This weekend: The Bethel Woods Harvest Festival

Above: Carriage rides at the Bethel Woods Harvest Festival, via the Bethel Woods website. 

Harvest season is upon us. This Sunday, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in the Sullivan County town of Bethel kicks begins its weekly Harvest Festival, which brings live music, country games, animals, a corn maze, a craft village and a farmers' market to the famous site of the Woodstock Festival. This weekend Project Identity and the Dan Brother Band play.   Read more

This Weekend: Ashokan Center's Summer Hoot

Above: A girl hula hoops at the 2014 Summer Hoot at the Ashokan Center. Photo by Rosalind Dickinson. (This image is featured on one of the covers of our 2015 Catskills Outdoor Guide.

Three days of concerts, music making, camping and camaraderie at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge begin today, Friday, Aug 21, during the center's annual Summer Hoot festival.

The weekend features lots of local musical luminaries including Amy Helm, Elizabeth Mitchell, 22-year-old fiddling phenom Dylan Foley, songwriters Ira and Laurie McIntosh and the Ashokan Center's own Jay Ungar and Molly Mason and Mike + Ruthy.

Big acts visit the rustic outdoor stages, too. There will be clog dancing by Vanaver Caravan, jams from Professor Louie & The Crowmatix, banjo virtuosity by Tony Trischka, songs from Loudon Wainwright, reggae from The Big Takeover and an appearance by folk music legend Baby Gramps from Seattle.   Read more

Scenes from the Delaware County Fair

Above: The start of the Delaware County fair's Demolition Derby on Monday, Aug. 17. Photo by Michael Wentland.

The Delaware County Fair opened for a weeklong celebration of agriculture, carnival rides and demolition derby smashups on Sunday, Aug. 16 in Walton.

Photographer Michael Wentland, who carries his camera wherever he goes and uses a photojournalistic style to document the Catskills and its events and people, was at the fair this week. Here are a few of his shots. You can follow Michael's photography on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To see larger versions of these photos, check out our album on Flickr. 

Above: The rabbit barn at the Delaware County Fair.   Read more

Bespoke lampmakers alight in Delhi

Above: Julian Peploe and David Ryan, the founders of Stone and Sawyer. Photo by Rocky Casale.

On a recent sunny morning, a fan was going full blast in the ceramics studio of Stone and Sawyer, a new lamp-making business in the Delaware County town of Delhi—but it wasn’t for the benefit of the proprietors, David Ryan and Julian Peploe, or this visiting reporter.

Rather, the breeze was aimed at a plaster mold airing out on a table. An interior design firm had commissioned a prototype for a tall, custom table lamp for a new hotel in Washington, D.C., and the stoneware body for the lamp had to be slip-cast, using the mold in question, before it could be sanded, washed, fired, sanded, washed, glazed and then fired again.

Above: Current Stone and Sawyer lamp designs. Photo courtesy of Stone and Sawyer.

“This mold needs to dry!” said Ryan, re-positioning the fan.  Read more

Double rainbow, over the farm

Reader Robert Moses caught this great shot of a double rainbow spanning the sky over Harvey Morse's farm on Dingle Hill in Andes on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

This is the second rainbow photo we've gotten this month, and it's not just us--it really is rainbow season. The Times Herald-Record has received so many rainbow photos this week that the newspaper made a special photo gallery just to showcase them.

This weekend: Whisper Opera at Mount Tremper Arts

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Above: A short video about the Whisper Opera from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Opera: It's big and loud, right? The mezzo belting her eleven o'clock aria, a stageful of chorus members singing at the tops of their lungs. That's a stereotype that's soundly undone in “Whisper Opera,” a performance so quiet and intimate that it's not much louder than a sigh.

The work is the brainchild of Pulitzer-winning composer David Lang, who cofounded legendary New York City-based new music collective Bang on a Can. Though it premiered in Chicago in 2013, it was developed right here in the Catskills, at artistic incubator Mount Tremper Arts. This weekend, “Whisper Opera” comes home to roost as the centerpiece of MTA's annual Summer Festival.

To make the piece feasible, Lang turned to director-designer Jim Findlay, who created an audience setup and a sound design that would make “Whisper Opera” both intimate and, well, just audible enough.  Read more

Follow that rainbow

The spotty rainstorms we had yesterday paid off for Watershed Post reader Robin Williams, who spotted an enormous rainbow while driving on Route 28 through the Delaware County town of Meredith at 6:25 p.m on Monday, August 3. Thanks for sharing, Robin! 

Hobart Book Village hosts jazz weekend; mulls festival

Above: Victor Mullen and John Mahoney install the art for their Jazz Soiree exhibit weekend at Liberty Rock Books. Photo via the Hobart Book Village Facebook page.

The Hobart Book Village will hold a Jazz Soiree and Sale from Friday, July 31 to Sunday, August 2, featuring live jazz music, jazz workshops, a free screening of Ken Burns' film "Jazz" and the sale of a private collection of over 2,000 Jazz LP and 400 plus CD's. All events are free, and all are welcomed.   Read more

This Weekend: Our guide to the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice

Above: Sila, an Inuit throat singing duo, will perform at the festival on Aug. 1. Photo via the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice website. 

Over the past few summers, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice has traveled (musically, at least) all over the world. 2013’s fest focused on Italy and Germany with works by Verdi and Wagner, and last year’s covered the music of Spain. But this year the annual event, now in its sixth year, is bringing it all back home with a program devoted to American melodic traditions. And luckily, we’ve got a lot of ’em.  Read more

Phoenicia Voice Festival grows “five times bigger” for its sixth season

Above: Maria Todaro, center, at a choir rehearsal for the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, which opens today. Photo by Paula Ann Mitchell.

It takes luck, miracles and a hero or two to make a music festival happen. That’s how Maria Todaro sees the sequence of events leading up to the annual Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, which begins today, Wednesday, July 29.

In mid-July, the festival’s 28-piece orchestra suddenly lost its rehearsal space in New York City, and Todaro was frantic. She rallied the support of festival patron and fellow musician Mark Holland, who happened to call her about getting tickets.

“I said, ‘Can I ask you a favor? Can you go look at some rooms for me?’ He went to visit 20 churches in the city,” Todaro said. “He called me at midnight and said he found the Riverside Church. That was incredible. Every day, there’s a miracle like that.”

Todaro, the festival co-founder and executive director, is exhaling this week now that some of the last-minute problems of finding housing for 69 of the 132 guests artists and tapping the generosity of local restaurants and volunteers to feed them have been solved.

There have been other last-minute strokes of luck.  Read more

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