Rockin’ for Ronald Three Day Festival in Lake George, August 5th Weekend – Nippertown

Nippertown – Music, Arts and Culture News for the Albany Area – Celebrating Music, Arts, and Culture in the Capital Region
Jim Anderson, best known locally for his Golden Oldies shows at Proctors Theater in Schenectady, has booked a free-to-the-public three-day Rockin’ for Ronald Festival at Shepard Park in Lake George to benefit the Lake George Ronald McDonald House.  Festivities kick off Friday at 6 p.m. The opening act are The Bluz House Rockers, celebrating 27 years of rocking not just the Capital Region, but also the annual Delbert McClinton Sandy Beaches Caribbean Cruise. From Sinatra to the Allman Brothers, they cover it all with a tight seven-piece band, six of whom sing lead and/or rhythm. Jim’s wife Trish is lead singer of the band. Her song “Three Dollar Bill” went to #2 on the pop 100 charts in Denmark.
Friday night’s 7:30 headliner is Skeeter Creek, a North Country perennial favorite for decades, featuring members whose combined history is a who’s who of regional country music. Together they won the Metroland readers’ poll as Country Band of the Year eight separate times. 
Saturday’s schedule begins at 3 p.m., with the seven-piece Dirty Harri’s tribute to George Harrison including Harrison’s hits with the Beatles, such as “Here Comes the Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Taxman.”  
The Newells play at 5 p.m. Headed by Jonathan Newell, this family band performs songs by Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, Bruce Hornsby, and 10,000 Maniacs. Jonathan is executive director of Hudson River Music Hall Productions, which owns The Strand Theater in Hudson Falls. An exhaustive workaholic, he books what has become my favorite theater with a little-engine-that-could attitude that prompted him to tell one local journalist that his motto is “create community through music as opposed to creating music through the community.” 
Saturday’s headliners at 7:30 are Reelin in the Years, a Woodstock-based Steely Dan tribute band whose members have toured and/or recorded with Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren, and Elvis Presley. 
Sunday’s performers begin with Jacquelin Mignot and the Family Band performing at 1:30. Jonathan Newell is on guitar and keyboards.  Last Left goes on at 4. They are a cover band from Central New York. Their repertoire includes hits by Prince, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty as well as more current groups like Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Chris Stapleton, Kings of Leon, and the Killers.  The New York Players headline at 6:30. This area dance band features four vocalists who sing leads and harmonies, and a horn section. 
Rockin’ for Ronald is just one of many free musical events listed here in Nippertown. Thursday night Mona Golub brings the DakhaBrahka Ukrainian folk quartet to Music Haven in Schenectady. Rolling Stone proclaimed them the “best breakout” of the 2014 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. They’ve also played The Finger Lakes Grass Roots Festival in Trumansburg, New York and are on a current country-wide tour. 
The Art D’echo Trio is on Jay St, in Schenectady, Thursday at noon as part of the Jazz on Jay weekly summer series. Other free outdoor performances dot the area landscape from Albany’s Empire State Plaza, to Troy’s Powers Park, to Freedom Park in Scotia, and back to Albany’s Alive at Five
All of these free events take place for two reasons: the support of sponsors, and the tireless work of promoters like Jim Anderson, Mona Golub, and Jonathan Newell.  
As a Vietnam veteran, I am particularly thankful for the many veteran benefits Jim Anderson has produced at the Times Union Center, Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes Barre, plus Gold Star Mothers benefits at Proctors and the Egg. 
For more than 40 years Jim has also done Make a Wish with his wife Trish’s lead at the Saratoga Harness Track, tornado relief for Mechanicville at the TU Center, and both tsunami relief and Haitian Refugee relief at Proctors. 
We live in an era when events are split in two diverging directions: free concerts often in outdoor summer settings, and ever more expensive shows in venues that charge $17 for a premium beer, $10 to park your car, and $100 for a VIP rest area with access to more secluded restrooms. There has been much negative social media commentary on the astronomical cost of the current Springsteen tour tickets. That’s just the highest profile reaction to rising tickets prices exasperated by streaming that’s made all intellectual property including music an open season giveaway. I asked Anderson to comment on this trend. 
“When I was promoting at the Palace in the 70s and 80s,” says Anderson, “I never charged more than $20 for tickets.  As the industry grew, major national promoting companies began to dominate the scene, and now, with the cost of talent skyrocketing, there is no place for small, independent promoters to enter the business.  Companies like Live Nation are textbook examples of monopolies.  They own or control venues, partner with Ticketmaster and own radio stations in many markets. 
“Their income on any given concert usually includes ticket sales, high service fees on tickets, parking fees, merchandise, food and beverage, and income for the parent company that owns the radio stations shows advertise on.  The income for an independent promoter is usually limited to just ticket sales. 
“In the days when ClearChannel and other promotion conglomerates were cementing their monopolies, artists (including Bruce Springsteen) tried to resist working with these companies because they knew their audience was basically working class/middle class Americans who could only afford to pay a reasonable amount for a ticket. But now that these monopolies are running the entire touring business, artists either have to accept their terms and the high costs for tickets that customers have to pay, or end up with nowhere to perform.” 
As a journalist, it has always amazed me that the sponsors of events that independent promoters like Jim Anderson, Mona Golub and Jonathan Newell produce don’t get more kudos, and that sponsors get little more than signage at the event and a shoutout from the stage. My advice to you as patrons is to take note of the sponsors and honor them by patronizing their products and services. And pay attention to who is producing the events you go to see. 
Mona Golub’s family owns Market 32/Price Chopper. You have to eat. If you enjoy the free concerts in Central Park, do your food shopping at Price Chopper. If you enjoy Rockin’ for Ronald, buy tickets to Jim Anderson’s Golden Oldies shows at Proctors Theater. Most patrons probably don’t realize that Anderson goes way beyond the average canned touring oldies shows. He seeks out the original performers where available for his shows and provides additional backline and backup musicians that capture the essence of the original live performances. 
And if you enjoy reading the articles about the arts, and the wonderful photos from these shows in Nippertown, please support our advertisers. It’s that support that reassures our publisher Jim Gilbert that he can put on another Nipperfest, the biggest confab of local talent in Central Park in decades.
Don Wilcock Nippertown bio 2021
Now into his second half century as the warrior music journalist, Wilcock began his career writing “Sounds from The World” in Vietnam, a weekly reader’s digest of pop music news for grunts in the field for the then largest official Army newspaper in the world, The Army Reporter. He founded The New York Capital Region’s first alternative entertainment weekly Kite in 1970 and has written for Nippertown since its inception, Metroland, The Troy Record, The Saratogian, the weekly Journal newspapers, and Lotus Nexus. He’s edited BluesWax, FolkWax, The King Biscuit Times, Elmore Magazine, and also BluesPrint as founder of the Northeast Blues Society. Internationally, he’s written for The Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards program, Blues Matters and Blues World. His three books include the definitive Buddy Guy biography Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues, Helena Blues and his yet-to-be published Even Rock Stars Get The Blues.
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The Art D’echo Trio to play indoor Jazz on Jay today
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