The Pleasantville Music Festival This Weekend Brings Much Needed Music To NYC Suburbs

Back from vacation, and ready to listen to new music!!!Living in the suburbs of New York City, “Un-Block The Music” is always on a train heading south to see shows! When I was in college, it was different the drinking age was 18, and there were so many bars and clubs playing live music, we could never choose where to go! I saw everybody 5 minutes away from home! I watched bands like Twisted Sister become stars. While there are still places to see live bands, it’s a bit more of a struggle, and in most cases, you have to be 21 years old to go into a club. However, every July, the music comes to Westchester County and everyone can attend. It’s The Pleasantville Music Festival.  Check it out this weekend.…Saturday,  July 13 starting at noon,. It is less than an hour ride by train. Ah…it feels like summer!  (

This year’s line-up is one of the best I have seen lately. Check out the headliners, Everclear, Matthew Sweet, Soul Asylum and Aimee Mann. While the acts lean toward rock, there is folk and alternative music, and some of the younger acts have a different edge. The New Respects, for example, have a soul/rock/pop edge. Tales of Joy have a reggae vibe. “Un-Block The Music” suggests, going to the website to preview bands. There are three stages and the festival runs all day.


Festival Director, Bruce Figler reminded “Un-Block The Music” about the festival’s roots. “In 2004, a couple of guys from Pleasantville, one being the mayor at the time, said we need a music festival. The first one was in 2005, and it had much more of a folk feel to it. Jonathan Edwards (“Sunshine”) was the headliner. By the next year, the festival turned more towards contemporary rock. Today, while we still have the folk contingent, we have a little bit of everything for everyone!

“Un-Block The Music” chatted with a few of the bands including headliner Everclear. Here is a little preview of what to expect.

First off, the Lagond Music School in Elmsford, NY ( sponsored the Battle of the Bands contest which took place in the Spring. “Un-Block” spoke to all three winners.

The big winner of the Battle of the Bands was Mosa, aka. Melissa Frabotta and Phil Anthony, They will kick off the Main Stage at noon Described as a blend of feel-good rock, folk and soul, “Un-Block The Music” thinks they are “way more fun” than that.  Melissa says she grew up listening to a lot of country music like Patsy Kline. “My dad would play it. I loved Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; a lot of the beautiful folk bands. But the other side of me loves John Mayer and Tom Petty. However, the music I have been influenced by that lead me to where I am doesn’t necessarily sound like my music.”

If you read “Un-Block The Music” often, you know how much I love guitars! Melissa said, “some people are really into making music in a computer, but at the same time, I think guitars are still cool.” The band is working on new music this summer. Check out their website and their song “Mama’s Got Brand New Shoes” recorded at Bomb Shelter Studios in Nashville. We are going to release a full studio version of the song which will be bigger, with harmonies and new guitar parts,” she said.

Another of the Battle of The Bands winners is Spitphyre ( They will kick off the Party Stage at noon. Guitarist, Jon Thomas said, “ I feel like it’s very hard to perfectly pin our sound. What’s so beautiful about Spitphyre is that we all come from so many different walks of life in terms of the genres.  For instance, our guitarist Nick comes from playing Jazz which most certainly adds a nice spice to our songs. But when I write it ranges from my old Punk roots and love for Classic Rock and Alternative Music. On our Spotify, we’re listed as a ‘Genre-bending Rock band’ which I think would most accurately pin it! Currently, the band has just reached 1000 streams on its Spotify single “Sunset Skies”, also the title track of their album.

The third winner of the battle was Lillimure ( who kicks off the Party tent at noon. At first listen, “Un-Block The Music” thought I heard a Nora Jones influence. Lilli said that was not the first time she heard that, but says, while Nora is great, she doesn’t know a lot of her music. Ed Sheeran is more her influence. Lilli’s just 20, but her songs and her confidence are way beyond. That confidence can probably be, in part, attributed to her background in musical theater. Check out her music blends on the song “Something.” Lilli has already released a self-titled EP. She says her music is a combination of fast-paced lyricism, folk music’s storytelling and soul music’s vocals. She is taking control of her career and learning the business side of music at the Clive Institute of Recorded Music where she will begin classes this fall.

Another band playing the festival may be recognizable, Swahoogie. They have been playing their music live since the 1990s. According to Tom Krouskoff, they have built up their music organically, word of mouth. “We started playing in the NYC at clubs that encouraged new music from upcoming musicians. Seeing music live is exciting, but the vibe is different today. A lot of music played in clubs now comes from tribute bands,  but we still play our own music. Likes and follows are the most important thing today, but this band just gets out there live.”  If you love “swampy” music (as the band describes it), and you love the vibe of the Rolling Stones or Tom Petty, you should  check out this band. Their EP is “Where I Belong” and their compilation CD is “Songs From the ‘Hoog”. They are playing at 1:40 pm on the Mainstage.

Dean Friedman is playing the Partyline Chill Tent at 5:30 pm.” I grew up listening to all kinds of music, in every genre: rock, pop, folk, country, jazz, classical, etc… but always had a special affinity for singer-songwriters, folks like Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, James Taylor, etc… storytellers, who somehow painted vivid images with their words and music – almost of a cinematic quality, as if the listener we’re stepping into musical scenario.” Dean is close to my heart as he quoted one of Un-Block The Music’s all-time favorite songs. “The audience is heavenly, but the traveling is hell” (Dan Fogelberg, “Same Old Lang Synge”). “I love the process of songwriting, and have always enjoyed recording in the studio, but neither of them quite compares to the high of getting up on stage and sharing a song, in real time, with a live audience. The eventual audience feedback and satisfaction you get from writing a song or recording an album is a distinct pleasure, but always delayed; while the feedback and joy of a live performance is instantaneous and electric, a powerful two-way connection that can only happen live.” (

Then there is Color Tongue who will play the Panamation Party Stage at 1 pm. While others describe Color Tongue as psychedelic, band members, George Miata and Eddie Kuspiel say it is more than that. Their music ranges from experimental to pop rock as well.  “We really wanted to put together an immersive live performance and something that transitions from one thing to the next. It has grown since Eddie and I have been together,” said George. “We now also work with a visual artist and we try to give the viewer an experience.” For example, sometimes he will bring a bunch of bubbles out to the audience and get them involved in the performance. “A lot of people get discovered on You Tube, but any headway we have gotten has been from somebody seeing us at a live show,” he said. Look for their new album in late summer, early fall.

Love Micky James ( . He has enough old school rock coupled with new age rock and a contemporary twist to lure in a diverse audience. Micky says, there is a lot of good music being created, but you have to dig for it, especially in America. “You have to cut through a lot of noise, but there are a lot of great guitar bands. It’s an underground thing. Live performance is an art form that will never go away. People will always want to go out and see a show or a band. It’s important for artists like myself. Even though I am not getting a lot of radio attention, I am a good performer and sell my music and my act that way Check out Micky’s new song “Walk The Line,”. Micky will be on the Party stage at 5:30 p.m.

Check back mid-day Friday for my interview with Everclear!!!!



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