How We Celebrated Dylan’s Birthday at the Winery

E'lissa Jones BandMemorial Day weekend, for those of us who live in a four-season climate, is often thought of as the beginning of summer. It may mean the season’s first trip to the shore or beach or lake. It may mean pulling out all the deck and backyard gear and having a barbeque. For me it means at trip to Warwick, N.Y., for the Dylan Fest at the Warwick Valley Winery.

Here’s Rod Macdonald, joined by the E’lissa Jones Band and the Kennedys.

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The Bob Dylan Festival is three days of music, food and, not surprisingly, wine. Sometimes there are headliners. This year Steve Forbert played one day. But for the most part it involves local musicians, like those in he video above, covering Dylan songs. In this part of New York State, there is no shortage of talented musicians.

Dylan Fest audienceDog at Dylan FestWine barThese photos were taken on Sunday, May 24. Bob Dylan’s birthday. Dylan turned 74. His first album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, was released in 1963. It included songs that would be covered here in Warwick and all over the world, including “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright,” “Masters of War,” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”

Anthony FioreRod Macdonald and the Kennedys

E'lissa Jones Band

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18 Responses to How We Celebrated Dylan’s Birthday at the Winery

  1. Looks like a great time. Wineries are some of my favorite places, so I definitely would have been there had I lived close by. 🙂


  2. Donna Janke says:

    The festival looks like a great time. We don’t have the Memorial Day holiday in Canada, but the Victoria Day long weekend in May usually occurs the weekend before Memorial Day. We view that as the unofficial start of summer, even if some years (like this one) it is still pretty chilly.


  3. Meredith says:

    This looks like so much fun! What a great way to celebrate. And it looks like you had perfect weather!


  4. Looks like a great time. =)


  5. I loves me some Bob Dylan. It’s funny because in high school when I first heard being played by a cook on the line at the restaurant I worked at, I was like “what is that rickety, screechy hillbilly voice.” And then I just started gravitating toward Dylan hook, line, and sinker. I saw him two summers ago in Nashville when I was moving cross country. He was five minutes into “Tangled up in Blue” before I realized what the song even once since he plays the anyway he wants. And talk about chills when he sang the last couple of songs. To hear “All Along the Watchtower” was divine. So lucky you got to go to this celebration of his work. I used to have students enter the Dylan Days writing contest that’s put on in his hometown of Hibbing, MN. His biography is also a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ken Dowell says:

      If I ever were to make a movie about him I think I’d open with a scene in which his music is coming out of the kitchen of a restaurant in Idaho. Maybe “It’s Alright Ma.”


  6. lenie5860 says:

    What fun, Ken. Our unofficial kick-off to summer was the weekend before but your weather looked much better than ours did. This festival looked like it had an old time flavour – a community of strangers getting together and becoming more than strangers at the end. Those casual times are the best, aren’t they?


  7. Interesting, I honestly had no idea there was a Dylan festival and have to admit, I never listened to him. Most likely because he was popular before I was a teenager. Glad you enjoyed yourself


  8. maxwell ivey says:

    Hi ken; thanks for telling us about this festival. sounds like you all had fun. thanks for sharing max


  9. jacquiegum says:

    This looks like a perfect Memorial Day weekend! I’m glad you waited with your post so that you could share it with us! Nothing like Bob Dylan music and wine to start off a season:) Glad you had great weather, too!


  10. Tim says:

    I love those kinds of folksy festivals and even though I can’t admit to being a huge Dylan fan I am a fan of the era. Looks like you had better weather there than we had here.


  11. Beth Niebuhr says:

    What fun! Festivals like that are often such a good time. Thanks for sharing with us. It’s okay to be a couple days late!


  12. Andy says:

    You don’t mention an admission charge – was there one? (Music festivals can be seriously pricey these days.)

    BTW, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was actually Dylan’s second record – see:


  13. Tee hee…I can’t stand to hear Bob Dylan sing, but I could read his songs anytime at all. What an amazing writer. The voice, though…I think people love him or are like me and not so much. I think it would be GREAT fun to hear a bunch of bands/singers perform his work. Looks like a good, fun day.


  14. Oh wow! This looks like so much fun, What a great way to celebrate plus the weather was perfect.


  15. Erica says:

    Looks like it was a fun time with lots of talent. I remember how excited I was for Memorial Day when I lived on the east coast. It was always so nice to be able to just be outside again. I’m not super familiar with Bob Dylan’s music, but any occasion for a bunch of musicians to get together and play seems like a good one.


  16. Jason @ says:

    Looks like you had a wonderful time.


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