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Old Hippies will return in July for canal concerts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2016 at 12:00 am

File photos by Tom Rivers – The Old Hippies became The Traveling Towpath Troubadours for a concert series at canal towns last July. The group, led by Bill McDonald, will be back July 8-11. They are pictured during a concert last summer at Medina’s Canal Basin.

The Traveling Towpath Troubadours will be back this summer for a series of concerts along the Erie Canal.

Bill McDonald of Batavia spearheaded the concert series last summer, traveling with his band mates from the Old Hippies. They played music atop a boat, visiting Middleport, Medina, Albion and Holley for concerts.

“It was a lot of fun,” said McDonald, who has enjoyed a musical career over 50 years, playing with the Ghost Riders, Old Hippies and other bands. “We were very happy.”

Bill McDonald and his wife Kay play in Medina last July.

This year the Troubadours will start the series in Lockport on July 8, and then head east. They are trying to piggyback on other events in the canal communities, including farmers’ markets, and arts and fitness programs.

After Lockport on July 8 for an evening concert, they will perform in Middleport on July 9. They will play in Medina on July 10 when hundreds of cyclists will be in town for the Cycling the Erie Canal event. The Troubadours will also play in Albion in the evening on July 10. They will conclude the series on July 11 in Holley.

McDonald is putting together the series and welcomes community organizations to help promote the series and have other activities going on for the canal concerts.

“We feel civic pride in it,” he said about the concerts. “We had a lot of fun last year and we want to help promote the canal.”

McDonald will be joined by his wife Kay and other members of the Old Hippies band, including Vinny Pastore and Jim Catino.

A grant from the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council is covering some of the cost of the effort, including renting a packet boat for the trip. The concerts will be free to the public. Some of the municipalities also are contributing to the concerts.

For more on the Troubadours, click here. To see a YouTube video from last July’s concert series, visit youtube.com.