by his count — many under the auspices of Local 845, a Clair-founded live music production company, and Beacon Riverfest. 

Now it seems the circle will be unbroken again with the return of In the Pines, an indoor-outdoor casual, multi-generational festival, which takes place at University Settlement on Sept. 9, rain or shine— or both, because there will inside and outside stages.

“I moved here in 2007, when only 30 percent of Main Street was occupied,” Clair says. “Around 2009 I got a crazy idea to put on Beacon Riverfest, which happened in 2010 with Tracy Bonham and the Fleshtones. Twenty-seven hundred people came, and they wanted a big free concert on the river so we did it again in 2011, but by then I was already doing all kind of things. 

“What’s been consistent is how much support we’ve always had from the Rec Department,” he adds. “I’m grateful to [Director] Mark Price, who’s made all this happen for years. It is a special event, in a special place. A lot of it is the space itself. Hang out, play with Frisbees and Hula-Hoops. Watch your kids roll around in the mud. If you’ve moved here in the past couple of years and you want to know what’s going on musically, come to this event.”

At the 2023 makeover, the focus will be on rock, Clair says, noting that makes for a change from Riverfest, where the vibe was more indie rock and world music. “This is rock-leaning, though rock is a pretty broad thing,” he says.

The bands — all local — scheduled to perform are Liz Kelly with the Better Half (“Fearless onstage, fun to watch,” says Clair); Marigold (“Has not yet played a local show”); and Harrison Manning (“Famous for Harry’s Hot Sandwiches, now he’s fronting his own indie rock kinda band”), along with Barnaby!, M. Roosevelt, Ears With Eyes, Watson, the Lousin Brothers, Noga Cabo and, of course, the Stephen Clair Band.

“Inevitably, choosing means not choosing everybody,” Clair says. “I don’t think of it that way because I don’t think of this event or any event I produce as an isolated thing. It’s more of a continuum of events, so anybody who fits the bill will be on the bill — some bill — at some point. This is one of many opportunities. That might just sound like gobbledygook, but that’s how I see it.”

University Settlement is located at 724 Wolcott Ave. (Route 9D), in Beacon. The doors will open at 2 p.m., with music from 3 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 at, or $35 at the door. Children younger than 12 will be admitted free. Parking is free; drive toward the theater, turn left and into the fields. Food and drink will be available for purchase from Number Seven Sandwich Hub and Hudson Valley Brewery.

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