ROSENDALE, N.Y. — Heat at the Rosendale Street Festival on Saturday had the crowd size down, frozen beverage sales up and a power line bursting into flames.
Officials started the event by trying to get one stage up and running after an electrical outage at the west end of Main Street. However, the determined sense of keeping visitors entertained led performer Ami Madeleine to pick up her ukulele and kick things off with an enthusiastic acoustic set.
Co-organizer Billy Liggan described such dedication as something that seems to be in the DNA of everyone who volunteers for the two-day festival.
“That’s one thing about the Rosendale Street Festival: It’s always hot and it always rains,” he said. “What we have is a dedicated group, including 80 bands, who work for free so that we can make money for the music programs in three school districts.” Liggan said.
The music programs of the Kingston city, Rondout Valley and New Paltz school districts are the beneficiaries.
“Every year, they show how important this is to them by putting on great performances (on four stages), no matter what the conditions.”
Professional resilience was demonstrated by Kitty Fisher’s Army at the Creekside stage on Snyder Avenue when an electric line caught fire in a sudden burst of sparks and flames on a pole about 100 feet away. One resident on the street said they still had electric, while another said the lights went off, but some of the wall sockets were working.
The stage was unaffected, so the band played on.
As if it were not hot enough, Earthen Essences owner Brooke Reisigl found that lighting a single scented candle was an alluring way to show off a table of oils, herbs and aromas, as well as the decorative metal work of Alexia Velez.
“It’s so hot that one candle doesn’t make any difference,” Velez said.
Velez added that she had been to a previous festival and thought it would be a great place to show off her and Reisigl’s skills.
“She sells her stuff all the time and I just started with metal work,” she said, “so it was a good place for me to start.”
The dedication also extended to some of the visitors, with Kingston residents Jen Thomas and James Felice bicycling their way to the festival early. It didn’t help them beat the heat, however, and they required a bit of hydration when they arrived.
“It was 10 or 11 miles to get here but it was worth it,” Felice said. “You’ve got places like Deer Creek Collective with iced herbal teas. It’s nice because we could get refreshed and they can show off what they’ve been doing all year.”
The festival concludes Sunday, running from noon to 7 p.m.