When: Sat., July 1, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Tue., July 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Last year, the Festival for the Eno's annual two-day affair suffered some unexpected derailment. On the day the festival was supposed to announce its lineup, complete with Ani DiFranco as its top headliner, DiFranco instead announced that she was cancelling her appearance It was a tough blow for the festival and the Eno River Association, the nonprofit organization for which the Festival for the Eno serves as a major fundraising event. Though the likes of Nikki Lane and Hiss Golden Messenger filled up the bill, by mid-April it was too late to get another big name for early July to fill in for DiFranco.
Fortunately, the festival has run into no such trouble for its thirty-eighth edition this week. Brooklyn's Antibalas, which blends Afrobeat, rock, dub, funk, and more into a groovy, dance-inducing blend, takes the top slot, while Ruby Amanfu offers smoky, soulful belting, and AJ Ghent shines with bright, heartfelt blues-rock. Further down the bill, the entertainment options get even more expansive: you can get a healthy dose of salsa from Orquesta GarDel, some straight-up blues from John Dee Holeman, folk-rock from Dark Water Rising, some heavy stuff from Lud, weepy country from Blue Cactus, or get a little spiritual with The Gospel Jubilators.
Unlike most other multiday music throwdowns, this year's festival isn't on consecutive days. Rather than running back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday, the Festival for the Eno splits itself between Saturday and Tuesday, which coincides with the Fourth of July holiday. In addition to the music and dance performances by the African American Dance Ensemble and the Apple Chill Cloggers, there are dozens of opportunities for family-friendly fun—games, crafts, and more. More than anything, the Festival for the Eno is about community, and this concentrated measure of it at the West Point will help float you through the rest of the summer. —Allison Hussey