Green River Festival Preview

Green River Festival 2016

Somehow festival season is now upon us and we’re getting ready to head out to central Massachusetts this weekend for the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA. Last year was my very first time at Green River, and it was one of the highlights of my summer.

With this year’s lineup the Green River Festival certainly punches above its weight with acts like Dawes, Shakey Graves, The Felice Brothers, Los Lobos, Peter Wolf (of the J. Geils Band) and Tedeschi Trucks Band topping the bill. What’s great about Green River is it’s got more than enough talent and star power to make your friends jealous of your weekend, but it’s small and laid-back enough that you can actually enjoy yourself. And somehow there are still tickets left if this post is making you want to come join in on the fun this weekend.

Beyond the obvious highlights of the weekend (you’re going to catch Shovels & Rope RIGHT?) here are a few acts slightly lower on the lineup that we’re especially excited to check out:

The Suffers

In just the last two years, the Suffers have gone from local bar band playing gigs around Houston to playing one of David Letterman’s last episodes of The Late Show and Newport Folk Festival. I recently had the opportunity to see them open for Lake Street Dive, and the Suffers basically stole the show. That’s no small feat, because L.S.D. are one of the very best live bands out there. The ten-piece bands churns out tight and funky “gulf coast soul”, and lead singer Kam Franklin was clearly born to be a star. It’s infectious, and you can’t help but having a hell of a good time. Do not miss this set under any circumstances.

Lula Wiles

It’s so tempting to overlook the bands playing the first sets at music festivals and show up later on in the afternoon. Lula Wiles, playing first thing on Saturday, are a perfect example of why you’re completely blowing it by sleeping in. Well-known to aficionados of Boston’s sprawling folk scene, Lula Wiles picks from bluegrass, old-time and country without being a niche folk act. Seriously, if you’re into gorgeous tunes and harmonies in any genre, it’s well worth your while to arrive a bit early and catch this set.


This was a new discovery for me as I’ve been getting ready for the summer with a Green River playlist on Spotify. Made up of veterans of the Northampton, MA music scene, Winterpills stand out as straightforward radio-ready pop rock band in the jam/funk-heavy Sunday lineup. I’ve had “Celia Johnson” running through my head on and off for days, and so you will after you throw it on once. Definitely a set that shouldn’t be missed this weekend.

The Balloons

Okay fine, this isn’t a band, but it’s one of the cooler features of the fest. Green River began as a hot air balloon festival 30 years ago, and while it’s easy to dismiss the balloons as something “just for the kids”, there’s nothing quite like watching gigantic glowing orbs rising into the sky shortly after dusk during an outdoor musical performance. You kind of just have to be there to get it.

Posted on by Mark Schafer in Concert Preview

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