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August is the Best Time for Outdoor Music in Western Mass!
Summer is no doubt the season that I am most thankful for living in Western Massachusetts. There’s a winning combination in the bounty of the farm stands, the quiet and still of early evenings, and the excitement of the many, outdoor music events that provide so much entertainment in the Pioneer Valley. We’re no longer hibernating, we’re all out and about, so it’s time to catch up with old friends and enjoy outdoor music.
Old Crow Medicine Show
Coming up on August 24, at the lovely Pines Theater at Look Park in Northampton, Old Crow Medicine Show will bring their electric and high-energy style of string music, which their adoring and loyal fan base will certainly enjoy. If you haven’t seen this old timey, fun band, you’re in for a treat. They have been among my favorites for many years and I’m glad they’re in my neck of the woods for this show.
Old Crow is old fashioned, but at the same time, they know how to rock out. And the venue, Pines Theater, is a classic. Picture giant, white pines gracing each side of the stage, and patrons sitting on the lawn in an intimate venue that accommodates about around 2300.
Earlier this spring, Old Crow released 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde, their re-imagined version of Bob Dylan’s album. The 14-song project was recorded live at the historic Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, on the anniversary of the iconic album. I, for one, look forward to hearing their versions of Just Like a Woman, or Leopard-skin Pillbox-hat!
The show starts at 7 pm and the doors open at 5. You can picnic outside the venue in the park, or enjoy food trucks including Local Burger, La Veracruzana and others along with beer and wine that are available.
In Easthampton, another season is gearing up for Millpond.Live! This music series happens in Millside Park in Easthampton, near the biking path from Easthampton to Northampton, the Manhan Rail Trail. Oh, and the concerts are FREE!
Buy a beer from the eclectic assortment of local breweries like New City Brewery or Abandoned Building Brewery that have cropped up in this former factory space, and wander over to the music. Food trucks provide tasty food, and you’ll see many locals, as well as visitors, at these popular concerts. Enjoy pop-up art, storytelling, dance and games along with the music.
Last year these concerts took place for five Saturday nights, and this year it will be six, beginning on Saturday August 19. On that first evening, Sunset Boogaloo will provide an evening of funk, soul, hip-hop and spicy Latin Boogalou. The lineup features Brooklyn’s Spanglish Fly, Valley Supergroup, New City Soul, the Khalif Neville Trio and Tang Sauce.
Aerial view of Millpond.Live, photo credit aerialcamservices.com
Then on Sat August 26, ‘Art and Activism’ takes over. This remarkable evening is a multimedia journey that incorporates music, spoken word, video, and visual art. The event is both a conversation about social justice and a tribute in memoriam to Art Steele, a Valley man who spent his life empowering performers locally, nationally, and abroad.
On September 2, the show’s theme is Nashville and New City. The lineup includesNashville’s rising star, Jamie Kent, the harmonious sextet Upstate Rubdown, Austin angel Shawnee Kilgore, and Berkshire balladeer Izzy Helta.
Two more shows are planned in September for Millpond.Live, but details aren’t yet available.
Check their website for more info as the dates get closer.
Feature image: Old Crow Medicine Show, photo credit Danny Clinch