BY KATHY KAHN
Joe D’Urso loves music, but more than that, he loves a mellow crowd that doesn’t want to party too hearty into the wee hours. The Rockland Bergen Music Festival offered all that and more at its annual event on the grounds of the Germanic Masonic Hall in Tappan on June 25 and 26.
Now in its third year, the R-B Music Festival had a lineup that made music lovers happy: From McMule, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Cromatix, Jorma Kaukonen to D’Urso and The Stone Caravan, more than 20 groups and individual performers entertained over 2,000 music lovers who came with blankets, chairs and tents to enjoy the music and relax during the first weekend of summer.
This year, many business sponsors, including the new Time Hotel in Nyack, helped contribute to making it a memorable and laid back two-day event filled with music, food and fun that ended when the sun started sinking in the west.
“The Festival is geared for an older audience–they can come with their kids (and grandkids!), enjoy great music, eat great food prepared by our local restaurants and sit back and relax,” said D’Urso. The Rockland-Bergen Music Festival is tuned in to music lovers who don’t need to sleep overnight because they’re not in any condition to drive away. “I’m not looking to have a ‘mini-Woodstock’–the premise is to keep it mellow, keep the neighbors happy and also to be invited back to play on the great property the German Masonic Hall owns,” Durso continued. “We did not have a single complaint from the neighbors. That’s the way it’s planned and that’s what I believe is helping our festival growing with each passing year.”
Bailey’s Smokehouse fired up the grill for meat eaters, vegans were well fed by True Food, Growler & Gill served up craft beer and wine and the Red Hill Cafe satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth. It also gave the R-B Music Festival the opportunity to showcase over a dozen non-profits, from Why Hunger to Homes For Heroes, who handed out information on how visitors can give back to the community–whether it’s in Rockland, Bergen or their own backyard.
“The Festival is a labor of love, a place with all the artists and musicians I travel and work with– it’s definitely a music event that honors people turning 50,” said D’Urso.