The 2022 Adirondack Independence Music Festival lights up Lake George over Labor Day Weekend

It’s that time of year again. The days grow shorter, the temps start to drop, and most importantly — Labor Day weekend means it was time for the Adirondack Independence Music Festival. This festival takes place annually at Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George and it gets better every year. 

Photo by Tammie Birdwell

Jeff Morad from Vermont’s EQX kicked things off by announcing it was his favorite weekend of the entire year and I have to admit that I agree with him. The organizers of this festival know what they’re doing and I didn’t see a single person having a bad time throughout. 

The lineup this year was absolutely stacked with every genre you might want to hear. Not only did the festival feature top-rated local acts like Annie in the Water and Lucid it also included international touring superstars such as moe., White Denim, and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong — and this year the lineup was absolutely packed with ladies as well. 

Photo by Tammie Birdwell

The artist at large was Hayley Jane and she played with her band Hayley Jane and the Primates as well as multiple sit-ins with Pink Talking Phish, Moe, Annie in the Water, and more. There were also several Shannon Lynch sightings as she played with Pink Talking Fish, Moe, and Neighbor

The Lineup

Fridays started off with local rockers Sly Fox and the Hustlers and it was the perfect choice to kick things off. These guys absolutely rock and they told me backstage they have a new song due out in October so keep your eyes peeled. Next up was the Funky Dawgz Brass Band — a delightful blend of big band music and hip hop. Check out their new album Vertical available now. 

The remainder of the afternoon was filled with even more delights. Joe Samba delivered a set full of original reggae tracks and unique progressive rock covers — check out his album Far From Forever available now. Next up was a local favorite out of Plattsburgh, NY Lucid and these guys absolutely deliver every time. If you missed them, they have a gig coming up at the Waterhole in October.  

Photo by Tammie Birdwell

The final three acts on Friday were Ryan Montbleau, Badfish (a Sublime cover band), and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong made the trip up from Baltimore. Hayley Jane joined Ryan Montbleau for a few songs including some special treats from their duet album Yes Darling. Badfish was as good as getting to see the real thing — those boys really know how to throw down. 

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Saturday’s headliners were Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. Hailing from Baltimore, MD, this band met in college. The first time I saw them play was in a tiny venue called the Eight by Ten. Their hair is longer, and they have a much larger discography, but this band’s unique energy and style haven’t changed a bit. I knew when I saw them way back when that they were destined for greatness. If you haven’t gotten to experience this band, you really are missing out. 


Ghosts of Jupiter opened things up on Saturday and they were an excellent choice to kick off day two — their ethereal sounds and gentle jams were the perfect way to get everyone back in the mood. Root Shock was up next and I can’t rave about this band enough. Hailing from Syracuse New York, Jessica Brown’s vocals are a wonder to behold and the band’s reggae sound was the perfect backdrop to get us through the afternoon heat. 

When this band played, they got everyone on their feet — Bella’s Bartok was up next. I overheard a lady say, “I love anything that makes me feel like I am at the circus,” and that is the best way to explain what it feels like to see Bella’s Bartok live. Lady’s night continued because West End Blend played next. This band is funky, delicious, and delightful in every way. Check out their new single Dangerous, available now. 

Photo by Tammie Birdwell

Did I mention the lineup was stacked? 

Saturday ended with a set from Dogs in a Pile, Pink Talking Fish, White Denim, and Moe. Dogs in a Pile was a jam-tastic set — if you haven’t gotten to see this band yet do so while you can still see them at a smaller venue because they won’t be playing there for long. Pink Talking Fish, a band that plays Pink Floyd, Phish, and Talking Heads never disappoints, honestly, they were better than ever. And I had never gotten to see White Demin before and I certainly plan to see them again as soon as possible. 


And if you thought the lineup sounded good so far, just wait until you hear about Sunday. We opened with a wonderful brunch set from local favorite Annie in the Water — complete with a sit-in from Hayley Jane. Then, it was time again for another female-led band, and one of my personal favorites, The Big Takeover delighted everyone with their amazing dancehall beats. 

Photo by Tammie Birdwell

Hayley Jane and the Primates were up next and after a brief hiatus, I could not be happier to see this band on tour once again. As a storm blew in, Freekbass and the Bump Assembly got up there anyway. Sadly, after only a few songs we had to evacuate due to lightning. The only snafu of the entire weekend. Fortunately, it only lasted for a few minutes and we got back to it quickly. 

Neighbor, Lespecial, and Dopapod played everyone through the rest of the evening. Shannon Lynch sat in with Neighbor and while it was my first time hearing this band too, it won’t be my last. Lespecial was an absolute blast, as usual. And Dopapod had everyone in the crowd fighting for a spot on the rail. 


The live music scene in upstate NY is one of the best in the entire country if I do say so myself. One of the reasons is that we have bands like Moe around. Moe headlined both Saturday and Sunday night for one reason alone — we can’t get enough. Their sets both nights were as rich, full, and entertaining as ever. Even after 3 days in the hot sun, people were begging for more late Sunday when it was finally time to call it quits. 

If you didn’t get a chance to go this year, don’t worry. The Adirondack Independence Music Festival will happen again next year and you can’t forget the date — it’s always on Labor Day weekend. 

Photo Gallery by Tammie Birdwell

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