When the sun starts to shine down on Syracuse, New York, everyone is in a good mood. Do you know what would make that mood even better for locals and tourists? The New York State Blues Festival.
This annual three-day event is the icing on the cake for locals and visitors to the area. Not only do you get to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, but one of the most significant blues events in the northeast.
In the past, the New York State Blues Festival in Clinton Square has been free, which means any passer-by can enjoy the sweet melody from the center of the city. Local, regional, and national blues artists from a myriad of different genres take to the stage to share their soul and sounds. A continuous river of music flows over the City of Syracuse for three days at the end of June, and it’s something that music lovers look forward to annually.
If your heart beats for blues, then what are you waiting for? Dust off your RV, gather your nearest and dearest, and begin your adventure to Syracuse, New York, to be a part of the preservation, protection, and promotion of blues music throughout the United States.
Not only is the New York State Blues Festival one of the largest festivals like it in the northeast, but it has also been free in the past. Fans haven’t needed to buy tickets for this event traditionally, and spectators can come and go as they please.
The Onondaga County city of Syracuse in New York is a beautiful city to live in and visit, so it’s little wonder that it’s home to such a standout event. It sits directly at the intersection of I-81 and I-90 and boasts stunning views over the Onondaga Lake. Also known as Salt City, the Heart of New York, and Emerald City, it’s well worth a visit. Clinton Square is the place to stop for the NYS Blues Festival.
In your travels, you will likely find the roads are easy to navigate. However, if you’re on a tight schedule, a resource like 511NY can be of assistance. It can also help you work out the traffic if you divert off to see natural attractions like Ferris Lake Wild Forest and Black River Wild Forest near Utica along I-90.
Clinton Square is in the center of Syracuse, with very few parking options for RVs. Consider first arriving at your RV campground near the New York State Blues Festival to plan alternative transportation into the city.
Syracuse is a busy city within 90 miles of Rochester that hundreds of thousands of people call home. Its roading system is well-organized, but the congestion in the inner city area can make it nearly impossible to find a parking space for your RV. Parking garages don’t often cater to motorhomes, either.
If you do not have a tow vehicle, you may find the best way to attend the New York State Blues Festival is by leaving your motorhome at your campsite and arranging alternative transportation.
Rail and bus services are in operation throughout Syracuse, which means you shouldn’t have any problem visiting the festival throughout the three days. Familiarize yourself with bus schedules, or book a rideshare service or taxi at your convenience. You can then save your RV for exploring the city’s offerings once the festival is over, such as to Erie Canal Park or Morgan Hill State Forest.
Onsite camping is not available at Clinton Square, which is also the central hub of the bustling city and home to the Soldiers and Sailors’ Monument and winter ice skating. Visit this venue during the day, but find RV accommodation nearby once the final blues tune has played for the evening.
Syracuse might be a busy city, but it delivers on accommodation choices for motorhome travelers. Book your space at Green Lakes State Park on the outskirts of Syracuse, or be at Association Island KOA within a 70-mile drive of Clinton Square. Even within a 20-mile radius of the city center, there is an abundance of campgrounds, RV resorts, and primitive RV camping areas to tick all the boxes.
Clinton Square might be a public area, but there are a few rules and preferences for how festival attendees should get around the confined space. Given that hundreds of people gather and mingle around Clinton Square for the festival, organizers ask that you don’t use scooters or skateboards. The best and safest way to get around the event site and the city streets is on foot.
The humid continental climate of Syracuse means that you have to be quite careful with your clothing choices. Light, breathable layers are the best choice but throw a few waterproof items into your suitcase, too. The wet season begins in July, which means you’re likely to experience a few days of rainfall during your vacation toward the end of June. Pack warm layers for those lower temperatures at night.
The public location of the blues festival means that there is no one in a select area to check tickets and possessions. However, organizers ask that you don’t bring in any coolers, glass, pets, scooters, or skateboards. Leave all your cooking and camping equipment in your RV for exploring once the festival is over. Bring cash to enjoy a wide range of food and beverages and a small backpack with a few essentials.
Sunshine and summer in Syracuse go hand in hand, so make sure you have stocked up on sun safety supplies before you hit the road. Sunscreen, drinking water, and a first-aid kit are all must-haves aboard your motorhome. If you’re venturing into a state park after the festival, such as Chittenango Falls State Park near Manlius, then consider bug spray as well.
Any RV campground near the New York State Blues Festival will have preferences for how you can cook during your visit. Some will offer communal cooking areas and fire pits, while others allow the use of barbeques and onboard cookers. Before you get too comfortable, pop to the grocery store near Onandaga Creek to stock up on a few ingredients to make summer salads and other delicious camping meals.
Once you’ve joined the masses at New York State Blues Festival, you’re in the heart of Syracuse. Here, you will be surrounded by many established eateries ready to serve the crowds gathered for the music. Seafood, dessert, bistro meals, and more, are all within a short walking distance of Clinton Square.
If you’d prefer to stay as close to the blues entertainment as possible, then the onsite vendors ensure you don’t have to leave. Bring cash to Clinton Square and treat yourself at any of the food trucks set up for the festival. There will be plenty of food and beverages to satisfy your needs.
While there will be no gate ticket takers, there’s no lack of security at this event. Approach a festival official if you require assistance. You can also dial 911 in an emergency or visit the Syracuse Police Department with your problem or inquiry within one mile of Clinton Square. The New York State Blues Festival is a come and go as you please event.
Blue and cloudless skies often grace Syracuse during summer, and temperatures fluctuate between 55 degrees-Fahrenheit and the late 70s. Rainfall is common toward the end of June and into July, so consider the use of a weather app to avoid any surprises. Such an app can also be useful if you plan on checking out natural attractions, such as Clark Reservation State Park toward Jamesville, during your stay.
A summer vacation high can quickly be dampened by an illness or injury, especially in an unfamiliar town or city. Whether you’re at the New York State Blues Festival or elsewhere, help is close at hand. Dial 911 in an emergency or find the nearest health center within a mile of Clinton Square. There is also a pharmacy to top up your first-aid kit within a mile of the festival site.