Green River Festival 2016

Greenfield, MA

July 8-10, 2016

by Marc Lovely


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The town of Greenfield, Massachusetts is home to quite a few music festivals throughout the year. There is one, however, that has managed to soar to the upper echelon of greatness and is refusing to look down. The Green River Festival, held on the wide, verdant fields of Greenfield Community College, is celebrating its 30th year on July 8-10 with a lineup that has yet to be matched by any other festival in the country. But the thing is, with this festival, the music isn’t even the biggest attraction. No, it shares the limelight with something much, much bigger: hot air balloons.


You might ask yourself how live music and hot air balloons coincide with one another, but after being there on spotlightSaturday night and witnessing the awe and wonder of the balloon glow you’ll shake that silly question out of your head. The night sky is illuminated by these monstrous balls of fabric and generally correspond with the music, making it a sight to behold.


This year the lineup is exceptional. It usually is, but somehow they managed to best themselves. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Dawes, Shaky Graves, Shovels & Rope, and the Felice Brothers are only a handful of what is sure to be the best Green River Festival to date. Los Lobos, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Charles Neville-I could go on, but you should check it out for yourselves! For the first time, festival camping will be available for those who don’t have the funds to shack up in a hotel. The 40-acre Franklin County Fairgrounds offers a flat, open camping area with RV electric hook-ups, multiple bathrooms with showers, and a weather emergency shelter. All of the camping tickets include a festival ticket, parking, and a free shuttle to and from GCC.


VIDEO: Milk Carton Kids, “Secret of the Stars” 2015


Presented by Signature Sounds, the Green River festival is a one-of-a-kind event that was mentioned last year in Rolling Stone, USA Today, and the New York Times as one of the “must see” music festivals of the summer. They proudly integrate, and ensure, a family-first type of attitude without constraining the rowdiness of the passionate music lover. Like many others, they incorporate activities for children, but they go above and beyond the normal balloon animals and face paint. They have musical acts, an entire activity tent, circus performers, a Mardi Gras parade, as well as other great surprises. I would be careless not to mention the enormity of the field. The spongy green lawn is great for kicking a ball around or playing Frisbee. The festival also boasts a variety of food and clothing venders, as well as beer from Berkshire Brewing Company.



There’s something special about Green River that you have to experience to understand. When it’s the peak of summer and you’re standing under a cloudless sky, looking up into the bright, fiery glow of the balloons while the music dances around you, it just cannot equate to anything you’ve ever experienced.

There is a conviviality that is completely unrivaled.

Make sure you snag your tickets early because this will most likely sell out. Gates open on Friday July 8 at 4pm. Music starts at 5pm. For tickets, information, and a complete listing of artists please visit the website at http://www.greenriverfestival.com!

VIDEO: Valerie June 2015


To Submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.


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