Fun and Music on the River

Throughout our history, people, like the water, often found the path of least resistance downward to the river, a glistening ribbon meandering through the hills. The growth of our nation is intrinsically tied to rivers. Our ancestors harvested goods that went downstream to the port cities, today we recreate in rivers in droves. The river runs through our history and in our blood.

A lovely byproduct of our industrial growth along rivers are countless quaint historic river towns. These towns serve as gathering places for the local folk and welcome refuges for those desiring to escape the pace of modern urban life. On any summer day you can see these riverside towns bustling with activity and celebrations of locals and tourists alike. You’ll often hear the music coming around the next bend in the river!

Music has always had a special place in our lives. When not working the river and canal many folks played or sang to pass the time. A nice example of this can be found at Canal Fest at Lock 31 in Hawley every summer. Old time musicians strum guitars, banjo’s, dulcimers, fiddles, and even the occasional washboard. You can find a weekend concert or live music selection almost every day of the summer just a short drive from wherever you take out your boat. Live music can be found at Harmony in the Woods, The Dorflinger Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary, Concerts in the Park in Honesdale, the Roots and Rhythm Festival, The Cooperage, and at local bars and restaurants. Along the Delaware and Lackawaxen Rivers it’s not so much a matter of finding music to enjoy after a river trip, but narrowing it down to one choice!

If you’re fortunate enough to get to enjoy a day floating down the Delaware, Lackawaxen, or any other river, I implore you to fully enjoy your day with some nice food and good music after. There’s a bumper sticker I sometimes see near the river “Paddle faster, I hear banjo music”. To many that line pokes fun at local river folk and their fondness for banjos, invoking a bit of fear of the five string courtesy of the movie Deliverance. For me, as an avid boater and music lover it just makes me want to paddle faster so I don’t miss any more of that sweet bluegrass and cold brew waiting onshore!

Keith Pierson made a career out of his love for nature. He serves as a Resource Conservationist for the Wayne Conservation District. Since his first time working as a river guide on the Lehigh River in college, the river has been an essential part of his life. He works diligently keeping waters clean through his work and in his free time can often be found in a canoe or kayak on the Delaware, Lackawaxen, Dyberry, and any other creek he fit a kayak in! He does dally in banjo and guitar but mostly just picks around a campfire. He can be reached at