Michael Hurley joins Yo La Tengo for surprise appearance at Nelsonville Music Festival

By Julia Weber, Features Editor

[Photo courtesy of Julia Weber]


American folk singer-songwriter Michael Hurley joined rock band Yo La Tengo for a surprise appearance during the band’s headlining performance at Nelsonville Music Festival (NMF) on Saturday night.

Read more: Preview: Nelsonville Music Festival Arrives this Weekend, Here’s What to Know

Yo La Tengo took the stage shortly after 9:30 p.m. Saturday night and immediately set the tone for the evening with intense electric guitar shredding, powerful vocals and synth playing.

Ira Kaplan, guitarist and singer of Yo La Tengo, explained to the audience that when they were invited to play at the event, they were unsure at first due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but cited Hurley as a deciding factor in agreeing to perform. The group then invited Hurley to join them on the Snowfork Stage to play alongside the band.

Hurley played multiple sets throughout the weekend at the festival’s other various stages, including a performance on Friday at the festival’s Pond Stage and an earlier performance on Saturday at the festival’s Creekside Stage.

Hurley was an essential figure in the Greenwich Village music scene during the 1960’s and 1970’s. He has played every Nelsonville Music Festival since 2008, according to an Instagram post made by NMF. In his song “Are You Here for the Festival?” from his 2021 album The Time of the Foxgloves, Hurley references NMF in the opening line of the song, singing “Did you ever leave Nelsonville with a broken heart?”

Yo La Tengo and Michael Hurley played a number of songs together including a performance of Hurley’s “You Got to Find Me.”

After Hurley’s departure from the stage, the band played a number of their songs including fan favorites like “Autumn Sweater” from their cult-classic 1997 album I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One and “I’ll Be Around” from their 2013 album Fade. The group closed their set with a rendition of their 2002 release “Nuclear War” for their encore.

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