Badfish, others: Big music fest in LG, Memorial Day Weekend

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Promoter Dave Ehmann at the 2018 Adirondack Independence Music Fest. Concerts are back at the Festival Commons in Lake George, but they won’t be this crowded. Chronicle file photo/Cathy DeDe

Festival Commons at the Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George is back in the music festival business — starting with a “Memorial Meltdown” Memorial Day weekend concert, Thursday to Saturday, May 27 to 29.

The schedule right now includes:
Thursday May 27: Dogs In A Pile.

Friday, May 28: Pink Talking Fish and Dogs In A Pile.

Saturday May 29: Badfish: A Tribute To Sublime + guest opener to be announced.

Tickets will cost $45 a person.

Promoter Dave Ehmann said that at 20 percent capacity, they can accommodate 700 people, plus staff, artists and crew.

“It’s the last 100 tickets at sellout that will determine if we make money or not.”

Mr. Ehmann last year had to cancel his signature Adirondack Independence Music Festival at the last minute. Lead act Twiddle pulled out after Governor Cuomo required — just days before the mid-September show — that spectators at all outdoor concerts remain in their cars throughout the show.

Mr. Ehmann says he is undaunted. “I’m turning 50 this year, and last year I was not able to do anything. We worked hard with Warren County, Administrator Ryan Moore and Lake George Mayor (Bob) Blais, of course, to do this.”

He said spectators will be spaced in marked-off, socially distanced “pods.”

“We are starting with 20 percent capacity, and expecting it will rise so maybe by the time of Adirondack Independence, we can have more. Who knows, though?”

He said five people can occupy eight-and-a-half square pod. “You stay in your pod, unless you are going to buy food or drinks, or to the restrooms. You have to wear masks unless you’re eating or drinking.”

Rather than the customary array of booths and vendors, sales will be limited to two food trucks, a beer and wine truck, and a merchandise booth for festival and band items. “Everything is socially distant, and as cashless as possible.”

People will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 72 hours. “We are doing everything as per New York State rules. These are our first shows back, and people are watching. We’ve got to show we can do it right.”

Mr. Ehmann said, “Music is some people’s therapy and even their religion. It’s not just the industry that is relying on us bringing it back, but it’s also people relying on that other side as well.”

He said he doesn’t expect to make money. “We are just hoping we don’t lose a ton. We are setting up almost the same infrastructure as the Adirondack festival, and adding staff and other cover stuff, spending as much as we spend to put on a festival, but with less people.”

Shepard Park concerts uncertain

Mr. Ehmann said he aims to do more pod-based festival shows this summer under the “LGD-50” banner. It’s nod to his Lake George Dave nickname among industry friends and his 50th birthday — and a takeoff from the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary tour logo from a few years back.

He plans the Adirondack Independence show for Friday to Sunday, Sept. 3 to 5. Acts are still to be announced.

Mr. Ehman said there’s uncertainty about the Friday night concert series he’s run in Shepard Park, Lake George. He said it’s tricky to control because access is open, with free admission and no tickets.

Info/ticket sales at www.adkmusicfest.com and on Facebook.

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