Mountain Jam returns, bigger than ever

Photo via the Mountain Jam Festival's Facebook page.

Late spring in the Catskills means fishing, camping, and, if you’re a live music fan, Mountain Jam.

Originally conceived in 2004 as a one-day celebration of Woodstock radio station WDST’s 25th anniversary, the festival soon expanded to two days, then three.

Apparently immune to an anemic economy, Mountain Jam 2016 extends to four days, Thursday, June 2 through Sunday, June 5, boasting headliners Beck, Wilco, the Avett Brothers, Train and Thievery Corporation.

The marquee is impressive, but Mountain Jam co-producer/WDST president Gary Chetkof recently spoke most enthusiastically of the newer faces at this year’s event.

“In 2015, we had more women-fronted bands [Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Lake Street Dive],” he said. “That was really cool. But for this Mountain Jam, I’m excited about the songwriters.”  Read more

The winners of the 2016 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest

Above: "Waterfall on Trout Creek" by Steve Aaron, the grand prize winner of the 2016 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest. 

It's Memorial Day weekend, and our print 2016 Catskills Outdoor Guide has hit the streets! Copies are being dropped off at dozens of locations around the Catskills. See what it looks like and download a digital copy by clicking here.

Each year, we ask readers of the Watershed Post and our Catskills Outdoor Guide to send us their best photos of the Catskills great outdoors. This year, 51 photographers entered our 2016 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest  Read more

Poetry workshops come to West Hurley’s new Poetry Barn

Above: A poem written on a paper airplane, a prototype for "Skywriting: Poems & Planes," a workshop to be held Saturday, May 28 at the Poetry Barn in West Hurley. Photo by Lissa Kiernan.

Poet and teacher Lissa Kiernan makes her students’ poetry fly, both literally and figuratively.

On Saturday, May 28, from noon to 5 p.m., she’ll bring that skill to her new venue, the Poetry Barn in West Hurley, with inaugural course “Skywriting: Poems & Planes,” the first of several “Last Saturdays at the Barn” events. And the poems will, in fact, fly.

To explain how the work will defy gravity, Kiernan, a recent émigré from Brooklyn, met Watershed Post for coffee at Bread Alone in Boiceville, and gave a brief history of the building.  Read more

Funk ambassador in the Catskills: Jon Cleary and the Monster Gentlemen

Above: Jon Cleary and the Monster Gentlemen. Photo via the West Kortright Centre.

When Jon Cleary and the Monster Gentlemen return to the West Kortright Center, you won’t be faulted for thinking you’ve been transported to the Big Easy.

“He played here in 2006,” West Kortright director Martha Van Burek said of the crown jewel of her season. “And he brought the house down. He was amazing. Been trying to get him back ever since.”

Appearing with Cleary at the West Kortright Center will be the uber funky rhythm section of drummer A.J. Hall and bassist Cornell C. Williams, aka the Monster Gentlemen. This duo is an integral aspect of Cleary’s recent album “Go Go Juice,” (his eighth), which netted him the 2016 Grammy (his first) for Best Regional Roots Music Album. In addition, OffBeat Magazine named him 2015 Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Best Keyboardist, and awarded his song “Boneyard” Song of the Year; and he was named New Orleans’s Big Easy Entertainer of the Year.  Read more

Dozens of Memorial Day events kick off summer in the Catskills

Above: An honor guard leads the 2015 Liberty Memorial Day Parade. Photo by John Kocijanski of Catskill Photography, shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr pool.

Memorial Day Weekend 2016 brings a flood of enticing opportunities to come together, celebrate, and get the Catskills summer season started off right. Here’s our five-county guide to what’s happening where from Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30.


Parades and Ceremonies:


Parade: May 30, 9:30 a.m., Route 30 North

Grand Gorge 

Parade: May 30, 11 a.m., Route 23 West  Read more

Twyla Tharp, legendary choreographer, returns to the mountains

Above: Twyla Tharp. Images provided by the Catskill Mountain Foundation.

Since its 1998 inception, the Catskill Mountain Foundation has tried to make Greene County an international destination for dance. This weekend, with world-renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp presenting the results of her six-week residency in Tannersville, the organization has reached a whole new level.

The legendary Tharp, one of the country’s most famous choreographers, has spent the past six weeks in Greene County working on three old and new dances that will be presented to the public on Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the CMF’s historic Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center in Tannersville. The one-time performance is completely sold out.  Read more

Troubadour Returns: Acclaimed musician Abbie Gardner circles back to Phoenicia

Above: Abbie Gardner. Contributed photo. 

The housekeeping staff is pounding on Abbie Gardner’s door.

“I was recording last night in Nashville,” said the acclaimed singer-songwriter and master of the Dobro-style resonator guitar, laughing into her phone at the Knoxville Red Roof Inn. “I asked for a late checkout, but they didn’t get the message. They never do.”

Gardner, a founding member of renowned Americana trio Red Molly, is on the road, working her way north to play an intimate show presented by Flying Cat Music at the Empire State Railway Museum in Phoenicia on Saturday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. She’ll be stopping off in Jersey City, New Jersey, to pick up her husband, ace upright bassist Craig Akin (of the band Roosevelt Dime) at their recently purchased 1880-era home.

“He’s knocked down another wall,” she said. “He can only do that stuff when I’m not home.” Again, there’s a smile in her voice. “He’s my favorite bass player. I never know exactly what’s gonna happen when we play together.”  Read more

April showers ... of snow

Above: Snow on maple buds in Monticello on April 3. Photo by John of Catskills Photography, via the Watershed Post Flickr photo pool

A surprise snowstorm over the weekend followed warm temperatures last week, covering spring flowers--like these Sullivan County maple buds--with April snow showers. 

Forecasts call for three to eight additional inches of snow to fall across the Catskills on Monday, April 4, according to the Albany office of the National Weather Service. A winter weather advisory remains in effect throughout the day until 6 p.m., and schools are closed across the region. 

Got photos of this April snowstorm? Share them with us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Flickr

Seventh Woodstock Writers Festival to put spotlight on addiction

Above: The seventh annual Woodstock Writers Festival puts the spotlight on addiction, an epidemic in the Catskills. Image via the Woodstock Writers Festival's Facebook page. 

Editor’s note: Robert Burke Warren, the author of the new novel “Perfectly Broken,” will be speaking about his new book on the fiction panel of the 2016 Woodstock Writers Festival at 2 p.m. on April 9. His wife, Holly George-Warren, a rock biographer, is speaking on the music panel at 4 p.m. on April 9. We’ve asked Robert to preview the festival for us.

The Woodstock Writers Festival, which runs for four days beginning on Thursday, April 7, continues to grow, defying naysayers’ claims that books are going the way of the dodo. Clearly, in Woodstock at least, books are doing fine, thank you.  Read more

LIBRA brings Brooklyn-style fair trade wares to Tannersville

Above: LIBRA, a new store on Main Street in Tannersville, was formerly a boutique in Brooklyn. Photo by Jessica Porter. 

LIBRA, a women’s clothing and gift shop, opened in August 2015 on Main Street in Tannersville, featuring affordable and eco-conscious products made by local artists and designers and fair trade products from around the world.

Jennifer Parsons, LIBRA’s owner, is a retail veteran who ran a similar shop called Sweet Charity in Brooklyn for over a decade. Last year, after her husband started working a summer job near Windham, his hometown, she decided to open LIBRA in Tannersville.

As with many Tannersville businesses, Parsons opened her Main Street shop with the help of the Hunter Foundation, a nonprofit that works to restore historical buildings in the village.

(The Hunter Foundation had a hand in kick-starting Mama’s Boy Burgers and the Hudson-Chatham Winery, two other new businesses that opened last year in Tannersville.)

When the Foundation was looking for a tenant to occupy an empty shop at 5991 Main Street, Parsons decided that her experience and goals for the store were a perfect fit.

LIBRA’s products include women’s clothing and jewelry, organic beauty products, candles, diffusers, stationary, cards and wrapping supplies, as well as gifts for babies and children. The store has a robust online presence as well. 

Above: A display at LIBRA. Photo by Jessica Porter. 

“I hope LIBRA brings [to Tannersville] home goods, gifts and clothing with eclectic styles and excellent values that promote New York artists, fair trade companies and cottage industries that honor human rights and the environment,” Parsons said.

  Read more

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