Lake George Music Festival the first post-COVID outing for many performers

carriage house fort william henry lake george music festival

The Carriage House at Fort William Henry, the new venue for this year’s Lake George Music Festival (Photo: Lake George Music Festival)

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – In the village of Lake George, it’s been a season of music in the air.

And those playing their violins, horns and more couldn’t be more thankful.

This year’s Lake George Music Festival just wrapped up, spanning Aug. 18-25. And festival organizer Alex Lombard says it was good to be back.

“It was super exciting to come back to a new space and bring everyone some live music,” Lombard said in a phone call Thursday. “It was a great season.”

The new space in question was The Carriage House at Fort William Henry, which has hosted a week of shows featuring 22 musicians. Lombard said that, for many of those musicians, the festival was the first chance they’ve had to play for an audience since the pandemic.

That number is down from 40-50 performers in a non-COVID year. In that kind of year, they hail from across and beyond the country.

Performers in Lake George this week were from a variety of locations, but with a northeast focus, to minimize long-distance travel as COVID-19 concerns continue to stick around.

But still, some came from farther.

“We had a couple fly in from California, once travel restrictions were lessened a bit.”

Those same virus concerns led to the festival requiring all audience members to wear face masks.

That requirement didn’t impede things. The festival’s final show on Wednesday night, featuring the Lake George Music Festival Symphony Orchestra, saw a full house.

Last year, coronavirus kept the typical festival from taking place. Instead, a drive-in festival was held at Charles R. Wood Park in the village last September.

Much like this year’s festival, that one was a rare chance for performing musicians to actually be onstage again.

The festival has made its home across the village of Lake George in the past, but this year’s success at The Carriage House is a good sign, as it’s the first of a five-year agreement. Fort William Henry’s performance space will be the festival’s home until at least 2026.

Success at this year’s festival is good, but planning for next year can never come too soon. Thursday’s conversation with Lombard was moments before he headed off to a meeting to talk about the ins and outs of 2022’s festival.

Planning for 2021 after the drive-in show last year meant assuming the worst, as in planning around the same COVID restrictions as in 2020. It’s a similar line of thought that now follows Lombard to next year.

Lombard said that The Carriage House’s ventilation and space means that people can come and enjoy a show without being shoulder-to-shoulder. There are boundless unknowns between now and summer 2022, but if the venue can accommodate coronavirus safety measures this year, it can next year, too.

“Regardless of what happens next year, I think we’ll be well-suited with this new space,” Lombard said.

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