Country Music in Albany

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Albany New YorkWhy Country?

I publically hated country music for years.  It mainly had to do with high school insecurities, the kind where you have a carefully constructed image of yourself you want to project.  See, while I grew up in a developement, my school district was extremely rural and had a reputation as a “hick” school.  “I’m from Forest City, but look I DONT like country music.  I’m not a hick,” was my general attitude towards the genre.

As most of us do, I went to college and stopped caring as much about whether or not people thought I was a hick.  I realized that no matter what part of NEPA you’re from, city or town, people think you’re a bit backwards.  Maybe rightfully so.   I also realized I really like country music.

I made the full transition to fan when I attended a Kenny Chesney concert with a friend who had an extra ticket.  It was amazing, not Bruce amazing, but pretty damn close.  If you haven’t gone to a country concert, I recommend doing so as soon as possible, even if you’re not a hardcore fan.  The atmosphere is laid back, the crowd’s are friendly, and you’ll be encouraged to sing loudly along even if you don’t know the words.  I wondered why it’d taken me so long to jump on the country bandwagon.

And, for those of you who claim country music is only about heartache, dogs, alcohol, and tractors, I present this arguement:

  • Every genre of music thrives on heartache.  This is a fact.
  • Dogs are awesome.  If you don’t like dogs, there’s something off with you.
  • Alcohol is arguably more awesome than dogs.
  • Tractors, while not awesome, aren’t offensive.  I don’t love tractors, but they don’t actively piss me off.

Currently, if I have to listen to the radio (if my I-trip’s not working), I find a country station.  I think it was meant to be.  I don’t know why I denied it so long.


I have a  light concert schedule this summer compared to most years.  I’m going to the Peach Music Festival (with Zac Brown Band & OAR) in Scranton in August, and seeing Bruce again over Labor Day, but that’s it.  I’d like to get at least two more squeezed in, particulary in the June-July timeframe, and I decided yesterday that I’d like to find a country concert.

Kenny Chesney, Jake Owens, and Tim McGraw are going on a “Brother’s of the Sun” tour that I think would be perfect for summer, but the tickets are a bit on the pricey side and its sold out most places.  Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan are playing in Camden on June 28, which is another distinct possibility, but that concert prompts the same problems as the Kenny tour.

These guys would have been my first choices, so I thought of who else I’d like to see.  I searched Ticket Master for Eric Church, because I’m obsessed with the song “Springsteen”, and hit the jackpot.

WGNA, a country music station based in upstate NY, holds an annual Country Music Festival, and this year Eric Church is headling.  It also has Joe Nichols (Tequila Makes Her Clothes Come Off) and Josh Thompson (Beer on the Table).  What appealed to me about the Countryfest is that it’s multiple artists, the cheapest tickets are $25.00, and there’s an outdoor block party.  The party starts at 12:00.  Here’s more courtesy of the WGNA website:

A significant portion of the festival will still take place outdoors, with entertainment and concessions in a fair-style format on Pearl Street (which will be closed for the day).  We will have an outdoor stage that will have entertainment from the time gates open until dark.  Attendance to the outdoor portion of the festival will be FREE.  Festival attendees will be able to mingle and celebrate the summer outside during the day and move indoors for a high-quality arena concert experience in the evening.  The outdoor “party” element that our festival attendees love will be preserved, and even enhanced, in our new home.


The festival is held on a Saturday, July 6 in Albany NY.  I typically spend the 4th at my uncle’s country house in NEPA, so it’s only a two hour ride from there, and an easy one.  I did some personal research to try and see what other activities Albany has to offer and see whether or not this would be a daytrip or a weekend event.  I’ve only ever driven through Albany, so take these recommendations with a grain of salt. 

  • USS Slater: The USS Slater is WWII Destroyer anchored on the Hudson River that now functions as a museum.  I’m fascinated by old boats so may be partial to this, but it got great reviews on TripAdvisor.  It’s open every day from 10-4.
  • CH Evans Brewing Company- Albany’s only brewery is located near the concert venue in an old pump house by the river.  It’s also gotten good reviews, has live entertainment, and is situated in the same building as the Albany Visitor’s center.
  • Albany’s bar scene is centered on Pearl Street (where the concert is held, and which is blocked off for the day for the festival), Lark St., and Madision Avenue.  Albany has a 4AM last call, so pace yourself.
  • Catamount Rope Course– Rope course located about forty five minutes from Albany.

To be honest, I couldn’t find a ton of visitor info about Albany.

Some close by locales that may be of interest if you feel like extending your weeknd are:

  • Saratoga Springs (45 minutes) is a resort town and has famous racetracks.
  • Lake George is an hour away.
  • Lake Placid is 2.5 hours away, but I thought it worth mentioning as I fell in love with it this winter.

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