Press and Media

Rockland-Bergen Music Festival comes to area

NorthJersey.com - May 15, 2014

BY LIANNA ALBRIZIO
STAFF WRITER
PASCACK VALLEY COMMUNITY LIFE

In honor of his 50th birthday, Park Ridge's Joe D'Urso will bring the first-ever Rockland-Bergen Music Festival to the area this summer.

Staged at German Masonic Park in Tappan, N.Y. on June 29, the daylong fete will take place rain or shine from 11:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. on the weekend of D'Urso's June 24 birthday. Those who were born in 1964 like he was will get in for free. For the event, the singer/songwriter has called upon over 20 folk and bluegrass musicians and friends native to the New York metropolitan area to perform at the venue located at 120 Western Highway.

"The Rockland-Bergen area has always been supportive of great musicians," notes D'Urso, who grew up in Tappan.

The set for Sunday's festival will include Grammy winner Tom Chapin, award-winning New York City-based James Maddock, Arlon Bennett, Willie Nile, Marshall Crenshaw, and D'Urso, who will perform with his band, the Stone Caravan. Performances will be held on two stages - one D'Urso is calling, "Glow," named after his late mom, Gloria, which will be designated for bands who will each have 40-minute sets, and "Seeger," named for the late folk legend Pete Seeger, upon which solo acoustic acts will play 25-minute sets. The family-friendly event, which will include vendors Jack Ford, Tequila Sal Y Limon, and Sixpoint Beer, is not only a celebration of D'Urso's milestone, but a dedication to Seeger, who passed away earlier this year.

"I think to any songwriter... it's almost impossible not to have him as an influence," he says.

In 2010, D'Urso shared the stage with him at a John Lennon tribute show and at a WhyHunger benefit concert - an organization of which Seeger was an avid supporter. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will go to WhyHunger - which was founded by the late Harry Chapin in 1975 - of which D'Urso is a longtime board member.

"Activism for me stems from people like Pete [Seeger] and Harry Chapin," he explains. "No matter what they were doing, they could be writing hit songs [and] they... made the time to do events that help out other people."

Throughout his career, D'Urso has helped raise millions of dollars for various charities, eminently, the Light of Day concert series, where he has performed with Bruce Springsteen, Maddock and Nile to raise money for Parkinson's research. In his stomping grounds last November, D'Urso, along with Chapin, and his niece, Jen Chapin, were among the artists who raised $2,250 for WhyHunger at a Hungerthon benefit concert as part of the Acoustic Cafè Music Series. Last month, D'Urso performed with Black 47 for a gig benefiting the Dan Sullivan Foundation, which will also benefit from the festival. Sales from Sunday's festival will also benefit Homes For Heroes, the Volunteer Fire Association of Tappan, Orangetown Auxiliary Police, and the Rockland County Widows and Orphans Fund.

Advanced tickets are $40, $20 for high school and college students on the day of, and free for children 12 and under. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit rocklandmusicfestival.com.

Email: albrizio@northjersey.com