Monday, December 11, 2023

GEM Festival, music & art in Glens Falls, goes big!

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

The Glens Falls Entertainment and Music Festival — called GEM Fest — doubles in size in this, its eighth year (seventh year, if we ditch the Covid-cancelled festival of 2020).

GEM Fest last year — at the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls. Chronicle photo/Cathy DeDe
This year, organizer Brian Michael of Heady Productions in Glens Falls tells The Chronicle, they’ll have 40 regional bands and musicians, versus 20 acts last year, performing over two days, versus last year’s one-day event.

Also featured: 15 regional artists making art on the spot, plus food and other vendors.

The Festival runs Friday to Saturday, July 21-22.

They’ll spend opening night in the new Adirondack Ballroom at the Queensbury Hotel on Friday, returning to their recent home base, the courtyard of the Shirt Factory, all day Saturday.

Saturday night they move the action to downtown Glens Falls, with after-hours music at Mean Max Brew Works and Downtown Social.

Why the fancy ballroom at the Q?

“Remember the Summit,” music festival put on by Wild Adriatic at the hotel, famously played under the chandeliers in the Ballroom, Mr. Michael said. “I reached out and said you’ve got that fancy new room there. Why not kick the tires on it?”

“We’re doing it right, professional sound system, lights and a full stage set up,” he says.

“Where music and the arts collide!,” Mr. Michael says to describe the festival.

It had its origins when he and painter-musician Anthony Richichi organized music-making nights accompanied by artists making art on site, at local clubs. Now they do it large scale — musicians performing while artists create.

Friday at the Q, 7:30 to 11:15 p.m., features Capital Region favorites Capital Zen, Wild Adriatic drummer Mateo Vosganian’s new super-group Precious Metals, and adopted hometown favorites Chestnut Grove of Pennsylvania in one of their last shows before what is expected to be an extended break.

Chestnut Grove at GEM Fest 2022.

Saturday, the action moves to four stages at the Shirt Factory, noon to 8:15 p.m. Headliners include blues-inspired rockers Sly Fox and the Hustlers, leather-rockers Joe Mansman and the Midnight Revival Band, but the range is huge, with 25 bands total, from blues guitar-crooners Mark & Jill to songwriter-guitarist and former Wild Adriatic frontman Travis Gray; funky jam-rock vibes from Seize Atlantis and Lock 9 to outlier music by Death Cult Pharmaceutical, much more.

They’ve got four bands at Mean Max, 8 to 11:30 p.m.

New this year, Mr. Michael said he’s bringing in four DJs from New York City to Downtown Social, seeking “a different vibe, like dance electronica,” 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Fenimore’s at the Q has Jason Irwin on Friday and Brian Fitzgerald on Saturday.

Tickets cost $20 for a one-day pass, $10 per venue (at the door) for the Saturday night late club shows, or $35 for a full-festival pass including all club shows.

Full schedule on Facebook.

Advance tix at

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