will host a series of late-night song swaps, mini-showcases and open song circles during the 25th annual Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, August 1-4, in partnership with Pirate Camp, which was informally launched by Stuart Kabak and the late Jack Hardy a decade ago to provide a warm and welcoming haven for sharing music, food and camaraderie.

FalconRidgeFolkFest-300One of the Northeast’s most popular music festivals, Falcon Ridge takes place at Dodd’s Farm on Route 7D in Hillsdale, New York, located in the foothills of the Berkshires, near the tri-state corner of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Falcon Ridge features dozens of artists performing on several stages, a dance tent, children’s music and activities, and a wide array of crafts, food and other vendors. Among the artists performing this year will be CJ Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band, Mary Gauthier, Vance Gilbert, Eliza Gilkyson, The Grand Slambovians (always a highlight at the dance tent), The Kennedys, Jay Mankita, Mike Ford & Dave Matheson (formerly of Moxy Fruvous), Dan Navarro, Nerissa & Katryna Nields, Red Molly, The Jason Spooner Band, Spuyten Duyvil, The Stray Birds, Susan Werner, Dar Williams, and more.

Besides individual artist/band showcases and a Sunday morning Gospel Wake-Up Call on the Main Stage, song swaps featuring various combinations of the festival’s’ featured artists will take place on the Workshop Stage. These include “The Grace Notes: Songs of Eric Lowen (hosted by Dan Navarro) and swaps with such titles as “Advanced String Theory,” “Beatles forever,” “Hardly, Strictly the Blues,” “Our Roots Are Showing,” Rolling in the Aisles” and “Sweet Harmony.” Singer-songwriter and consummate entertainer Vance Gilbert also leads a popular Performance Skills Critique session on Friday. The Dance Stage will be going from morning to night (early morning hours, actually), with bands providing music for Cajun, contra, square, swing dancing and more. A number of the festival’s featured artists also will perform on the Family Stage over the weekend.

As previously reported, 24 artists/bands have been selected from among hundreds of applicants to perform in the Falcon Ridge/Grassy Hill Emerging Artists Showcase on Friday afternoon, Aug. 1, from noon to 4:30 p.m. Again, listed in order of appearance, they are: Carrie Ferguson, The Bones of J.R. Jones, Bethel Steele, Tall Heights, Darlingside, Martin Swinger, Annalivia, Doug Allen, Amanda Pearcy, Phil Henry Acoustic Trio, Amy Black, Reverend TJ McGlinchey, The Boxcar Lilies, Connor Garvey, Brad Yoder Duo, Roosevelt Dime, Doug Kwartler, Jonah Tolchin, Noble Hunter, Bobtown, Jacob Latham, Rachael Sage, Michael Braunfeld and Cricket Tell the Weather.

The Emerging Artists Showcase is not a contest, and artists won’t be judged per se, although the audience is surveyed as to which artists they’d like to see return next year to participate in a Most Wanted Song Swap.

This year’s Most Wanted Song Swap will feature Long Island-based folk harmony trio Gathering Time, Storrs, CT-based Americana-roots band Poor Old Shine, and the engaging and uplifting Hudson Valley, NY-based folk-pop trio The YaYas.

Late-Night Music is a Festival Highlight

Stuart Kabak and's Michael Kornfeld at Pirate Camp in 2012 (Photo: Michelle Diano)

Stuart Kabak and’s Michael Kornfeld at Pirate Camp (Photo: Michelle Diano)

One of the true highlights of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival – for those who opt to camp on-site and stay up through the early morning hours – are the impromptu jams, after-hours song circles and unplugged mini-showcases that help foster a sense of “folk” community and provide a different kind of festival experience. joined with Tribes Hill, a Hudson Valley-based collective uniting musicians and their patrons, for many years in hosting late-night music under a big white tent. For the second consecutive year, is pleased to partner with Pirate Camp in hosting late-night song swaps, mini-showcases and open song circles. Pirate Camp was originally started by Jack Hardy and Stuart Kabak, both longtime Falcon Ridge attendees, who flew the Jolly Roger so that friends could more easily find their campsite. “It turned out that we had more friends than we could have ever imagined,” says Kabak. Over the years, the two friends assembled their own camp kitchen, covered lounge, fireplace, mowed lawn, and even a heated camp shower. Throughout the day, people would stop by and share a tune or just schmooze. After the festival’s main stage shut down for the night, a song circle would open up at Pirate Camp and run through the wee hours of the morning.

More than three years after Jack Hardy’s passing, Pirate Camp retains much of its initial spirit. The partnership with adds a new element, designed in part to help keep Pirate Camp alive and vibrant. Musical festivities at Pirate Camp begin with an open song circle on Thursday night at 11 p.m. (following the artist showcases at The Lounge Stage), to which folks are invited to bring their instruments, voices and ears. Invitational song swaps and mini-showcases are slated for Friday and Saturday overnight, while an open song circle may extend from 2 a.m. to dawn on Sunday. These will take place under a 10’ X 30’ white tarp adorned with flags and banners, featuring a carpeted stage and stage lights, and located in the lower left/northeast section of the 10-acre field (lower meadow).

Yarr, All Ye Pirates and Chantey Singers!

Stuart Markus will lead a Pirate Partyand Chantey Sing, with all songs in the key of Sea. (Photo: Robert Berkowitz/

Stuart Markus will lead a Pirate Party & Chantey Sing at Pirate Camp, with all songs in the key of Sea. (Photo: Robert Berkowitz/

Special dinnertime music at Pirate Camp also is planned for Friday, following the Emerging Artists Showcase. Gathering Time’s Stuart Markus, who also is known in New York City and on Long Island as a chanteyman, will celebrate his birthday festival weekend by leading a chantey sing and pirate party from 4:45-6 p.m.. All are invited to join the crew and sing along o’er the wind and waves, as was done on the tall ships. No need to fret if you don’t know the songs; you’ll pick them up quickly. “Come in costume and add to the fun as we splice the main brace,” says Markus, noting that concertinas, mandolins, banjos and fiddles are especially welcome. “All songs will be in the key of Sea,” he adds. Following the Prate Party, Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes will perform a lively 30-minute set of original indie folk-pop music and possibly cover one of Jack Hardy’s songs. Camp Music Schedule

Thursday Night

11:00 p.m Open Song Circle


4:45 p.m. Pirate Party and Chantey Sing (led by Stuart Markus)
6:00 p.m. Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes

12:15 a.m. The Boxcar Lilies, Carrie Ferguson, Amanda Pearcy
12:45 a.m. Honor Finnegan, Gathering Time, The YaYas
1:15 a.m. Mara Levine (with Gathering Time)
1:25 a.m. Bobtown
1:35 a.m. The Maine Event: Connor Garvey, Heather Pierson, Putnam Smith, Martin Swinger
2:15 a.m. Folk Bandemonium: Miles to Dayton and Pesky J. Nixon

Saturday Overnight

12:00 a.m. Susan Kane, Karyn Oliver, Kat Quinn
12:30 a.m. Michael Braunfeld, Phil Henry Acoustic Trio, Rob Lytle
1:00 a.m. Freebo, Paul Sachs, Brad Yoder Duo
1:30 a.m. Jeremiah Birnbaum, Marci Geller, Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes
2:00 a.m. Open Song Circle