Danielle Ponder, Dirty Blanket, and More Create Summer Vibes at Heron Music Series | Concerts of your choice

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  • Regional bluegrass group Dirty Blanket will perform “Bluegrass Zydeco” weekend at The Heron Music Series on Saturday July 10th.

It’s festival season in upstate New York, and the days of empty campgrounds and flameless fireplaces will soon be long behind us. After a one-year hiatus, the Heron Farm & Event Center has once again welcomed musicians from across the region to its quaint staging venues in Sherman, a small town in Chautauqua County.

The Great Blue Heron Music Festival was unable to resume its full swing this summer, but organizers created the Heron Summer Series in its stead. Every weekend through September 25, listeners will be rocked by over 70 local and national artists who cover genres ranging from Americana to R&B.

For many of the musicians on the lineup, the Heron Summer Series is their first festival since the start of the pandemic.

As he rowed in his kayak on Canadice Lake, Max Flansburg of bluegrass group Finger Lakes, Dirty Blanket, explained that the series will bring many long-lost friends together, both on and outside of the scene.



“The coolest thing is the programming,” Flansburg said. “There are a lot of great bands that we are friends with and have performed with over the years all over New York State. It’s gonna be a cool reunion. Some of these guys and girls that I haven’t seen in a while myself.

Dirty Blanket will be on stage with Folkfaces, The Black Zydeco Band, The Honey Smugglers and Blind Owl Band on the weekend of July 9th.

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Rochester soul musician Danielle Ponder will star of The Heron Music Series on Friday, July 23.  - PHOTO COURTESY OF WXXI TELEVISION

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF WXXI TELEVISION
  • Rochester soul musician Danielle Ponder will headline The Heron Music Series on Friday, July 23.

For Rochester R & B-soul artist Danielle Ponder, Heron’s return to the stage is a symbol of community and collective healing. During her performance, scheduled for July 23, she intends to share a new musical direction with her audience.



“During the pandemic, I wrote a lot of new songs,” Ponder explained. “I have a new album coming out, hopefully in 2022. I also produced a lot of my songs.

“The music is a little more intimate and a little more emotional,” she said. “It was really just me and my guitar. Much of the music has more of a singy-songwritey element than my previous work. ”

Danielle Ponder will play Heron with Driftwood, The Arcadian Wild and Mikaela Davis.

Ponder’s captivating lyricism and heartwarming melodies will also be heard on July 31 at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Discussing the festival on the historic Newport, Rhode Island stage, Ponder said, “It’s just one of those times in your life that you’ve always wanted to happen, and it’s happening.” She said she can’t wait to perform in the same space as legends like Nina Simone, one of her inspirations.



After a year of socializing in smaller circles, the thought of returning to a big festival can be daunting for some. But for musicians and music lovers, the Heron Summer Series offers an open door to restore the sense of community that was lacking during the pandemic.

“We’re all very lucky here,” Flansburg said. “It’s not like that in all other parts of the world. We’re lucky things are getting back to normal, and I’m quite grateful for that. ”

Echoing this sentiment, Ponder offered a poignant statement about the fragility exposed by the health crisis.

“We should learn that music is not promised to us,” she said. “Live shows are not promised, so let’s not take them for granted while they’re here. ”

The Heron Music Series takes place every weekend through September 25 at the Heron Farm & Event Center in Sherman, New York. Day passes can be purchased at the door or booked online at theheron.org. The prices vary.

Emmarae Stein is a freelance writer for CITY. Comments on this article can be directed to [email protected].

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