Ticket Giveaway: 2014 Green River Festival!

Take the Family to the
GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL
Happening July 12th & 13th, 2014
Greenfield, MA

Enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Green River Festival happening July 12th or 13th in Greenfield, MA. Kids 10 and under get in free. Win tickets and take the family! Deadline to enter for a chance to win: 7/2/14.

The 28th annual Green River Festival happens again this year on July 12th & 13th, 2014… and Hilltown Families has two pairs of tickets to giveaway, one pair for each day! With a pair of tickets, and free admittance for children ten and under, two adults can take a gaggle of kids and plan on spending the day at this great western Massachusetts music festival! Tickets do not including parking or food.

Click here to find out how you can enter for a chance to win!

Ticket Giveaway: 2013 Green River Festival!

Win a Pair Tickets to
GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL
Happening July 20th & 21st, 2013
Greenfield, MA

Enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Green River Festival happening July 20th or 21st in Greenfield, MA. Deadline to enter to win: 6/7/13.

The 27th annual Green River Festival happens again this year on July 20th & 21st, 2013… and Hilltown Families has a pair of tickets to giveaway for either day! With a pair of tickets, and free admittance for children under twelve, two adults can take a gaggle of kids and plan on spending the day at this great Western MA music festival! Tickets do not including parking or food.

Details on how to enter to win are below. Deadline to enter to win is Sunday, July 7th by 11:59pm (EST).

ABOUT THE GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL

Western New England’s favorite summer festival (voted best festival in the Valley Advocate for the past 11 years) will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 20 & 21, 2013 on the grounds of Greenfield Community College (I-91, Exit 26, Greenfield, MA). Presented by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, this celebration combines a spectacular line up of music on three stages, food, crafts, a dance tent, a wide array of kid’s activities and entertainment, and hot air balloon rides for the Pioneer Valley’s biggest outdoor event of the summer. This is the only music festival in Massachusetts that features hot air balloons!

This years line up includes: Gogol Bordello, The Devil Makes Three, The Skatalites, JD MCPherson, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Jeffrey Foucault & Cold Satellite, Slaid Cleaves, Yonder Stage (Dance Tent), The Bernie Worrell Orchestra, Ryan Montbleau Band, The Duhks, Miss Tess & The Talkbacks, Poor Old Shine, Caravan Of Thieves, Brandi Carlile, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Lake Street Dive, Todd Snider, Heather Malone, Bombino, Spirit Family Reunion, Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole, and The Sun Parade.

Local highlights include: Lux Deluxe, Salvation Alley String Band, Gaslight Tinkers, The Boxcar Lilies, Who’da Funk It, And The Kids, Spanish for Hitchhiking, Rusty Belle, Jeffrey Foucault, Heather Maloney and Philip Price in the round, The Dire Honeys, Bright Lines and Bunk.

Find out more about this award-winning Western Mass music festival at www.GreenRiverFestival.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to be used either day, July 20th or 21st, at the  Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  Winner can choose to use their tickets for either day, but not valid for both. To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER by selecting from the icons below.
  • TELL US WHAT YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT HILLTOWN FAMILIES AND HOW IT KEEPS YOUR FAMILY CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY THROUGHOUT THE REGION below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Sunday, 07/07/13 @ 11:59pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets are available online at www.greenriverfestival.com.

Start June Off on the Right Note at the Hilltown Spring Festival!

Hilltown Spring Festival

The Hilltown CDC’s 7th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will be on Saturday, June 1st, 2013 at the Cummington Fairgrounds from 10am-5pm! 2,000 people are expected at the Hilltown Spring Festival this year and entertainment will include musical performances and workshops, exhibits by artists and craftspeople, displays by local businesses, food from local vendors, kids-made craft bazaar, children’s activities and much more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Great Line up of Local & Regional Musicians Slated to Perform at the Hilltown Spring Festival on June 1st!

Local & Regional Musicians will Grace Two Stages at the Hilltown Spring Festival on June 1st at the Cummington Fairgrounds!

From Hot Day at the Zoo to Mister G, there’s a great line up of local & regional musical acts scheduled for the Hilltown CDC Hilltown Spring Festival this year on June 1st at the Cummington Fairgrounds! All great entertainment for the entire family, the music begins at 11am and continues until 5pm on two stages. Check out who’s gonna be there and make plans to come for the day with your family: Read the rest of this entry »

Many Festivals in One at the Hilltown Spring Festival!

Hilltown Spring Festival on June 1st will be a medley of festivals!

Innovative percussionist, Tony Vacca will be returning to Hilltown Spring Festival this year, with a performance and rhythm workshop for families. His performances are a nearly non-stop athletic spectacle of percussion music and spoken word, incorporating a world of percussion traditions that includes African, Caribbean, Asian and Middle-Eastern influences.  To be enjoyed by the entire family! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Hilltown Spring Festival on June 1st, 2013 at the Cummington Fairgrounds will be a combined music festival, food festival, children’s festival, craft festival, and alternative energy exposition!

MUSIC

Musical performers include percussionist Tony Vacca, acoustic string band Appalachian Still, singer-songwriter Heather Maloney, the Lonesome Brothers, Hot Day at the Zoo, the Walkin’ Blues Band, and Dan Hales and the Frost Heaves.   The complete music schedule is at www.hilltowncdc.org.

CHILDREN

Music for children of all ages will be performed by Mister G, David Grover and Terry A La Berry.  There will be children’s activities all day long, dancing around the Maypole at noon, children selling their own hand-made crafts at the Kids-Made Crafts Bazaar, eight foot tall puppets, Morris dancers, and much more.

New this year is an open mike stage for local musicians of all ages!

EDUCATION

Music workshops for families will be led by percussionists Aimee Gelinas and Tony Vacca, Jim Armenti of the Lonesome Brothers,, and Mariam Massaro.

SUSTAINABILITY

The Festival also features vendors of sustainable living products and services, farmers selling starter plants, local craft vendors, horse-training demonstrations, displays by local organizations and much more.

The gates will open at 10am; the music begins at 11am. Admission is $8; children 12 and under are free.  Free parking is available on the fairgrounds.


Hilltown Spring FestivalThe Hilltown CDC’s 7th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will be on Saturday, June 1st, 2013 at the Cummington Fairgrounds! 2,000 people are expected at the Hilltown Spring Festival this year and entertainment will include musical performances and workshops, exhibits by artists and craftspeople, displays by local businesses, food from local vendors, a family contra-dance, kids-made craft bazaar, children’s activities and much more. More information is available at www.hilltowncdc.org. – Proceeds go to support Hilltown CDC programs that support low and moderate income hilltown residents.  These programs include small business support, housing rehabilitation, child care subsidies, and social services for families and the elderly.

It’s a Meltdown! Family Festival of Music, Books & More!

[2014 Meltdown happens Saturday, March 29th. Click here for deets!]

The River’s Family Music Meltdown & Book Bash!
Saturday, March 30th, 2013 • 10am-4pm
Smith Vocational School • Northampton, MA

New location this year for The River’s Family Music Meltdown & Book Bash: Smith Vocational School in Northampton, MA (80 Locust Street, aka Route 9, next to Cooley Dick).

Great family music. Nationally known authors reading from – and signing – their books. A circus. A bounce house. And baby animals! — If these are the kinds of things that will blow your kids’ minds, then you need to bring them to Meltdown: the River’s Family Music and Book Fest, this Saturday, March 30th from 10am-4pm at their new location, Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton, MA!

Families can meet author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and get the latest book in his Lunch Lady series weeks before it’s in stores… Or rock out to Brooklyn’s own Deedle Deedle Dees… Or check out the Hampshire Gymnastics demos and bounce in the bounce house. It’s like Woodstock for kids – without the yucky parts!

There will be three stages filled with music, authors and puppet shows. A food court featuring healthy food and great treats from local vendors. Arts and crafts, vendors, magic and more.

The line-up of musicians include Hey Dango,  Mister G,  Deedle Deedle Dees,  Sandra Velasquez,  Kira Willey,  RhymeZweLL, The Nields, Jay Mankita, Tom and Laurie, Daniel Hales and the frost heaves and Mariana Iranzi.  There will also be incredible children’s book authors, curated by local heroes Gina and Jarrett (“Lunch Lady”) Krosoczka, including, Angela DiTerlizzi, Matt McElligott, Judy Schachner & Tony DiTerlizzi.

The Meltdown is in a new location with plenty of parking – Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, 80 Locust Street (Route 9), in Northampton, right next to Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Admission is free! All the details are at www.rivermeltdown.com.

Win Weekend Passes to the 26th Annual Green River Festival!

Win a Pair of Weekend Passes to the
GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL
July 14th & 15th, 2012
Greenfield, MA

Enter to win a pair of tickets to the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win is Friday, July 6th. Details on how to enter to win are outlined below.

Hilltown Families and the Green River Festival have partnered up to offer two very lucky families a pair of weekend passes to the 26th Annual Green River Festival (their 2nd Annual 25th Anniversary!), the weekend of July 14th & 15th, 2012!

With a pair of tickets, and free admittance for children under twelve, two adults can take a gaggle of kids and plan on spending the day at this great festival, all weekend long! Tickets do not including parking or food.

Details on how to enter to win are below. Deadline to enter to win is Friday, July 6th by 7pm (EST).

ABOUT THE GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL

Located in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the festival is presented by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce on the campus of Greenfield Community College.  This 2-day festival combines music on multiple stages, delicious local food, crafts from a range of artisans, a dance tent, family music on the River Meltdown tent, balloon illuminations and hot air balloon launches (weather permitting) for Western Massachusetts’ biggest outdoor event of the summer!

The Green River Festival began in 1986 as a balloon festival and has gained increasing popularity each year as more and more music and dance entertainment have been added. Today it has become a fantastic summer musical event in Western Massachusetts with three stages of music. This year the festival will feature Arlo Guthrie and the Guthrie Family, Los Lobos, Ozomatl, Richard Thompson, Rubblebucket, Rebirth Brass Band, David Wax Museum, Chris Smither, Winterpills, CJ Chenier, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Elizabeth Cook, Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three, The Sweetback Sister, Lake Street Dive, Peter Mulvey & The Crumbling Beauties, Martin Simpson, Session Americana, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, and many many other great acts!

Family favorites on the Meltdown Stage this year include:  Uncle Rock, Flannery Brothers, Deedle Deedle Dees, Alastair Moock & friends, Mister G, Dog on Fleas, and several others. See the complete schedule here.

Find out more about this award-winning Western Mass music festival at www.GreenRiverFestival.com.

HOW TO WIN

We’re putting together a bucket list of things to do and places to see in Western MA with the family in the summer time. Recommend your favorite attraction, must see or must do family activity, and be entered to win a pair of weekend tickets to the Green River Festival for July 14th & 15th, 2012.  To be eligible to win simply:

  • POST YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS OUTLINED ABOVE  (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below.
  • We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Friday, 07/06/12 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets are available online at www.greenriverfestival.com.

Four Interactive Music Workshops Planned for Hilltown Spring Festival on May 12th!

Music Workshops for All Ages
Hilltown Spring Festival
May 12th at the Cummington Fairgrounds

Tony Vacca will lead a hands-on session. Learn to play a "World Music" percussion composition by listening and playing back what you hear. All ages and skill levels are welcome. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

In addition to a great line up of live music on two stages, the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 12 at the Cummington Fairgrounds will feature four interactive music workshops for all ages:

AFRO-CARIBBEAN SONG & DRUM WORKSHOP

At 1 PM, Aimee Gelinas of Gaia Roots will lead an intergenerational, interactive Afro-Caribbean song and drum workshop featuring music from Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico. – www.gaiaroots.com

WORLD MUSIC PERCUSSION

At 2 PM, percussionist Tony Vacca will lead a hands-on session. Learn to play a “World Music” percussion composition by listening and playing back what you hear. All ages and skill levels are welcome. The instruments usually include djembe drum, balafon, tuned bells, shekere, talking drum, gongs and drum set. Instruments will be provided, and you are welcome to bring your own as well. Whether you’re a professional drummer or a first time player, there’s a part for you to play in the ensemble. – www.tonyvacca.com

FAMILY MUSIC JAM

At 3 PM, singer and teacher Lui Collins will lead a Family Music Jam! We’ll sing together, play instruments, do a bit of movement, maybe even dance! We’ll sing traditional and original songs, accompanied by guitar and banjo. All ages are welcome, from grownups down to babes in arms. – www.luicollins.com

RECYCLED PERCUSSION

At 4 PM, in a hands-on workshop, we’ll make a wooden “harmonica” and a wacky, found-object drum set with percussionist Scott Kessel from the band Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem. Along with cans, bottles, cardboard boxes, pencils, and rubber bands, we’ll recycle rhythms from around the world into beats of our own — and then we’ll strike up the whole, recycled band! —  www.raniarbo.com


Hilltown Spring FestivalThe Hilltown CDC’s 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will be on Saturday, May 12 at the Cummington Fairgrounds! 2,000 people are expected at the Hilltown Spring Festival this year and entertainment will include musical performances and workshops, exhibits by artists and craftspeople, displays by local businesses, food from local vendors, a family contra-dance, kids-made craft bazaar, children’s activities and much more. More information is available at www.hilltowncdc.org.

Great Line Up Planned for the 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival in Cummington!

Local & Regional Musical Favorites will Perform at the
6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival
on May 12th, 2012 at the Cummington Fairgrounds!

Hilltown CDC has a fabulous lineup of local and regional musical favorites to perform at the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 12, 2012 at the Cummington Fairgrounds.  The music begins at 11am and continues until 5pm on two stages, followed by an all-ages contra-dance from 5 to 7pm.

MISTER G (Family Concert at 11:15am)

Mister G is Ben Gundersheimer, who was awarded the first songwriting scholarship in the history of Berklee College of Music. Mister G has performed concerts and led workshops throughout the U.S., Euroope and Latin America. Thanks to his infectious songs and a dynamic live show, Mister G is one of the rising stars of the kids’ music world. Bill Childs of WRSI says, “Mister G’s music is insanely catchy, totally engaging, and a lot of fun for parents. He’s got that rare quality where kids are simply and fully connected.” – Mister G’s most recent CD, Bugs, was chosen by Parents’ Magazine as one of the top CDs of 2011. People Magazine called it “irresistible” and selected it as one of the “hottest and coolest” albums for children. – www.mistergsongs.com

THE BOXCAR LILIES (1pm)

Since they formed in 2009, The Boxcar Lilies have been wowing audiences with their standout marriage of superb songwriting and spine‐tingling, innovative harmonies. In a short time, they’ve garnered an exceptional amount of attention for their music and energetic stage presence, finding themselves playing renowned venues like The Iron Horse Music Hall and Philadelphia’s Tin Angel, or opening for legendary songwriters like Bill Staines and Lucy Kaplansky. – Sheryl Hunter of The Recorder wrote, in 2011, “There is nothing like great three part harmonies to send a shiver up your spine and create goose bumps on your skin. It is one of the loveliest musical sounds you can hear. The Boxcar Lilies has an appealing, rootsy take on music. But even more than their musicianship or strong songwriting, it’s the band’s stunning harmonies that are at the heart of its appeal.” – www.boxcarlilies.com

LUI COLLINS (1pm)

At 3pm, singer and teacher Lui Collins will also lead a Family Music Jam! We'll sing together, play instruments, do a bit of movement, maybe even dance! All ages are welcome, from grownups down to babes in arms.

Folksinger/songwriter Lui Collins has been performing, writing and recording since the 1970′s, earning international recognition for her music and releasing several highly-acclaimed recordings on Philo, Green Linnet, her own Molly Gamblin Music, and Waterbug. After touring nationally for several decades, she founded the educational branch of her work, now called Lui Collins’ Upside-Up Music, in 2003. Collins now divides her time between concerts, teaching, and early elementary music curriculum development. – The Boston Globe has described Lui as “one of New England’s first and brightest stars,” and Sing Out! Magazine calls her “incomparable.” Renowned guitarist Dave van Ronk called her “one of the best guitarist-arrangers I have heard in years.” Michael Devlin of Music Matters Review wrote: “…there are relatively few artists who are bringing a traditional sensibility to modern songwriting, and in the process creating new traditional music. Lui Collins is among the barefoot royalty of this group…” – www.luicollins.com

RANI ARBO & DAISY MAYHEM (Family Concert at 2pm)

At 4PM, in a hands-on workshop, we’ll make a wooden “harmonica” and a wacky, found-object drum set with percussionist Scott Kessel from the band Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem. Along with cans, bottles, cardboard boxes, pencils, and rubber bands, we’ll recycle rhythms from around the world into beats of our own — and then we’ll strike up the whole, recycled band!

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem will play from their award-winning family CD, Ranky Tanky!  The Boston Herald hails them as “One of America’s most inventive string bands,” and they deliver here with a rollicking ride through American musical history, from 200-year-old Georgia Sea Island tunes to Texas swing, Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan, and the Funky Meters. Armed with voices, hands, boxes and tin cans, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem prove that people have never needed fancy instruments to make music — and that when we do it all together, it’s magic. With bass, fiddle, guitar, ukulele, banjo and the 100% recycled “Drumship Enterprise,” this fun-loving band will have you & your kids dancing, shaking, clapping — and making more music than you knew was in your bones!  Ranky Tanky won a  Parents’ Choice Award in 2010. The citation said, “Forget the kids, you’ll want this album for yourself. The fact that your children will absolutely love it will be the icing on an already delicious cake.” - www.raniarbo.com

MISTY BLUES (3pm)

By day, Gina Coleman works in the admissions office and as the coach of the women’s rugby team at Williams College. But at night, she goes into a phone booth, changes her outfit, and comes out as a blues singer in the tradition of classic blues divas like Big Mama Thornton, Dinah Washington, and Georgia White. For the last three years, Coleman has been the lead singer of Misty Blues. Coleman is an expressive vocalist with a big low end and colorful upper register. Working with Coleman are some of the Berkshires’ finest musicians, including guitarist/vocalist Jason Webster, bassist/vocalist Bill Patriquin, drummer Mike Basiliere, harmonica player Matthew Swanson and guitarist Jeff Dudziak. – www.mistyblues.org

THE PRIMATE FIASCO (3pm)

The Primate Fiasco uses the instrumentation of a New Orleans street band (sousaphone, banjo, brass, woodwinds, drums) but plays music that you wouldn’t expect. They can keep a dance party pumpin’ on a sidewalk or from a stage. From their Grammy nominated kids album to their cult following of hippies and hipsters to their indie and folk following, the Fiasco scene is open to all demographics. You may see them on stage or you may see them parading through a festival campground. Either way, you’ll be smiling and moving your feet.  Jeff Giles of Dadnabit writes, “Trust me: you’re a Primate Fiasco fan. You just don’t know it yet.” - www.primatefiasco.com

TONY VACCA (4pm)

At 2pm, percussionist Tony Vacca will also lead a hands-on session. Learn to play a "World Music" percussion composition by listening and playing back what you hear. All ages and skill levels are welcome. The instruments usually include djembe drum, balafon, tuned bells, shekere, talking drum, gongs and drum set. Instruments will be provided, and you are welcome to bring your own as well.

Tony Vacca is an innovative American percussionist. Over the course of his career, he has made a habit of pushing the already adventurous conventions of World Music into new territory, both as a soloist and as the leader of his World Rhythms Ensemble. His solo performances are a nearly non-stop athletic spectacle of percussion music and spoken word, incorporating a world of percussion traditions that includes African, Caribbean, Asian and Middle-Eastern influences. He has recorded and/or performed with a wide range of musicians. These include pop icon Sting, Senegalese Afro-pop star Baaba Maal, jazz trumpeter and World Music legend Don Cherry, poet Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets, Senegalese hip-hop stars Gokh-bi System, and Massamba Diop, Senegalese master of the tama or talking drum. – www.tonyvacca.com

Other musical acts include the Northampton-based band AstroBeast (4pm) and the Amherst-based band Who’da Funkit (2pm). – See you there!!!

Mark Your Calendars for the 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival: May 12th!

6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival
Cummington Fairgrounds
May 12th, 2012

The Hilltown CDC’s 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will be on Saturday, May 12 at the Cummington Fairgrounds! 2,000 people are expected at the Hilltown Spring Festival this year and entertainment will include musical performances and workshops, exhibits by artists and craftspeople, displays by local businesses, food from local vendors, a family contra-dance, kids-made craft bazaar, children’s activities and much more.

Here’s a recap from the last two years at the festival:

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NEW THIS YEAR

New this year is an Emerging Artists Stage for musicians who have had little public exposure and have made little income from their music.  Samples of their music will be juried by professional musicians, and up to eight emerging artists will be chosen to perform two songs at the festival.  The music played must be original, and must be family-friendly (no “metal”, no “thrash”).  There is a $5 fee for submissions and interested artist can email to festival@hilltowncdc.org or mail P.O. Box 17, Chesterfield, MA 01012 by March 23. Include names, instruments, and a brief biography.

Also new this year is a family contra-dance from 5 to 7 PM (beginners and children always welcome)!

JOIN US: VOLUNTEER, SPONSOR, DISPLAY

Support for the Hilltown Spring Festival is provided by thirteen Local Cultural Councils; by local business sponsors; and by the exhibiting businesses.  All proceeds will contribute to the work of Hilltown CDC, including support for small businesses and support for low and moderate income Hilltown residents.  Interested in being a sponsor, vendor or volunteer? Contact Seth Isman at sethi@hilltowncdc.org and join our team!

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Green River Festival

Win a Pair of Tickets to the
GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL
July 16th & 17th, 2011
Greenfield, MA

Enter to win a pair of tickets to the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win is Thursday, July 7th. Details on how to enter to win are outlined below.

Hilltown Families and the Green River Festival have partnered up to offer two very lucky families a pair of tickets to the 25th Annual Green River Festival, the weekend of July 16th & 17th, 2011!

With a pair of tickets, and free admittance for children under twelve, two adults can take a gaggle of kids and plan on spending the at this great festival on either Saturday or Sunday (their choice)! Tickets do not including parking or food.

Details on how to enter to win are below. Deadline is Thursday, July 7th by 7pm (EST).

ABOUT THE GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL

Located in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the festival is presented by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce on the campus of Greenfield Community College.  This 2-day festival combines music on multiple stages, delicious local food, crafts from a range of artisans, a dance tent, the River Meltdown tent, balloon illuminations and hot air balloon launches (weather permitting) for Western Massachusetts’ biggest outdoor event of the summer!

The Green River Festival began in 1986 as a balloon festival and has gained increasing popularity each year as more and more music and dance entertainment have been added. Today it has become a fantastic summer musical event in Western Massachusetts with three stages of music. This year the festival will feature Toots and the Maytals, Emmylou Harris, Eilen Jewell, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, Mister G, Wanda Jackson, Grupo Fantasma,  Patty larkin, Terry Adams and the New NRBQ, Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears, Baze & His Silly Friends, Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys, and many many other great acts!  See the complete schedule here.

Find out more about this fabulous Western Mass festival at www.GreenRiverFestival.com.

HOW TO WIN

The Greenfield River Festival is a winning event and a great way to spend two days in Western MA!  But what about non-events? Share with us a great way to spend one day with your family in the region. 

In the spring, maybe you have a favorite sugar shack you enjoy breakfast at every year, followed by cross-country skiing at one of our local park or reservations, then your favorite place to pick up dinner at the days end.

In the summer, maybe you have your favorite morning farmers’ market you like to visit before lunch at a family friendly cafe or favorite picnic spot, followed by an afternoon bike ride or spray park, then an evening concert on the green, stopping for ice cream on the drive home.

In the fall, maybe you have a favorite farm to pick pumpkins in the morning, followed by an afternoon  hike to view the foliage, stopping for a hot cup of cider at your favorite apple orchard as the day ends?

In the winter, maybe you know of a great place to get a steaming cup of hot cocoa after sledding, snowshoe hike or ice skating at an outdoor pond with the family?

You get the idea!  We’re looking for recommended ways a family can spend a full day here in Western MA during any season. Selected recommendations will be featured on Hilltown Families throughout the year.  From those, we will randomly select two winners to receive a pair of tickets to the Green River Festival for either Saturday, July 16th or Sunday, July 17th (their choice)! 

To be eligible to win simply:

  • POST YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS OUTLINED ABOVE  (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK and “Like” this post.
  • We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Thursday, 07/07/11 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets are available online at www.greenriverfestival.com.

New Family Stage at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Hilltown Families Family Stage at the
5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival
May 14th at the Cummington Fairgrounds

On Saturday, May 14th, 2011 at the Cummington Fairgrounds, the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will celebrate the hilltowns and beyond.  Produced by the Hilltown CDC, the Hilltown Spring Festival will include everything from the quirky to the sublime (you decide which is which!).

This year the will be three music stages, including a new Family Music Stage which will present family-friendly music from 10:30am until 4:30pm, including local stars The Nields, Ben Rudnick and Friends, Mister G, Sarah Pirtle and Lui Collins. Here’s the line-up:

Lui Collins

In the Hilltowns, many kids have their introduction to music with Lui Collins in her Hilltown Music Together and Kids’ Jam Classes.  Families in the Hilltowns are blessed to have this contemporary folk singer-songwriter as their jumping off point to music and singing.  Hilltown Music Together and Kids’ Jam, along with Lui’s newest venture, Kids’ Jam Curriculum, combined to form Lui Collins’ Upside-Up Music. Kids’ Jam Curriculum makes Lui’s innovative and entertaining Kids’ Jam music available to homeschoolers and music and classroom teachers. — Lui currently lives in Ashfield, MA and as a professional musician she has been touring for over 30 years, playing the clawhammer banjo and inspired by traditional southern Appalachian music. www.LuiCollins.com

Sarah Pirtle

Sarah Pirtle is an award-winning author and musician who writes and sings for all ages.  Pocketful of Wonder, her ninth recording, received the Gold Award from Parents’ Choice, and in 2007 she received the Magic Penny Award for lifetime achievement in children’s music.  Sarah was invited to perform at the Hudson River Clearwater Folk Festival when her first recording, Two Hands Hold the Earth, became the favorite of Pete Seeger’s grandson. Later, as the principal founder of the Children’s Music Network, she got to know Pete and feel his encouragement for her songwriting for adults as well as children. Currently living in Shelburne Falls, Sarah helps to build supportive communities for young people. She is recognized as a national expert on teaching social skills. Her music and her chaplaincy training add compassion and depth to her work as she leads programs rooted in a basic trust of the innate caring available inside people. www.SarahPirtle.com

Ben Rudnick & Friends

The acclaimed American roots Style family music band, Ben Rudnick & Friends (BRF) will join us this year on the Family Stage.  With a high level of adventurous musicianship, their award winning recordings contain a unique acoustic sound ranging from light folk to bluegrass, calypso and rock.  Five of their family music CDs (Emily Songs, Blast Off!, Fun and Games, Grace’s Bell and A Frog Name Sam) have received national acclaim, including awards from Parents’ Choice, NAPPA and the Children’s Music Web. Since BRF original songs aren’t overtly children’s music, and enthusiastic renditions of well known songs appeal to all, everyone in the audience from the oldest to the youngest gets involved with the excitement of their performances! www.BenRudnick.com

Mister G

Over the past year, Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) has performed with Dan Zanes in Northampton, and for kids in Europe and Latin America. He closed out 2010 with two shows at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Closer to home, Mister G played headlining sets at the Green River Festival and the WRSI Meltdown. Winner of the first songwriting scholarship in the history of Berklee College of Music, Ben spent 20 years touring internationally as a bandleader and solo artist before getting his Masters in Elementary Education at Smith College in 2008. As Mister G, he has led innovative songwriting workshops in settings as varied as Sunnyside Preschool, Dana Farber Cancer Clinic, the 92nd St. Y, Horizons for Homeless Children, and the Smith College Campus School. www.MisterGSongs.com

The Nields

Nerissa and Katryna Nields grew up singing folk songs in the kitchen and in the back seat of the family car. Katryna learned to sing melody with their father, eventually making her an ideal front person for the band. Nerissa, on the other hand, tackled the harmonies; with that skill, she provided a natural counterpoint to her sister’s vibrant lead. As a duo, the sisters have toured nationally for years and been the darlings of the coffeehouse/festival scene, with tunes ranging from off-the-hook idiosyncratic to kicking to heartbreaking. They were a part of Lillith Fair, and have shared the stage with Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega, Sarah McLaughlin, Dar Williams, The Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Joan Baez, the Band, 10,000 Maniacs, Billy Bragg, Dan Zanes and countless others, all of whom informed and enhanced their musical repertoire.

A most recent influence on their music is children. “Having children has brought us back to our roots in a powerful way,” says Nerissa. “I’m much more drawn to the honesty of folk music, the simplicity of it. My kids love singing songs from Sister Holler. And I love how, when we sing these ‘Nerissa’ songs in concerts, everybody sings along, even though it’s the first time they’ve heard them. They’re songs that really invite the listener into the music making process.” www.Nields.com


MORE MUSIC

Two other Music Stages will present another dozen local performers, ranging from rock to jazz to folk to blues to bluegrass to African drumming, and one of the stages will be completely solar-powered, thanks to the Solar Store of Greenfield (more details to come). — So on May 14th from 10am-7pm, bring the family and come enjoy local music, local food, local artisans and local businesses, with  kids’ activities all day!  Admission is only $5 per person, children 12 and under are admitted free. Parking is free, too!

The Hilltown Spring Festival is sponsored by Hilltown Families, Maude’s Music, and 11 local cultural councils supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.  Additional sponsorship dollars were provided by 32 generous local businesses.  The full list of supporters is at www.hilltowncdc.org.

3rd Annual Family Music Meltdown and Book Bash!

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Banner

Ready to Melt Down?

River's Family Music Meltdown & Book Bash happens on Saturday, March 26th at JFK Middle School in Northampton, MA. (FREE) (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

That’s right, it’s the end of March so it must be time for the River’s Family Music Meltdown & Book Bash! It’s this coming Saturday, March 26, from 10 to 4 at JFK Middle School in Northampton — and it’s free.

Now in its third year, the Meltdown has become a tradition for families in the Valley and beyond, featuring music on three stages, readings from nationally-known children’s book authors, crafts, bouncing, local food, and much more!

On the music side, we’ve got familiar favorites and new-to-the-Meltdown acts. Joining the lineup for the first time this year is Grammy nominee Brady Rymer (supporting his forthcoming CD, Love Me For Who I Am, inspired by his work at the Celebrate the Children School, a New Jersey school for students with alternative learning styles. Other newcomers to the festival include Lunch Money, The Okee Dokee Brothers, The Bramble Jam, Joe’s Backyard Band, Brendan Taaffe, and the Spiral Up Kids.

Returning favorites include Brooklyn’s Deedle Deedle Dees, who will be doing a special Women’s History Month set (and handing out free posters to fans). Returning — but this time with full bands — are the Flannery Brothers and singer/storyteller/cartoonist Keith Munslow. Other returning performers include Mister G, Under the Tree Music, Aric Bieganek, Jay Mankita, and Ratboy Jr., in addition to puppet shows from Otter & Moo Puppet Theatre and Anna Sobel.

Local heroes Jarrett (Lunch Lady) and Gina Krosoczka serve as curators of the children’s book authors appearing on the main stage. This year, we’re thrilled to have Jarrett himself, plus Kevin Markey, Jef Czekaj, Jeanne Birdsall, and Jon Scieszka.

We’ll also have crafts, bounce houses, Lego Duplos, gymnastics, fencing demonstrations, circus arts, hula hooping, Mad Science, dozens of local businesses, and terrific local food.

We’ve got the full schedule, and links to videos for all of our performers, up at www.rivermeltdown.com, and you can follow the event on Facebook at facebook.com/rivermeltdown. See you Saturday!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Childs & Ella

Bill Childs

Bill teaches law school by day in Springfield. With his kids, he produces a radio show for kids, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, which airs on Saturday mornings on 93.9 The River (8-10 AM, 101.5 in Brattleboro) and 103.3 Valley Free Radio (7-9 AM). He’s also a columnist for regional parenting magazines, covers music for Parenting magazine, and was a bi-monthly contributing writer to Hilltown Families. Contact him at show@sparetherock.com

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Green River Festival

Win a 4-Pack of Day Pass Tickets to the
GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL
The Weekend of July 17th & 18th, 2010
At GCC in Greenfield, MA

Hilltown Families and the Green River Festival have partnered up to offer two very lucky families a 4-pack of free day pass tickets to the 24th Annual Green River Festival, the weekend of July 17 & 18, 2010!

Presented by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, this celebration combines music on two stages, food, crafts, dancing, a wide array of kids activities and hot air balloon launches (weather permitting) for the Pioneer Valley’s biggest outdoor event of the summer. This is the only music festival in Massachusetts that features hot air balloons and rides.

We have two 4-packs of day pass tickets to giveaway:

 

  • 4-pack of day pass tickets for Saturday, July 17th
  • 4-pack of day pass tickets for Sunday, July 18th

 

 

Kids under 12 are free, so each winning family can invite along another family for a day of music, dancing and balloons in Greenfield, MA! Tickets do not including parking or food. Details on how to enter to win are below. Deadline to enter is Sunday, July 11th by 7pm (EST).

ABOUT THE GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL

The Green River Festival began in 1986 as a balloon festival and has gained increasing popularity each year as more and more music and dance entertainment have been added. Today it has become a fantastic summer musical event in Western Massachusetts with two stages of music.  This year the festival will feature Old Crow Medicine Show, Red Stick Ramblers, The Sweetback Sisters, CAKE, Brooks Williams, Anais Mitchell, Academy Freightshakers and many other top talented bands.

New this year is The River’s Meltdown Kids’ Stage, featuring family music with The Primate Fiasco, Deedle Deedle Dees, The Nields, Elizabeth Mitchell, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Flannery Brothers, Mister G, School for the Dead and several other bands we’ve featured on the Hilltown Family Variety Show!

The Festival is a two-day event and will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 17th & 18th on the grounds of Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, MA. Hot Air Balloons fly, weather permitting, on Friday and Saturday at 6pm and Saturday morning at 6am. Onsite parking is available for a fee, or there is free parking and shuttle bus service available. The Festival is working towards zero-waste and no pets or alcohol are allowed.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a 4-pack of day passes to the Green River Festival on either Saturday, July 17th or Sunday, July 18th is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Spring Festival: A Big Green Success!

Lucky Day for Many, Green Success for All
At the 4th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival

Luck was smiling on Helene and Paul Copp. The couple, who are renovating a house they bought in Chesterfield, were spending time with family last weekend and just happened to be passing the Cummington Fairgrounds during the fourth annual Hilltown Spring Festival. They stopped to take in the sights and sounds of the event—and ended up winning the door prize, a family day-pass to Look Park.

“It was the icing on the cake for us,” Helene says. “What impressed us most about the festival was the energy there. It was relaxed and warm and yet, the stuff that people were talking about there—clean water, organic farming—is really world important stuff.”

The May 15th Festival was the biggest and greenest since the Hilltown CDC launched the event four years ago. Some 2,000 people attended—a third more than last year—and there were more eco-friendly businesses and recycling volunteers than ever before. Click here to see photos from the day.

The Hilltown CDC is a nonprofit membership organization supported by individuals and local businesses helping to build strong and caring communities throughout the Hilltowns. To sign up as a volunteer or vendor at next years Festival, contact Seth Isman at sethi@hilltowncdc.org. To learn more about the Hilltown CDC visit them at www.hilltowncdc.org or 413-296-4536.

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Hilltown Spring Festival 2010 Performance Schedule

Like This!

Hilltown Spring Festival Performance Schedule
Saturday, May 15th, 2010 from 10am-7pm
Cummington Fairgrounds, Cummington, MA

The Hilltown Spring Festival, a daylong celebration of Hilltown music, arts, culture and community, will take place Saturday, May 15th, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds. Produced by the Hilltown CDC, the fourth annual Festival will celebrate music diversity with 15 musical acts on two performance stages, including headliners Charles Neville, The Primate Fiasco and Swing Caravan, all-day children’s activities, local food and local brews, arts and crafts and a sustainable living expo. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

10:30am

11:30am

12:15pm

  • Maypole: Community Maypole Dance with Morris Dancers

1pm

2pm

3pm

4pm

5pm

6pm

Musical Diversity at the Hilltown Spring Festival!

Celebrate Music Diversity at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Mark Your Calendars for the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 15th at the Cummington Fairgrounds in Cummington, MA!

This year at the Hilltown Spring Festival, the Hilltown CDC will be featuring 15 bands on 2 stages! Musical offerings at the Festival will range from the jazz saxophone of Charles Neville to the Scottish pipes of Dan Houghton and will include special musical jam sessions and hands-on demonstrations throughout the day. Also on the bill are the local psychedelic Dixieland band, The Primate Fiasco, alt-jazz from Swing Caravan, Celtic fiddler Katherine First and student choirs and musical groups from Hilltown-area schools.

Among the 15 acts scheduled to perform are Gaia Roots & the Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra:

  • Gaia Roots
    The women of Gaia Roots blend vocal harmonies with percussion rhythms creating a unique weave of traditional music and original creations. Their influences and instrumentation draw on traditions from Europe, Native America, Israel, Macedonia, South Africa, India, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Haiti. Their new CD, Mother Drum, was just released last month in Northampton. This is Amiee, Shanti and the rest first appearance at the festival and they’ll be playing at 3PM.
  • Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra
    The Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra is a rare treat for irreverent unplugged fans across the country. Formed in 1994, the members now include songwriter and educator Bernice Lewis, composer and arranger Cathy Schane-Lydon and artist Sarah McNair. Close-cropped harmonies and unrestrained ukulele strumming produce a highly original sound, as the Ladies propel themselves through a set peppered with familiar classics alongside lesser-known gems. Nothing is sacred in the Ladies’ quest for suitable material. Expected and surprising genres are equally lavished with attention to harmony, humor and originality.

Family Fun Festival to Celebrate Life in the Hilltowns

Spring Festival to Celebrate Hilltown Community Through
Music, Arts, Hands-on Learning and Family Fun

The Hilltown Spring Festival, a daylong celebration of Hilltown music, arts, culture and community, will take place Saturday, May 15th, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds.  Produced by the Hilltown CDC, the fourth annual Festival will feature 15 musical acts on two performance stages, including headliners Charles Neville, The Primate Fiasco and Swing Caravan, all-day children’s activities, local food and local brews, arts and crafts and a sustainable living expo.

Last year’s event drew 1,500 people from across the far-flung region and this year’s family-friendly Festival will be another opportunity to celebrate the distinctive culture of the Hilltowns. “The Spring Festival is a music festival, a food festival, a sustainable living expo and an arts and crafts fair–all rolled into one,” says Seth Isman, the CDC’s Economic Development Coordinator and festival organizer. “It’s a reflection of who we are in this region and the shared qualities of life that we value.”

New this year:

The Festival has added a Kids-Made Craft Bazaar, featuring homemade crafts and art for sale by children up to age 13. Also new this year is a maypole dance scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Hosted by EarthSpirit of Worthington, the community maypole dance will be accompanied by traditional rhythmic stepping by multiple teams of Morris Dancers. Another new feature is an all-day puppet-making workshop led by MOther Earth JOurney Puppets of Williamsburg. Families can create their own stick puppets, inspired by the giant marionettes on display.

A focus on sustainable living:

The Hilltown Spring Festival is a zero-waste event and will continue its focus on eco-friendly living with demonstrations of solar heat, hot water and electricity, and information about local agriculture and home energy solutions from both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Among the vendors at the business expo: Hilltown Hybrids will display energy-efficient cars; Manda Organic Farm will be selling hormone-free meat products; and folks from the Washington, MA-based Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts will talk about unique woodworking crafts such as timber framing.

A diverse musical lineup:

Musical offerings at the Festival will range from the jazz saxophone of Charles Neville to the Scottish pipes of Dan Houghton. Also on the bill are the local psychedelic Dixieland band, The Primate Fiasco, alt-jazz from Swing Caravan, world music from Gaia Roots, Celtic fiddler Katherine First and student choirs and musical groups from Hilltown-area schools. Look for special musical jam sessions and hands-on demonstrations throughout the day.

From dog sled demonstrations to a Triathlon of Unusual Games, the Festival will offer participants a day of rain-or-shine activity. Admission to the Spring Festival is free. Parking is $10 per carload. No dogs, please.

Check out the event page for the Hilltown Spring Festival on RideBuzz.org to coordinate carpooling.

A program schedule, details and directions are available at 413-296-4536 or www.hilltowncdc.org. Interested in being a vendor at the festival? Click here for registration forms.

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