Stories From Main Street: Local Rocker Driving Force Behind Rockland-Bergen Music Festival

TAPPAN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — After years of hitting the road, Joe D’Urso of the rock band Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan decided to start a music festival in his own backyard.

“It came about last year,” D’Urso told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “It was my 50th birthday, and I grew up right on the border of Rockland-Bergen my whole life. And I just always thought that this area was kind of underserved when it came to music festivals.”

This year’s festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at German Masonic Park in Tappan, with 50 artists performing on three stages.

“We have a bunch of Grammy winners there — Shawn Colvin, Tom Chapin, Joe Grushecky, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Sebastian of Lovin’ Spoonful, Garland Jeffreys, Steve Forbert, David Johansen, Willie Nile, Aztec Two Step, James Maddock, myself and Stone Caravan, Guy Davis.”

D’Urso believes music can be a force for change — a positive energy that can help others.

So the festival has another roster of guests.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of great organizations over the years — WhyHunger, Light of Day, Dan Sullivan Foundation,” D’Urso said. “So last year, we had those organizations plus Homes for Heroes, and Love, Hope and Strength come in, and so this year what I wanted to do was invite even more 501c3’s. So this year, we have been 15 and 20.”

D’Urso, a local guy, is using music to make a difference.

“I’ve been joking that my inner Harry Chapin was coming out as I was making this festival, but Harry always had a great line — not to waste a captive audience,” D’Urso said. “I thought this would be a great way for people and organizations to come together.”

For more information, visit RocklandMusicFestival.com.

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