Free outdoor music!

One of my favorite things about the summer is the abundance of free outdoor music offerings in and around Lake Placid. It seems like there’s free music somewhere nearly every day of the week. So get out there and enjoy it! There’s plenty of time to sleep in the winter.  

Songs at Mirror Lake

I hereby declare that 2014’s opening Songs at Mirror Lake show will be the concert of the summer. JJ Grey & Mofro, playing on July 1, will be an amazing way to kick off the series of seven Tuesday night concerts at the brand new Dr. Paul White Memorial Band Shell at Mid’s Park, right in the middle of Lake Placid’s Main Street. It looks great, and I can’t wait to hear how good it sounds!

JJ Grey & Mofro is a southern rock/blues-style band that will get everyone energized and be a ton of fun. Coming from Florida, lead singer JJ Grey has a soulful voice and highlights in his lyrics things like the natural beauty of where he’s from, country living and his mama’s cooking.

JJ Grey

All concerts begin at 7 p.m. With the new band shell, all concerts will be held in Mid’s Park rain or shine. 

  • July 1 - Southern Soul Night with JJ Grey & Mofro
  • July 8 - Alt Americana Night with Poor Old Shine, a band from Connecticut
  • July 15 - Adirondack Fusion Rock Night with local band Lostdog (who are a lot of fun!)
  • July 22 - Blues Night with Quinn Sullivan, a 15-year-old Massachusetts kid who blues legend Buddy Guy has taken under his wing
  • July 29 - Reggae Night with The Alchemystics, a Massachusetts-based reggae group that calls their live shows high energy and “fiercely danceable.” 
  • Aug. 5 - Funk Night with Sol Driven Train, a band from South Carolina that calls their music “lowcountry roots rock.”
  • Aug. 12 - Jamgrass Night with The Deadly Gentlemen, Boston-based bluegrass/folk band.

Party on the Patio 

The Waterhole in Saranac Lake has a long tradition of free Thursday night music on its outdoor patio in the summer. Shows start around 6 p.m. and usually run until 10 p.m. In the rain, the concert is moved inside, usually to the Waterhole’s upstairs concert area. 

EMEFE plays last year's Party on the Patio series.

 This year’s Party on the Patio series is well underway already, having started May 1. There’s still plenty of summer left, though. 

  • June 26 - The Chronicles, a jazz/funk/soul group from Albany.
  • July 3 - The Stone Revival Band, a jam band that originally had moe. drummer Vinnie Amico in it, though I think he only plays with them occasionally now. Last year, the Stone Revival Band played the Party on the Patio July 4th show, and they played the Allman Brothers’ song Whipping Post for $100. So bring extra cash for your requests, kiddies.  
  • July 10 - Tim Herron Duo, a Syracuse-based bluegrassy group. They call their sound “AmeriBeat.” 
  • July 17 - Wino Vino, a band from Austin, Texas, that plays gypsy-style music. They played Party on the Patio last year as well.
  • July 24 - Charley Orlando Trio, an energetic singer-songwriter act from Glenville. 
  • July 31 - Black Mountain Symphony, an eclectic Albany-based band that blends symphonic themes with pop, jazz, folk and other sounds and is punctuated by a violin. 
  • Aug. 7 - American Babies, a Philadelphia-based four-piece band that has a Black Keys-type of sound but ventures into country at times. 
  • Aug. 14 - Still Hand String Band, straight-up bluegrass from northeastern Pennsylvania. The lead singer goes by the name Sunny D. (A The Hold Steady reference? I doubt it.) 
  • Aug. 21 - Swampcandy, a fun band that has been to the Waterhole before. They play music that sounds like it comes from the Louisiana swamps - bluesy/Americana stuff. 
  • Aug. 28 - Big Mean Sound Machine, another return act. The Ithaca-based band plays Afrobeat music that will get the crowd dancing. 
  • Sept. 4 - to be announced!
  • Sept. 11 - Eastbound Jesus, a bluegrass group based in Greenwich, N.Y. 
  • Sept. 18 - Dylan Perrilo Orchestra, an Albany-area jazz ensemble.
  • Sept. 26 - Groovestick, a fun funk/jazz band from Albany. 


 If you’re looking for something more refined, check out the Lake Placid Sinfonietta’s free community concert series. They are also in the new band shell in Mid’s Park - or St. Agnes Church if it rains - and they start at 7 p.m. Most of the shows are Wednesday evenings except the first, a bonus Fourth of July program. 

  •  July 4 - Champlain National Bank's Across the Fruited Plains
  • July 9 - Get Your Kicks on Rt. 66
  • July 16 - New York, NY
  • July 23 - Price Chopper's Coastal Dreams
  • July 30 - Staging the Screening
  • Aug. 6 - Dancing the Night Away sponsored by NBT Bank 

Downtown Saranac Lake Summer Concert Series

Downtown Saranac Lake is once again putting on a concert series that will run 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays on Saranac Lake’s Berkeley Green. The Downtown Saranac Lake crew tried to fill each Wednesday night from June 25 through August but came up two nights short since they ran out of money. They’re hoping to get more sponsors next year, so they can fill the whole summer. If you know anyone who might be interested in helping, send them to

  • June 25 - Cloud WIlliam, an electric blues band from New York City.
  • July 2 - Barn Cats, a local quartet featuring Addison Bickford on the fiddle.
  • July 9 - Crackin’ Foxy, a popular local sextet playing classic swing.
  • July 16 - Split Rock, a local classic rock band.
  • July 30 - Roy Hurd, a national singer songwriter who lives locally.
  • Aug. 6 - Class Act, a local jazz/Latin quartet featuring Jack Wolfe on piano and Sue Grimm on flute.
  • Aug. 13 - Celia Evans, a regional singer songwriter.
  • Aug. 20 - Speedy Arnold Trio, a Plattsburgh singer-songwriter who will be performing with a trio. 

Wilmington Beach

 There’s also music every Thursday at the Wilmington Town Beach, on Bowman Lane in Wilmington. Shows run from 6 to 9 p.m.

  • July 3 - Flipside, playing country/rock
  • July 10 - rhythm and blues band Stoneground Express
  • July 17 - Movin’ On, playing country rock
  • July 24 - On Three, which organizers describe as “variety.” 
  • July 31 - The Bootleg Band, a Plattsburgh-based band playing Americana rock.
  • Aug. 7 - Split Rock, which plays folk, rock and blues.
  • Aug. 14 - In Cahoots, playing country/rock. 
  • Aug. 21 - Crosswinds, a three-piece soft rock band playing music mainly from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
  • Aug. 28 - Rehab Roadhouse, a four-piece band from Vermont playing classic rock, blues and jam tunes. 

Rock the Face

 Also in Wilmington, there will be a series of shows at Whiteface Mountain. I think this one is technically indoors at the Cloudspin Lounge, the ski area’s lodge, but it’s still free. Shows run for 4 to 7 p.m. 

  • July 5 - Colleen Blanchard, who bartends at Whiteface, will play folk, blues and rock on her acoustic guitar. 
  • July 12 - LostDog, a Lake Placid band that will also be playing Songs at Mirror Lake. 
  • July 19 - Annie in the Water, a pop-y jam band from Albany that plays in the area frequently.
  • July 26 - Damaged Goods, a band that plays classic rock and jam tunes. 
  • Aug. 2 - Split Rock, which plays “lighter, classy classic rock, with a touch of jazz and folk.” 
  • Aug. 9 - Spring Street, a classic rock band.
  • Aug. 16 - Trench Town Oddities, an eclectic acoustic rock band from Cornwall, Ontario.
  • Aug. 23 - Legend, Saranac Lake-based classic rock band. 
  • Aug. 30 - The Royal Noise, an awesome Philadelphia-based funk band that includes Saranac Lake native Mike LaBombard. 

Tupper Lake shows

 There are no free outdoor music series in Tupper Lake this summer, but there are two events where there will be plenty of free outdoor music packed into each. 

The first is Little WolfStock 2, which is a high school reunion for people who graduated from Tupper Lake schools in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, but is free to all. A number of local musicians are set to appear. Music will run from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Little Wolf Campground in Tupper Lake. 

The second is Rock the Arc, the second installment of a concert fundraiser for people with developmental disabilities. Music runs from noon to about 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Tupper Lake Municipal Ball Field, and the lineup includes Bitter Sweet, Thirty 1 & Mandolin, Reflections, Abbott Hayes and Double Axel. 

Also farmers markets and Art Walks

There are also a few regular events throughout the summer that may not have live music as the main focus, but they still feature free live music outside. 

 Third Thursday Art Walks in Saranac Lake happen the third Thursday of June, July, August and September, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. This year’s first one, on Jun 19, there were 12 locations throughout the village where musicians played - often on the streets, creating a fun, artistic atmosphere as people wandered around looking through art exhibits and galleries. The remaining dates are July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18.  

Farmers markets throughout the area also often include some live music along with the locally grown fruits, vegetables and other yummies. 

Now get dancin’! 

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