By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Wild Adriatic did a good thing.
The band’s two-day Summit music festival, Friday and Saturday last week, rocked the Queensbury Hotel as I imagine it’s rarely if ever been rocked before — and that’s knowing The Who stayed there years ago, and no doubt some wedding or another at the venue went a little wild.
Beyond even the music, let me enthuse about this festival: Spot-on for the vibe, the sound quality, the curating of bands, the room ambiance. Also: Best use of the hotel’s chandeliers — ever.
The main stage was in the hotel’s Ballroom. You’d not recognize it, as you may gather from the pictures on this page. That old, upgraded Queensbury elegance played picturesque and evocative against the raucous jeans-and-beers-vibe of the music festival.
They put the stage at the far west side of the Ballroom, with black velvet curtains masking the “backstage,” and festival scaffolding supporting what seemed to these untrained eyes a massive light system. The light shows were impressive all night.
The curtained proscenium stopped just before one of the room’s two crystal chandeliers — providing one gorgeous moment after another under the changing light shows. It was straight out of a music video.
The sound was clear as I’ve ever heard at an event in that room, not painful, even when it got really quite loud.
I snuck upstairs to check how the sound was playing: It was non-worrisome, I’d say, even on the first floor, where all the bands were staying anyway, and certainly on the second and third floors, where the music carried distant, no painful bass thrums.
The Gold Room had crowd spillover and a bar featuring all beers from event sponsor Mean Max Brew Works.
Fenimore’s, open free to the public, had acoustic sets by festival bands, sponsored by Spektor Coffee.
The musicians were warmly appreciative. Several marveled, “We’ve never played in a hotel before.” It gives the event its own memorable cachet.
Mateo Vosganian, drummer and manager of Wild Adriatic, was front man for the festival. They brought 15 bands to town for the two days, from as far as Pennsylvania and Vermont, and as near as Glens Falls and Albany.
Mateo reports 300 people at the festival each night. There was room for more, but it was never embarrassing, even during the early sets when concertgoers were still trickling in.
What got me jazzed is something that happened with this summer’s GemFest, too (that one organized by Brian Michael).
For these two nights, the mostly young music lovers of this town — and guests from beyond — could feel welcomed, accepted: Hey, this place is ours.
Hotel general manager Tyler Herrick was hugely supportive, and tells The Chronicle they’re eager to bring the festival back, and grow it. Owners Ed and Zack Moore were there for the music, as was Mr. Herrick.
The crowd was demonstrably enthusiastic but didn’t take advantage, no swinging from those chandeliers or room wreckage. The vibe was love, smiles, music, the shared excitement of a shared experience.
Mateo, with bandmates Travis Gray and Rich Derbyshire, put together a tremendously fine roster of quality, original music bands. For the festival finale, they brought all the musicians up for a booming, heartfelt rendition of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends.” The jams from the stage, the roars of the crowd — it’s a moment I won’t soon forget.
About the pictures
Three picture on this page are by freelance photographer Bryan Lasky/BDL Photography. Bryan is a concert photographer newly based out of Glens Falls. He has worked in Albany and the Northeast for five years, he tells The Chronicle, photographing for festivals and bands. Bottom photo by Cathy DeDe.
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