LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Every summer (barring 2020), the Lake George Music Festival draws classical musicians from across the country – and often beyond – to play by the lake. That means a lot of musicians need a place to stay.
The Lake George Music Festival is looking for hosts for the 50-60 musicians who will be coming to the Lake George area to perform over two weeks this August. Don’t worry; you’d only be asked to host one or two of them.
“Quite honestly, without the host program, there is no Lake George Music Festival,” said festival organizer Alex Lombard. “Whether they’re volunteers, board members or people who just love music (…) we really rely on these people to put people up.”
The bare minimum that musicians need is a bedroom and bathroom. Outside of the lunches that the festival provides, many musicians share meals with families as well.
Putting the violinists, pianists and other talents up with local families certainly cuts what would otherwise be a huge cost paid to hotels. Besides that, though, it provides two other things. One is a better practice space than one might find in a room at a Holiday Inn, with less likelihood of disturbing other nearby guests. The other is the foundation of a lasting relationship that plenty of Lake George locals have made with visitors from Texas, California, and even other parts of the world.
“I get emails all the time from past hosts,” said Lombard. “Not only do they love hosting, but they stay in contact with their musicians and really generate lifelong friends. People love it.”
There’s not an exact radius for how far Lombard is looking. Anyone with a spare room is welcome to reach out, especially if they live in Lake George, Bolton Landing or Queensbury. Some musicians may need rides to the village on performance night, but that’s all circumstantial.
Lombard says it’s about a 50/50 on who will be returning, and who will be new to Lake George; for both musicians and hosts alike. The COVID-19 pandemic has made international travel difficult, with last year’s musical guests mostly coming from within the U.S. That’s still true this year.
The festival itself adapted to the COVID-19 realities of 2020 by hosting a drive-in musical show in the fall. Last year, it was back in full swing in-person, at a new venue. The Carriage House at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center hosted a week of shows, featuring 22 musicians. This year, with as many as 60 musicians coming to town, the festival will take up its usual two weeks again, and Lombard is excited to see them get back to the new venue.
“We were pleasantly surprised. We had no idea what it was going to sound like, because it had sat empty for decades,” he said. “We were blown away; it sounds so good, the acoustics are excellent, and people really love the location.”
Lake George is pushing hard to become more than just a summer destination, with February events like Ice Castles and the Lake George Winter Carnival bringing people to Canada Street on the colder side of the year. As for the summer, though, the Lake George Music Festival is a big one. As it comes time to bring strings, brass and camaraderie to the village once more, Lombard is excited to put on a show.
Those who want to help that show happen can contact Lombard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 791-5089. The 2022 Lake George Music Festival is set for August 10-18.