SHERMAN — The Great Blue Heron Music Festival in Sherman, New York, took place once again the first weekend in July. This year, The Heron organizers have expanded on this concept with an extended summer music series: “Beyond the Blue.”
These weekend events, running from the middle of July through Labor Day weekend, are an extension of the long-standing Great Blue Heron Music Festival with its eclectic and diverse lineup of artists.
This concept of smaller-scale festivals was piloted out of necessity during the pandemic. Organizers now embrace the approach as an opportunity that best aligns with the farm’s commitment to regenerative stewardship of the land while still honoring their mission to transform lives through music, agriculture, art and education.
“Our goal of this season, and the future, is to create a vibrant Great Blue Heron experience that honors both the traditions of the past and the land, by operating at a scale that doesn’t over-stress the natural and human resources we are entrusted to care for,” Julie Rockcastle, festival co-founder said. “The genre-focused Beyond the Blue mini-festivals present diverse and family-friendly experiences all summer long that enable us to welcome more people who share our passions for music, the outdoors, and sustainability.”
Beyond the Blue kicked off the summer series with sweet harmonies, funky bluegrass and soulful rhythms from artists Dirty Blanket, Folkfaces and Bella’s Bartok.
The series will continue on July 30, with Beyond Blue II, a full day of progressive Reggae beats, island vibes and thunderous Native American sounds. Event headliner, Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad, often referred as “The Grateful Dead of Reggae,” will grace the main stage, along with Keith Secola, Root Shock and Mosaic Foundation.
On August 20, Beyond the Blue III is jam-packed with electrifying funk and electro-rock with event headliner, Jimkata. This trio, based in Ithaca and Los Angeles, stretches boundaries with bold arrangements fueled by swirling synthesizers and anthemic hooks.
The season finale, Beyond The Blue IV, will take place on Labor Day weekend with more than 20 artists gracing the stage including Pokey Lafarge, a musician influenced by old-time country, blues, folk, and Western swing.
Another headliner, the acclaimed singer/songwriter Ryan Montbleau has spent much of his life crisscrossing the globe on a perpetual search for meaning, purpose, and understanding. A quest that’s defined not only his music, but his very sense of self.