6 Summer Festivals That Are Worth a Trip Out of Town
The sweaty balmy embrace of summer is finally upon us, and with it comes the opportunity for New Yorkers to enjoy a multitude of cultural events within a few hours by car or train from the overheated city. From music festivals featuring jazz and opera to a Champagne-soaked culinary feast out east, there’s something for everyone to fill each of the season’s precious few weekends.
Pack a lawn chair and venture out to Chaseholm Farm in Pine Plains, New York, for this bicoastal music festival, which has a twin event in Sonoma, California, each June. Dubbed a “laid-back ‘micro’ music and camping festival” by Jeff Bundschu (of the festival’s co-founding partner, Gundlach Bundschu Winery), this year’s lineup includes acts from the soulful Bettye LaVette to jam band Circles Around the Sun. Local food sourced directly from the farm will be on offer along with plenty of Sonoma rosé, of course.
August 24 to 26, Pine Plains, New York; huichica.com
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
A trip to the Berkshires is pretty spectacular to begin with, but add in a weekend filled with performances by some of the nation’s most talented dancers and the level of beauty is off the charts. Located in Becket, Massachusetts, Jacob’s Pillow is known as the oldest summer dance festival in the U.S. with nearly 200 free ballet, hip-hop and modern dance performances, lectures, exhibits and talks on three stages throughout the season.
June to August, Becket, Massachusetts.; jacobspillow.org
Lucille Ball Comedy Festival
Hosted in the Jamestown, New York, hometown of everybody’s favorite redheaded comedian (sorry, not you, Carrot Top), the festival boasts a star-studded lineup this year with performers including Amy Schumer, Lily Tomlin and Dan Aykroyd. Also a must-see for any I Love Lucy fan is the Lucille “Ball,” a ’50s-themed masquerade dance held on Thursday, August 2, that features a photo op with Lucy and Ethel impersonators. If you miss out on this one, you’ll certainly have some splainin’ to do.
August 1 to 5, Jamestown, New York; comedycenter.org
Young Glimmerglass Weekend
The annual Glimmerglass Festival near Cooperstown, New York (also home of the Baseball Hall of Fame) offers a magical and relaxed approach to opera (the midsummer weekend is tailored specifically to 20- and 30-somethings). Special pricing is offered on ticket packages of up to four performances; this year’s lineup includes Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” and Bernstein’s “West Side Story.” Intimated by the idea of opera? Don’t worry, this isn’t the Met, so skip the gown and tux—sundresses are just fine for this casual lakeside weekend.
July 20 to 22, Cooperstown, New York; glimmerglass.org
Newport Jazz Festival
Now in its 64th year, this seaside musical showcase is no longer just jazz. Held at the picturesque Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island, this year’s fest includes performances by Brooklyn-based cellist Gabriel Royal and ’70s funk icons George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Daily round-trip bus travel is being offered from Boston, New York City and Newark by public jazz station WBGO—or stay the whole weekend and check out some of the tony town’s famed Gilded Age mansions. You dig?
August 3 to 5, Newport, Rhode Island.; newportjazz.org
James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne
It may be a good idea to fast ahead of this two-and-a-half-hour culinary extravaganza at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. The evening affair offers seasonal tastings from more than 35 renowned chefs from all corners of the country. Forget the headache of Hamptons summer traffic while sipping bubbly alongside this year’s guest of honor, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi. Best of all, feel good about stuffing your face knowing the cost of admission goes toward JBF’s scholarship and women’s leadership programs.
July 28, Sagaponack, New York; jamesbeard.org