Dutchess County is a one-of-a-kind destination for live music. Concerts run the gamut from intimate winery settings to large arenas. Of course, sitting on the banks of the Hudson River listening to live performances is one of the most memorable experiences the area has to offer.
Jazz in the Valley brings acclaimed artists to the Poughkeepsie waterfront. The annual festival takes place just a short walk away from the MTA Metro-North train station. A massive tent offers plenty of seating, but bring lawn chairs or blankets for a true open-air atmosphere. It all kicks off at noon on August 21 at Waryas Park!
Jazz in the Valley 2022 honors the legacy of legendary jazz artist Charles Mingus. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. From the 40s to the 70s, Mingus stood as a pioneer of the ever-evolving genre. As a double-bassist and pianist, he performed with Louis Armstrong, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and many other “greats.” His three-decade career as a composer and bandleader not only influenced music, but tackled injustice and social issues.
"Mingus has always inspired me as a musician-composer; the way he balances concept and content is what drew me to his work,” Craig Harris, guest curator said. “Using music to promote social justice is ingrained in every breath I take, so the triple C factor – Content, Concept and Consciousness – will be highly celebrated in our centennial salute of Charles Mingus. Joining me in this celebration are people who bring these same elements – Content, Concept and Consciousness – to their work.”
This carefully curated lineup of musicians will impress and inspire audiences at Waryas Park. Grammy award-winning bassist Buster Williams is a legend in his own right, bringing nearly seven decades of experience to the Poughkeepsie stage. His compositions have been recorded by Herbie Hancock, Larry Coryell and for several films and TV shows. He’s collaborated and performed with so many of the greats, from Miles Davis and Nancy Wilson to Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis.
Trombonist—and guest curator—Craig Harris blends a New Orleans sound with the avant garde; his creativity has produced several innovative multi-media art projects. Similarly, violinist Regina Carter draws on a multitude of influences, from classical, Latin and blues to R&B, country and traditional African music. She’s shared the stage with pop figures like Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel and more. Up and coming jazz star Camille Thurman features an unforgettably rich tenor saxophone sound (in addition to being an accomplished vocalist.) Piano virtuoso Michael King, Cuban master percussionist Joaquin Pozo and Grammy-nominated vocalist Carla Cook round out an incredible slate of performers at Jazz in the Valley.
General admission tickets are $55, and $65 at the gate. Or, puchase them before August 1 for an early-bird special of $45. Students with valid ID gain entrance at the gate for $20. Tickets can be purchased online through the festival’s website; to buy advance tickets, click here.
While you’re there, grab a bite to eat at one of the local food trucks including tasty tacos from Dutchess County-based Flores Food Truck. Alternative choices onsite include Caribbean fare, southern barbecue, seafood and more. Of course, several fan-favorite eateries are just around the corner. Dine on the waterfront at Flores Taqueria, or above it with a breathtaking elevated view at River Station—a family-friendly restaurant with tons of seafood dishes. Pick up one of the famous Italian sandwiches at Rossi Rosticceria Deli, or snag a table on the rooftop at Zeus Brewing Co. for pizza, pasta and brews with views.
While you’re in town, be sure to check out the myriad of summer activities and events found only in the heart of the Hudson Valley.
Plus, there are all sorts of opportunities to see live music in Dutchess County before the big show! Catch Caleb Hawley at Plan Bee Farm Brewery in Poughkeepsie Friday, August 19 at 6 p.m. Their outdoor stage presents performers during golden hour on a charming farm. Then, visit Millbrook Vineyards and Winery on Saturday, August 20 at 5:30 p.m. for Chad McLoughlin Trio.
Parents, it’s a great time of year to bring the kids! Just a short walk from Jazz in the Valley, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum has several state-of-the-art interactive exhibits for developing minds. Our Dutchess Tourism Connection Finder mobile passport features several deals and discounts at family-friendly destinations, free of charge! Embark on scenic hikes with alpacas at Lilymoore Farm and Clover Brooke Farm, catch a classic summer baseball game with the Hudson Valley Renegades, rock climb at Gravity Vault and more. To get your free pass to family fun, click here.
Couples, it’s also a wonderful time of year for romance. There are so many romantic memories waiting to be made in Dutchess. Pick gorgeous sunflowers during peak season at Hudson Valley Cold Pressed Oils, or take a kayak for two out to castle ruins at Bannerman Island. (For other ways to enjoy the river during your stay, click here.)
The night before Jazz in the Valley, catch an outdoor movie and spend a night in a vintage airstream at Four Brothers Drive-In. Of course, if you’re looking for swoon-worthy accommodations, book a weekend at Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Rhinebeck—less than a half hour from Poughkeepsie! For a full list of hotels, bed and breakfasts, boutique inns and more nearby, click here.
No car? No problem! Metro-North Railroad Poughkeepsie Station is just a short walk from Waryas Park. Start your day with a scenic train ride along the Hudson River on the Metro-North to Poughkeepsie. Walk toward the river from the train station as the gates open at 11am. You won’t miss a beat when the music starts at 12pm. Plus, there's a free shuttle bus to and from the event. To plan your trip with MTA Away, click here.
About Jazz in the Valley
Jazz in the Valley began as an afternoon of music when TRANSART received an individual artist grant commission from the New York State Council on the Arts to commission Ahmad Jamal to create an original composition for the organization. Inspired by the natural beauty of the area he created “Picture Perfect” and it was first heard in a concert in the summer of 2000. Promoted as an afternoon of music and art the concert has since grown into an annual festival, showcasing music performed by world-class musicians, fittingly complemented by breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley as backdrop.