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Tappan Native Spearheads Return Of Rockland-Bergen Music Fest

Joe D'Urso at the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival in 2015.
Joe D'Urso at the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival in 2015. Photo Credit: Mark Wyville
John Grushecky performs at the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival in 2015.
John Grushecky performs at the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival in 2015. Photo Credit: Mark Wyville

TAPPAN, N.Y. - Even though he lived in Tappan growing up, the end of Joe D'Urso's street was in New Jersey. The opposite is now true 50 years later.

Yet for as long as D'Urso has straddled the Rockland-Bergen border there has been a dearth of live music venues, he said over the phone.

So, drawing on his love of Jersey Rock, folk music, and 25 years worth of friends and contacts in the music industry, D'Urso launched the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival in 2014. The festival returns for its third year the weekend of June 25-26 at the German Masonic Park in Tappan.

D'Urso has been involved in music festivals over the years, such as CBGB Music and Film Festival.

"But bringing this to my home area was a little bit different because there is nothing like this in the area," he said.

The festival will feature over 20 artists on two stages over two days and includes Jorma Kaukonen, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, and Willie Nile, along with D'Urso & The Stone Caravan.

"Seeing Jorma do an acoustic set in my hometown where I grew up will be very special," D'Urso said.

D'Urso is hoping the festival will attract over a thousand people, and envisions the festival growing to a point where he can attract acts such as Counting Crows and Wilco.

In the meantime, the festival remains an intimate affair, described to D'Urso as "a picnic with famous people" but with an added layer.

An admirer of Pete Seeger and Harry Chapin, and as someone who works with non-profit organizations, D'Urso has arranged for organizations such the Light of Day Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and Homes for Heroes to be present at the festival to raise awareness of their respective missions. Music and philanthropy go hand-in-hand for him.

"I like the fact that there are other good things occurring" aside from the music, D'Urso said.

Tickets are can be purchased here . The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. both days. Bailey's Smokehouse in Blauvelt will provide food, and Growler & Gill will provide the craft beer. (D'Urso is still working on a vegan vendor.)

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