The last two years were awful for live music, but with more and more shows popping up in the 2022 calendar, and WRRV Sessions back in full swing live and in-person at Newburgh Brewing Company, I thought it was the perfect time to settle the debate: where's the best place to check out live music in the Hudson Valley?

The Venues That Started It All

Growing up in Ulster County, it always felt like we were headed into the "big city" to check out shows in Dutchess County. My very first concert was Korn and Limp Bizkit and their Life is Peachy tour in 1997 at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, an experience that turned into a core memory. I hadn't even hit puberty yet, and there I was, showing up to see two of the hardest bands in the country, and I was wearing an Elmo t-shirt. Bless my dad's heart for driving me.

Soon I was headed to the Chance, the Bardavon, and itching to find more venues, and more towns, where I could check out live music. And that was the reason behind this article. So let's count down the top 5 theaters, amphitheaters, and clubs, all according to you. A few you'll recognize, but hopefully there will be one or two that will inspire you to check out a new place... and some new music.

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Google Maps
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5. The Capitol Theater, Port Chester

The Capitol was originally a movie theater, but now has hosted bands like Phish, Blues Traveler, and even the Rolling Stones. Check out their calendar here.

4. The Falcon, Marlboro

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The Falcon is a local treasure, and a huge supporter of live and local artists. As they say on their Facebook page,

No tickets. No Cover. Donations highly encouraged. The Falcon asks listeners to SUPPORT LIVING ARTISTS by making their contributions to the donation box - 100% of which goes to the headlining act.

With the addition of a bar and restaurant, the Falcon has something for everybody.

Facebook/Paramount Hudson Valley
Facebook/Paramount Hudson Valley
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3.  The Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, Peekskill

Built in the 1930s by the movie company Paramount as a movie theater, the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater has since become a venue for musicians, comedians, and everyone in between. See all their events here.

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2. Bethel Woods, Bethel

Talk about history. Located on the land where the legendary Woodstock '69 took place, this amphitheater has hosted some of the biggest artists in the world. They have tons of different concerts for 2022.

Getty Images/Scott Gries
Getty Images/Scott Gries
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1. The Chance, Poughkeepsie

Are we surprised? This list was based on local votes, and The Chance took 1st place in a landslide. I still remember feeling like my band "made it" when we got to play a show at the Chance's sister club, Club Crannell. I've seen everyone from Everlast to the Gin Blossoms to From Autumn to Ashes at the Chance, and I bet you have a Chance story, too. Here's their concert calendar.

Honorable Mention

While it didn't make the list, the Orange County Fairgrounds have also put together quite the venue. Check out some photos below:

Inside Arena Concert Venue at Orange County Fairgrounds

Most of us are used to seeing concerts at the Orange County Fair Grounds outside on the track but did you know they have a great indoor space as well? I was just there for Scotty McCreery's Same Truck Tour so I thought I would snap a few pictures so you can check the place out.

8 Song References to the Hudson Valley by Famous Artists

Spanning several decades and various styles of music, here is a list of songs that make some reference to the Hudson Valley region.