Change comes hard for many people. But music lovers seemed to appreciate last weekend’s change of scenery for the Folk Project Acoustic Getaway.
After seven years at a YMCA camp in the wilds of Hackettstown, the event moved up the Palisades Parkway to the Stony Point Center in New York State.
The nondenominational spiritual retreat includes a meditation house, abundant greenery, and a farm that grows some of the food served there.
A repertory theater is next door, and overnight accommodations offer more privacy and creature comforts than Camp Bernie, the former venue.
“This is an older crowd, no kids. They don’t want to be in bunk beds in a Y camp,” said Paul Fisher, president of the Mendham-based Folk Project, which has supported live music in Morris County for more than four decades.
“At this juncture in my life, if I wanted to camp, I’d go camping. I wasn’t up to suffering for my art,” joked singer-songwriter Randie O’Neil, whose CD release party will be at the Folk Project’s Open Stage in Morris Township in July.
“This is much more elegant, much more civilized,” said Peter Fischman, a Getaway regular who traveled to Stony Point from Acton, Mass.
Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Click / hover on images for captions:
The Getaway is a mix of concerts; workshops for guitar, ukulele and voice; and impromptu jam sessions and singalongs.
Attendance purposely is limited to under 200 people, to keep things manageable. Although the full weekend price increased by about $50, to $248, the Getaway sold out in just 10 days, a record for the nonprofit, said board member Mark Schaffer.
“We really liked the other place,” Schaffer said Camp Bernie, which had a canoeing pond, hiking trails and other rustic charms. But Stony Point offers more flexibility, he said, with twice as many workshop spaces and shorter, paved walks to the buildings.
The new location also is more accessible for performers from New York and the Hudson Valley, enabling a greater variety of workshops, he said.
Performers and instructors over the weekend included the jazz guitar duo of Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, bluesman Toby Walker, the Slambovian Underground, David Roth, Zöe Lewis and Irish Mythen.
Mies Hora spoke about an Ella Fitzgerald biography that he published, and Folk Project favorites Christine DeLeon, Music Town and Two Daves & a Dame also performed.
Another Getaway is scheduled for Stony Point in the fall. Stay tuned for details. The Folk Project’s rechristened Troubadour concert series (formerly The Minstrel) takes place every Friday night at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in Morris Township.
Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys are scheduled for this Friday, May 24, 2019, with openers The Rough & Tumble, at 7:30 pm. Admission is $10; children 12 and under, free. At 21 Normandy Heights Road.