In the “village within a village,” you can shop local stores, find public music, watch films, and attend a chili contest, what’s not to love?
On Sept. 24, County Hell, a Hudson Valley cover band that plays the Irish punk music of The Pogues, closed out the 2019 Water Street Live Music Series that kicked off in May. Throughout the past five months, 18 bands local to the Hudson Valley played on select Tuesdays in the courtyard of Water Street.
The band consisted of a lead singer and guitarist, violinist, banjo player, accordian player and a drummer. The music was folksy, punk and a bit of rock and roll. With the Hudson Valley mountains to the left of them, it was an experience not to miss out on.
Proprietor of Jar’d Wine Club and The Parish Restaurant, and community events coordinator for Water Street Market, Theresa Fall is responsible for booking the bands for the Live Music Series.
“It’s not a lot of money, but they [play] because they love doing it. It’s nice because they can perform somewhere community oriented, and their kids and families can come,” Fall said.
The Live Music Series has been transformative in turning the Market from a place that many felt was built towards tourists to one where “people can come together” and appreciate a zest for the Hudson Valley community and culture that is especially distinct on Water Street. Moreover, the crowds that the series draws are also great for business.
When it comes to who ends up getting booked for the Live Music Series, Fall takes note of event turnout, and looks to the community: she talks with regulars at Jar’d about how much they like the bands that play. Fall likes to bring back musicians that make an effort to bring people in. It’s hard to get a spot playing in the Series, but if you’re a band like County Hell that can draw a crowd and play great music, Water Street will love you.
Banjo player Mike Piastro loves the local music scene in New Paltz and likes playing Water Street because of the outside atmosphere and it being a family friendly venue.
County Hell violinist Libby Zemaitis was born and raised in New Paltz. Her favorite part about playing Water Street and living in the area is the “vibe of all different ages: young kids, college students, families, older people and all the people that love to enjoy the mountain and outdoor stuff.” She thinks Water Street “has got a pretty good richness to it.”
A hallmark of the Hudson Valley, Water Street and events like the Water Street Live Music Series provide a place for people to come together and share the love of the area. The series is over now, but it will start up again in May. Until then, shop in the stores, stop in at Jar’d Wine Club, and look out for the January Chili Contest, Theresa Fall’s favorite event of the year, where restaurants and home chefs make chilies and raise money for a local food pantry.