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Article Originally Published: | July 10, 2023

The two-day Cobblestone Live Music & Arts Festival is bringing together more Buffalo businesses and talent than ever before.

For its fifth year, taking place July 14 and 15 in the Cobblestone District, there will be 60 local vendors – triple the number from previous years – plus more than 20 musical acts, a chicken wing eating contest presented by Wingnutz, food, drinks and immersive activities.

“It has just bred this beautiful representation on Buffalo,” said Grace Vesneske, festival co-director and president. “We are not just highlighting music anymore; we are highlighting everything else we have to offer.”

Vesneske and co-director Josh Holtzman spend about 10 months planning the event, which was put on hold for two years during the pandemic. During that time, they started the event management company Twenty6 Productions, which has helped them expand the Cobblestone event with a wider-range of vendors and experiences that were absent in previous years.

There’s plenty to see and do at the Cobblestone Live Music & Arts Festival beyond live music including family activities and more than 60 vendors. Courtesy Cobblestone Live

That includes a Buffalo AKG truck, performances by Buffalo Flow Jam and the Bird’s Nest aerial dancers, a large number of food trucks like Fat Bob’s Smokehouse, Moneybag Dumplings and Falafel Bar. A mocktail bar allows for a sober alternative to the craft beer and cocktail stations.

Additionally, there will be a CPR2YOU training tent, Hatchets and Hops Axe Wagon and City of Buffalo Animal Shelter. Featured local apparel retailers include Aille Design, That’s Wild Child and Hot Wing Designs.

Cobblestone Live differs from some live music experiences in that it is a family-friendly event. There is a “kid’s village and experience” area that has drumming classes, games, sensory bins, a book and clothing vendor, and a stage, which will have an accordionist and Slyboots Circus.

There will also be Narcan training for parents by the Erie County Department of Health.

“We just want everybody to be comfortable and that’s where the family atmosphere comes in,” Vesneske said. “I have two sisters who love to go to concerts and that is kind of limiting a lot of the time because they don’t have something to occupy their children.”

Since supporting Buffalo is at the forefront of the festival, local music acts include Space Junk, a progressive-trance, jam band quartet; Fernway, alternative rock with pop-punk sensibilities; and rock-reggae quintet Funktional Flow. The Tom Petty tribute Leroy Townes Band and Grateful Dead cover band Workingman’s Dead are Buffalo-based as well, in addition to the July 15 late-night silent disco, which also is comprised of all local DJs.

Put on headphones and groove to the music when the Silent Disco returns to Buffalo Iron Works as part of the Cobblestone Live Music & Arts Festival. Zachary Todtenhagen

Festival headliners are the Vermont-based jam quartet Twiddle on July 14 and pop-radio alum Andy Grammer on July 15. Other acts include country music singer Cooper Alan, singer-songwriter Andy Frasco and the U.N., synthwave sextet Doom Flamingo, funk-soul Joslyn & The Sweet Compression and Stop Making Sense, a Talking Heads cover band.

The festival has four stages with two outside for music (one on South Park Avenue and another on Illinois Street), an outdoor stage for kids’ entertainment, and a stage inside Buffalo Iron Works.
This year the festival is partnering with the Buffalo-based nonprofit P.U.N.T. Pediatric Cancer Collaborative as the event’s primary beneficiary. A portion of the proceeds of Cobblestone Live will go toward support for P.U.N.T and its numerous initiatives, providing financial and emotional support to families in Western New York facing pediatric cancer. There will be a silent auction and a table to educate festivalgoers about the work being done at P.U.N.T.
Tickets start at $60 for a single day, $110 for two days. VIP tickets are $175 for a single day, $300 for both and include access to VIP-only tents, which have a bar, lounge area and private bathroom access. Children ages 10 and younger will be admitted for free. Festivalgoers will be able to come and go as they please with their Cobblestone wristband. Jack Rabbit, the Elmwood Avenue bar and restaurant, will serve food in the VIP tents, as well as throughout the festival grounds.