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The Times
  • Gelston Castle poised to become premier concert, event destination

  • Dave Lory’s 30-year career in music includes managing such artists as Jeff Buckley, the Allman Brothers and Courtney Love, to running International Records at Mercury Records and Artemis Records as its senior vice president. He’s worked with Bon Jovi, KISS, Shania Twain, Warren Zevon, Steve Earle and ...
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  • Dave Lory’s 30-year career in music includes managing such artists as Jeff Buckley, the Allman Brothers and Courtney Love, to running International Records at Mercury Records and Artemis Records as its senior vice president.
    He’s worked with Bon Jovi, KISS, Shania Twain, Warren Zevon, Steve Earle and Elivs Costello, among others, and now he is readying to transform Mohawk’s Gelston Castle Estate into the Northeast’s premier concert and event destination.
    “With 330 acres, it’s natural beauty, panoramic view and rich history, the estate makes for an unequalled concert experience,” said Lory, director of events and in-house producer for the former home of world-renown violinist Rostropovic.
    He added when he looks at the estate he sees more than a plot of land 7.5 miles off the Herkimer exit of the New York State Thruway. He sees campgrounds, multiple stage areas, a recording studio, space for cultural displays, a farmers’ market and a restaurant.
    “Planning a music festival is like building a small city,” said Lory. “It’s not as simple as setting up a stage in the middle of an outdoor amphitheater. You have to consider traffic flow and parking, where to place the portable toilets in relation to the campgrounds and performance area, the safety of the performers and the festival goers … you have to create a memorable experience. Music festivals are about the fan experience, because that’s what people remember. They remember the experience more than the music.”
    Lory has been working on building a memorable experience for visitors to Gelston Castle Estate since he took on his position in January. In the months since he has been sharing his vision with locals, promoters, vendors and others as he builds to summer and beyond.
    “The response has been encouraging. Safflyn Corporation’s vision is one people are eager to support. People are eager to get behind a company that is about protecting and promoting the environment and creating a better quality of life. Tie their belief in with my experience producing live shows, events and tour management, and I believe we have the opportunity to create something special here,” he said. “The people I’ve talked to, whether it’s a farmer on Robinson Road or the head of CSS Security, which has been providing the highest level of security services to dignitaries and artists for over 35 years, have been welcoming and are excited to build a festival destination in the Northeast.”
    Lory said a music festival — Come Up — would call Gelston Castle home from July 19 to July 21 this summer and that he is in talks to bring the 20th anniversary H.O.R.D.E. Festival and Reggae Sunsplash to the estate. He’s also in talks with other promoters.
    “The vision is not just about big festivals. We’re also talking about setting a video screen up on the lawn and having outdoor movie nights and having monthly teen dance nights,” he said. “If someone has an idea for event, big or small, I would be interested in hearing it. Yes, it’s great to bring in festivals that pack in tens of thousands of people, but it’s also great to put on smaller events that cater to families and teens. That’s what we are building here. We’re building an entertainment destination for any type of event,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Lory added he is not only looking for national partners, but for local partners as well.
    “Some of the ideas I have deal with donating leftover food from a larger festival to a local food bank, donating camping equipment left behind to a local charity and inviting local farmers to sell their produce at the estate during a festival. It’s important that the estate gives back to the community, and it’s also important that the estate builds a positive relationship with the community. It’s not just the venue that sets Gelston Castle apart from other festival locations, it’s the hospitality of the people. I’ve been around the world with different festivals, and the people here in the Mohawk Valley are among the most hospitable I’ve encountered. When it comes time to have a festival here, the artists, the promoters, the fans — everyone will see how great a place this is,” he said.
    To book live events at Gelston Castle Estate, contact Lory at 917-744-1904 or email him at dlory@wweg.com.

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