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 »

Family Contra-Dance at the 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival!

Family Contra-Dance at Hilltown Spring Festival
May 12th, 5-7pm

Family Contra-Dance at the Hilltown Spring Festival in Cummington! Bring your dancing shoes and join in from 5-7pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds!

New this year at the Hilltown Spring Festival is a family contra-dance featuring The Gaslight Tinkers, a new group that includes Peter Siegel and Zoe Darrow!

They describe their music as “Afrobeat, Caribbean, breakbeat, funk, and Latin grooves meet traditional Northern Fiddle. It’s the future of the music of the past; it’s a live remix; it’ll move your feet and intrigue your mind.”

Steve Howland will be the caller. Happens under the new pavilion at the Cummington Fairgrounds from 5-7pm. Come early and enjoy live music and dinner from the many local food vendors.

For more info call the Hilltown CDC at 413-296-4536 x112. Cummington Fairgrounds is located at 97 Fairgrounds Rd. in Cummington, MA (>$, kids 12yo & under FREE)


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.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Patrick Smyth]

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!!!

Hilltown Spring Festival Celebrates Hilltown Life on May 12th!

Call for Volunteers and Local Businesses…
Join the 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival
May 12th in Cummington!

6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival (May 12, 2012)

Deadline to sign up to participate with the 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival: April 29th!

The Hilltown Community Development Corporation is signing up local artisans, businesses, non-profit organizations and volunteers for the 6th annual Hilltown Spring Festival, to be held Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds.  This year’s Festival, which is expected to draw 2,000 visitors, will feature performances and workshops by professional musicians and student musicians, specialty food and drink from hilltown vendors, displays by businesses, artists and craftspeople, children’s activities all day long, and an all-ages contra-dance beginning at 5 PM.

Join us at the Hilltown Spring Festival if you are:

  • A vendor of products and services that make our lives more energy-efficient and our communities more sustainable;
  • An artist or craftsperson who wants to display and sell your work;
  • A business or non-profit that wants to reach 2,000 prospective customers in one day;
  • A local food vendor;
  • A business who wants to sponsor the Festival or donate a raffle prize; or
  • Interested in community service!

Registration forms are at www.hilltowncdc.org, or email sethi@hilltowncdc.org or call 413-296-4536 ext. 112.  The deadline for reserving a space is April 29, 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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!

6 More Reasons to Spend Your Saturday at the Hilltown Spring Festival!

An Eclectic Mix of Dancing, Creating and Workshops
at the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival
Saturday, May 14th at Cummington Fairgrounds

The Hilltown Spring Festival already sounds so wonderful, right? With it’s 3 stages of music, including a family stage, educational opportunities mixed into the fun, frolic, solar power and delicious local food with an international flare… who would need another excuse to go? We’ll there are plenty! Plenty! Including a hot air balloon launch in the evening, Morris dancers through the day, sustainability vendors, kids-made craft bazaar, solar powered stage, music giveaway, artisans, blacksmith demo, horse trainer, petting zoo… my goodness, someone stop me!  Too late… look what else you can find at this year’s Hilltown Spring Festival:

EarthSpirit of Worthington leads the Maypole dance again this year at the Hilltown Spring Festival. Join them at 12:30pm on Saturday, May 14th at the Cummington Fairgrounds to celebrate spring and community! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

12:30pm ❁ MAYPOLE & MAYPOLE DANCE

Maypole and a maypole dance return to the festival this year, lead by EarthSpirit of Worthington, MA. Dancing the maypole is a traditional way of welcoming in the spring throughout northern Europe. At the time of the Earth’s greatest fertility, winding the ribbons around the pole is a way of connecting with the community as it emerges from the cold of winter, and of celebrating the coming together of Earth and sky to create new life. The colors and flowers of a maypole are expressions of gratitude for the warmth and joy of springtime. On the lawn at 12:3pm, followed by Morris Dancing!

1:15pm & 2:15pm ❁ DRUMMING WORKSHOPS

At 1:15pm percussionist Tony Vacca will offer a hands-on percussion workshop! In this “hands-on” session, Tony will apply over two decades of experience as a drummer/composer, and over a dozen trips to West Africa, to create and teach a percussion composition. He’ll use djembe drums, gongs, rattles, an orchestra of tuned bells, and a wide variety of other percussion instruments, involving combinations of rhythms that connect African, Caribbean and American traditions.  Tony is an innovative American percussionist with Jazz and World Music roots going back to 1972 and has created a unique blend of rhythm, word, and drum that has come to be the signature of his workshops.

Then at 2:15pm join Gaia Roots co-founder and drummer/singer Aimee Gelinas and dancer Marie Georgefils in an intergenerational and interactive Afro-Caribbean drum, song and dance workshop featuring music from Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico.

11:30am & 1:15pm ❁ INTERGENERATIONAL YOGA

Prakasa Yoga Studio of Goshen, MA will offer an interactive intergenerational yoga demo of Anusara Yoga, an integrated yoga system that invites you to joyfully inhabit our body. At Spring Festival they invite all to come stretch and play in postures that are accessible to everyone, of any age. Fun partner yoga and group poses will encourage an intergenerational participation in yoga. On the lawn at 11:30am and 1:15pm.

2:30pm ❁ RIVER POETRY WORKSHOP

Write! Draw! Make a Show with Piti Theatre Company at 2:30pm. Shelburne’s Piti Theatre Co. is getting ready for a community-powered performance at Riverfest in Shelburne Falls on June 11. Drop into their river poetry workshop to write/illustrate river-inspired poems and build props for the show. You can even sign up to be a dancer/actor! All poetry will also be displayed by Hilltown CDC and at Riverfest. For ages 5 – 105.

4pm ❁ KIDS SONGWRITING WORKSHOP

Family musician, Mister G, will offer a songwriting workshop, Who Writes Songs? You Do! at 4pm. Mister G empowers students to write their own songs and demystifies the writing process. Using examples from his albums, Mister G illustrates how great songs, like stories, follow a narrative form with a beginning, middle, and end. Employing basic concepts in literacy, students brainstorm specific imaginative details to create compelling characters and events, and then translate these ideas into lyrics. Using this student-generated material, Mister G demonstrates how a range of musical styles – including funk, rock, reggae, bluegrass, and jazz –can be paired with lyrics to invent a fully-formed new song.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fill Your Belly with Tasty Local Food at Hilltown Spring Festival this Saturday!

Local Food with International Flare Served Up
at the Hilltown Spring Festival
May 14th, 10am-7pm at Cummington Fairgrounds

Locally brewed beer on tap from Opa Opa!

Vegetable Lo Mein from Goshen Snack Bar.

The eclectic nature of the Hilltown Spring Festival speaks true to the diversity of our community. This year even the food matches the diversity of our community serving up local food, often times with an international flare! A short list of what you’ll find at the festival: Blue House Cafe will have Polynesian wedding cake and gluten-free option; The Turkish Kitchen will have Lokoum and Cornmeal Halva; The Bakers’ Oven will serve up wood-fired pesto pizza; Elke’s Catering will feature German Bratwurst; Vegetable Lo Mein from Goshen Snack Bar; American hot dogs & hamburgers offered by the Hampshire Co. 4-H Exchange Club; Veggie Burgers from the Cummington Fire Dept.; and locally brewed beer from Opa Opa.  And Bart’s Ice Cream will be serving locally made ice cream for dessert, including Local Peach, Local Maple Cream and Mass Mocha!

FEATURED FOOD VENDOR: TURKISH KITCHEN

Locally made ice cream for dessert from Bart's Ice Cream!

New to the festival this year is the Turkish Kitchen. Launched at the Ashfield Farmers’ Market in 2010, the Turkish Kitchen is a young purveyor of a very old cuisine. Tarhana soup, for example, dates back to the 10th Century, when the still-nomadic Turkish tribes needed fortifying foods that would be easy to transport and would not spoil. — They will be serving a variety of traditional Turkish dishes at the Hilltown Spring Festival. These include Boerek, philo dough pastries stuffed either with herbed feta cheese or a subtly fragrant meat filling; Shaksuka, a cold eggplant, zucchini and potato dish cooked in olive oil; Piyaz, a bean salad with herbs; Ic Pilav, a festive rice dish that includes pine nuts, currants, cinnamon, a dash of black pepper and dill; Tarhana soup with probiotics, grains and herbs; Mercimek soup with red lentils, grains, cumin and herbs; and for desserts, Lokoum (the ‘turkish delight’ of the Chronicles of Narnia) and Cornmeal Halva with hazelnuts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Spring Festival is Solar Powered!

Sun and Solar Store to Power Hilltown Spring Festival

Solar powered music at the Hilltown Spring Festival on Saturday, May 14th! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

This year’s Hilltown Spring Festival again has the goal of sustainability woven throughout—from the children’s activities, to the composting and trash recycling, all the way to folk/blues/percussion rhythms, and alt-jazz that will emanate from the Festival’s three music stages. “It takes plenty of energy to get the Festival off the ground and we wanted to make that energy sustainable too,” says festival organizer Laine W., “This year we’re thrilled to have sustainable energy broadcasting all of the music from our 18 performances — powered by the solar electric and battery system donated by Claire Chang and John Ward, owners of The Solar Store of Greenfield.”

So, when festival goers enjoy the rhythms of Gaia Roots or the three-part harmonies of the Boxcar Lilies, or the kids gather around the stage to sing a chorus with The Nield, Sarah Pirtle or Ben Rudnick & Friends, those notes and tunes will be carried back to the Festival audience using the planet’s own powerhouse, the sun.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Spring Festival is Fun & Educational

Learn About Our Solar System, Discover Musical Instruments, Identify Wildlife, Recycling Activities and More at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Saturday, May 14th from 10am-7pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds

Arunah Hill astronomers will lead a scale model solar system walk at the Hilltown Spring Festival, demonstrating how large our solar system is, and how very small we are! Come learn, explore and have a great time: Saturday, May 14th from 10am-7pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds

Not only will families have a fabulous time being entertain by great music on 3 stages during the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival, they will also have several educational opportunities throughout the day!  Here are just a few highlights:

SOLAR OBSERVANCES

Arunah Hill Natural Science Center, an educational facility for astronomy, science, and nature located in Cummington, will be at the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival with telescopes and a meteorite display!  Astronomers will be on-site with solar-filtered telescopes for fair-goers to safely view sunspots and solar prominences under the guidance of experienced solar observers. The Arunah Hill staff will also be displaying a collection of meteorites, including a 120 pound iron-nickel meteorite that fell to earth more than 5,000 years ago. — arunah.org

MUSICAL PETTING ZOO

Josh Watchtel from Radio Free Earth will be visiting the Grasshoppa Arts Initiative booth from 1-4pm with a “Musical Petting Zoo.” Josh will have a display of a variety of instruments, including a mountain dulcimer, Turkish choombush, Moroccan bongoes, guitar, space crickets, melodica, one-stringed plastic bottle plucker, and a few other instruments.  He will be sharing their history and showing kids how to make music on each one.  Families are encouraged to stop in to learn about these instruments and get a hands-on experience. — grasshoppaarts.org

SOLAR SYSTEM WALK

Arunah Hill astronomers will lead a walk to create a scale model of the solar system. Starting with the Sun scaled down to the size of a volleyball, the walk will place appropriately sized planets at the correct “scale” distance from the sun. Earth will be the size of a peppercorn, some 26 paces away from the Sun. How far away will Pluto be? The Scale Model Solar System Walk will demonstrate how large our solar system is! It is appropriate for all ages, for anyone capable of walking across the solar system. The Solar System Walks will take place at 11:45am and 2:15pm.  — arunah.org

NATURE ART & OBSERVANCES

Earthwork programs of Williamsburg will be offering several educational opportunities during the festival. Learn the art of fibers and make a hand crafted gift, experience the lost art of firemaking with hands-on demo, and increase your awareness of wild life. Check their schedule when you arrive for several activities, including: Native Crafts and Skills Working with Fibers; The Art of Making Fire; The Art of Fox Walking and Owl Vision; and The New Bird Watching and Storytelling. — earthworkprograms.com

IDENTIFYING & LIVING WITH WILDLIFE

Judy Pasko from Cummington Wildlife invites families to stop by her booth for wildlife games and learning.  She will be offering two games, one involving “match the pawprints to the animal” and a wildlife trivia question game for all age ranges. The primary mission of Cummington Wildlife is to give treatment to orphaned, injured, or ill wildlife with the goal of releasing the animal back into the wild. Families can stop by throughout the day to learn about communities living with wildlife. — cummingtonwildlife.com

LITERACY

Hampshire Regional’s Coordinated Family & Community Engagement Outreach booth will be promoting literacy by offering free books for kids and a springtime art activity for them to “make and take.” Balloon sculptor from Ed Popielarczyk’s Magical Moments will be there to entertain the kids while they pick out a book and make art. — In addition to supporting early and family literacy, families can find out about local resources that assist in accessing a variety of services, including vouchers to help pay for child care, contact information for area child care providers and medical professionals, and referral information for Early Intervention programs, along with a free Parent Resource Manual that highlight many area services for children and families.

RECYCLING THROUGH CRAFTS

The RH Conwell Community Education Center invites families to stop in to make crafts out of recycled materials, a simple opportunity for kids to learn about recycling while celebrating their inner artist. — For 70 years this hilltown school located in Worthington, has thrived on a combination of widespread community support and a strong belief that it takes an entire community to raise and educate children.  The genesis of this view stems from the teachings of Russell H. Conwell, the founder of Temple University, who was born in Worthington in 1843. — www.conwellcec.org

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Spring Festival: Local Music Giveaway

CD Giveaway: 10 CDs From Massachusetts Based Musicians!

Gaia Roots joins us again this year at the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival. Find out how you can win their CD, along with nine other CD from musicians featured at this year's festival! -- This is the second year Hilltown Families has been a major sponsor of the festival, and this year we are delighted to sponsor a third stage at the festival, The Hilltown Families Family Stage! Our line-up of award-winning Massachusetts based musicians is worth the trip to the festival alone, but there are two other stage with equally impressive, locally based musicians, including Appalachian Still, Boxcar Lilies, Gaia Roots, Misty Blues, Swing Caravan, and many others! -- And we have a collection of ten CD from a sample of bands you can see at the festival this year (details below). (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Hilltown Spring Festival Features 18 Musical Performances on 3 Stages

The 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival happens this Saturday, May 14th from 10am-7pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds in Cummington, MA!

Check it out! The music line-up for the festival includes 18 musical performances on three stages:

LOCAL MUSIC GIVEAWAY: 10 CD’s!

The Hilltown Spring Festival has 18 performances on 3 stage and Hilltown Families has a collection of 10 CD’s to giveaway, to one lucky winner! What a great opportunity to add a large collection of great local music to your CD collection that the entire family will enjoy.  Here’s what we got goin’ on:

Gaia Roots ❁ Motherdrum
Through song, rhythm, dance and story the women of Gaia Roots weave together traditions from around the world and they continue to pass on these traditions and create unity through music. Performing as an ensemble for over 17 years, they have traveled together to the Caribbean, West Africa and other parts of the world to perform and immerse in world music, drumming, singing, dance, and culture and to collect handmade instruments and traditional fabrics utilized in performances.

Radio Free Earth ❁ And Don’t Forget It! 
Just a fun, fun band,” says Sirius Satellite Network. — Like some great pirate radio station in the sky, Radio Free Earth ignores boundaries to play the good stuff “they don’t want you to hear,” familiar songs you’ve never heard before, and songs you’ll remember you’d forgotten. The band dubs its style Crossover Music because it’s paradoxically acoustic and electric, rootsy and innovative, funny and serious, and political and spiritual.

Lui Collins ❁ North of Mars
One of New England’s first and brightest stars,” says the Boston Globe — Folk singer/songwriter Lui Collins has been performing, writing and recording since the 1970s, earning international acclaim for her music. A native Vermonter, Collins’ early music education included classical studies on piano, violin and French horn, followed by a major in music theory at the University of Connecticut. Lui abandoned formal music studies after three years of college, in favor of the vibrant folk music scene of northeast Connecticut.

Sarah Pirtle ❁ Pocketful of Wonder
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. On this album, the opening song, “Let’s Go Outside,” is the central message. This fabulous album encourages families to spend time together outside and supports a childhood nourished by the wonder of the earth.

Mister G ❁ Bugs
Mister G bursts onto the national family music scene with his adventurous second CD release, Bugs. — “With this new record, Mister G manages to capture the energy and engagement of his wildly popular live shows,” write Bill Childs of WRSI’s Spare the Rock. — Mister G is Ben Gundersheimer, a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter/producer who spent 20 years as a rock frontman and solo artist before transitioning to making family music. The first student to garner a songwriting scholarship to Berklee College of Music, who has won 10 ASCAP awards, Ben toured internationally before going back to school to earn a Masters degree in elementary education.

Ben Rudnick & Friends ❁ A Frog Named Sam
Ben Rudnick & Friend’s 7th CD, A Frog Named Sam, is filled with energy, fun and excellent musicianship. — “On the title track alone, the funky vocal breakdown is worth the price of admission….” says Time Out New York Kids — The title track tells the story of Sam, a country frog who heads off to the big city to fulfill his dream of singing for big audiences. With success, he misses his friends and returns to sing for them back at the pond. The acclaimed American roots Style family music band, Ben Rudnick & Friends (BRF) will join us this year on the Family Stage.

The Boxcar Lilies ❁ Heartwood
“There is nothing like the great three-part harmonies of the Boxcar Lilies to send a shiver up your spine,writes the Greenfield Recorder. — Heartwood is The Boxcar Lilies’ debut studio release.  Their spine-tingling and innovative harmonies are the hallmark of this record.  The Boxcar Lilies are a high energy and engaging Americana trio with a knack for heavenly three-part harmony and exceptional songwriting!

Appalachian Still ❁ Feelin’ Alive
Appalachian Still is an acoustic string band out of Northampton, Massachusetts playing high energy Americana that combines oldtimey mountain music with bluegrass, rock, and folk. This New England group has managed to create a unique sound that is distinctly their own yet remains rooted in the heart of Appalachia. Drawing from a repertoire of traditional tunes, original material, and covers, this band combines traditional music of Appalachians with many “modern” influences like Old Crow Medicine Show, The Grateful Dead, Fountains of Wayne, Norman Blake, and The Avett Brothers.

Pat & Tex LaMountain ❁ A Few Miles Later
Pat & Tex LaMountain have been singing, writing, performing and harmonizing together for over 30 years. Writers of dozens of songs, they have developed a diverse collection of material that includes American standards, swing tunes, folk, rock, bluegrass and country. Their music has been described as “upbeat and rhythmic, inspirational and sensitive…catchy…with Pat & Tex there’s heart and soul.” Songs that touch us through melody, message and harmony. Their music is a blend of Pat’s crystal clear vocals with Tex’s tenor voice and unique flat and finger picking styles.

Misty Blues ❁ Roadhouse Revival & Electric Juke Joint
All members of Misty Blues, being lovers of the blues genre, noticed a deficit of blues in the Berkshires that focus on the multitude of talented and influential female performers. Misty Blues pays homage to the older blues music made popular by the bold and brassy women of its time, while still paying respect to the more contemporary female artist that carry on their rich traditions like Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, Billie Holiday and Tracey Chapman.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a 10 CD package of Massachusetts based artists is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  Here’s how… Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Focus on Sustainable Living at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Sustainable Living Vendors Welcomed at the
5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival
Cummington Fairgrounds, May 14th

Seth Isman, Economic Development Director at the Hilltown CDC in Chesterfield, MA writes:

Greenfield Solar Store

Greenfield Solar Store join the Hilltown Spring Festival last year, with displays of solar panels and fielding questions about solar energy. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

2,000 people who are interested in sustainable living in all its forms will be attending the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 14 at the Cummington Fairgrounds. Do you have something to tell them? Do you have something to sell them?

Join providers of solar energy equipment, sellers of hybrid cars, providers of energy efficient lighting, local organic farmers, providers of energy efficient windows and window treatments, providers of composting toilets and of wood-burning furnaces.

Join local restaurants selling their tastiest dishes, local non-profits talking about their services, local artists and craftspeople showing their work, and local musicians entertaining on three stages.

Business Expo Barn at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Thousands of visitors visited the HSF last year, visiting sustainability vendors in the barns and open fields. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Help our Western MA community to buy local, eat local, save local, stay local! Be part of a great event and meet 2,000 new customers!

Complete information and registration forms are at www.hilltowncdc.org, or call or email Seth Isman at sethi@hilltowncdc.org or 413-296-4536 ext. 112.

Have questions about the Hilltown Spring Festival?

Morris Dancers, May Pole & Solar Powered Music on 3 Stages at the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival!

Update: Joining the festival this year will be the Juggler Meadow Morris Men and the lovely ladies from the Wake Robin Morris Dancers!
Seth Isman, Economic Development Director at the Hilltown CDC in Chesterfield, MA writes:

Morris dancers, maypole, solar powered music on 3 stages, local food, family activities, and much more! Find it all at the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival on May 14th at the Cummington Fairgrounds. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Please join us on May 14th, 2011 at the Cummington Fairgrounds for the Hilltown Spring Festival! There will be music on 3 stages, healthy local food, children’s activities all day long, displays by businesses and artists, a Focus on Sustainability, dancing around the Maypole at 12:30 with Morris dancers.

JOIN US! There are still opportunities to display your work, promote your business, or volunteer to help out. Some businesses are signing up to sponsor the event, others are signing up to display their products and services, and many are offering raffle prizes. And volunteers are signing up to help us build stages, direct vendor traffic during morning setup, and encourage recycling during the day. Last year, we reduced our waste stream by 30% by recycling paper, plastic, metal, and compost. This year, with your help, we can do even better.

Performers who are already scheduled include: The Nields (kids show), Tony Vacca (world music percussionist), Swing Caravan (alt-jazz quartet), Gaia Roots (vocals and percussion), string band Appalachian Still, singer/songwriter Laura Wetzler, Misty Blues (blues you can groove to), the Dave Bartley Trio, Pat and Tex LaMountain, Boxcar Lilies, and popular children’s performers Mister G, and Ben Rudnick & Friends. One of the three music stages will be devoted to family music all day long, but families and children will enjoy all the music being performed.

Local food highlights confirmed so far include: fresh wood-fired pizza from The Baker’s Oven of Colrain, fried rice, lo mein and spring rolls from the Goshen Snack Bar, bratwurst and hot dogs from Elke’s Catering of Worthington, and Bart’s Ice Cream.

For more information, or to participate, go to http://www.hilltowncdc.org, email Seth Isman at sethi@hilltowncdc.org, or call Seth at 413-296-4536 ext. 112. We look forward to seeing you at the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 14th, 2011, at the Cummington Fairgrounds!

Artisans, Vendors & Volunteers Wanted for 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival

Hilltown Spring Festival will Celebrate Hilltown Life on May 14th!

The Old Creamery cooks up shrimp shish kebabs on an open grill during the 2010 Hilltown Spring Festival - just one of the many delicious food options offered by local food vendors last year. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Hilltown Community Development Corporation (Hilltown CDC) is signing up local artisans, businesses, non-profit organizations and volunteers for the 5th annual Hilltown Spring Festival, to be held Saturday, May 14th, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds.

Last year’s Festival drew 2,000 people for an all-day celebration of regional arts, culture and sustainability. This year’s Festival will feature 20 performances by area musicians on three stages (including the Hilltown Families Family Stage!), specialty food and drink from hilltown vendors, children’s activities all day long, and a “sustainable living” exposition.

The Festival is looking for:

  • Vendors of products and services that make our lives more energy-efficient and our communities more sustainable;
  • Artists and craftspeople who want to display and sell their work;
  • Other businesses who want to reach 2,000 prospective customers in one day;
  • Local food vendors;
  • And volunteer captains to help the Festival succeed.

Recycling Captains from Wahconah Regional High School joined the HSF team of Volunteer Captains, helping to make the 2010 festival a great success! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

“The Hilltown Spring Festival is a chance to connect with 2,000 people who care about the quality of life in the Hilltowns,” said Seth Isman, Hilltown CDC’s Economic Development Director and Festival coordinator. “The Festival will highlight regional businesses involved in alternative energy, organic farming and other kinds of sustainable living.”

Registration forms are available from Hilltown CDC; email sethi@hilltowncdc.org or call 413-296-4536 ext. 112. The deadline for reserving a space is April 22.

ABOUT THE HILLTOWN CDC

Hilltown CDC is a 30-year-old community development agency working to improve the quality of life of hilltown residents by addressing economic, housing, educational, social and community needs while preserving the rural character of the area.

The Hilltown Spring Festival is supported in part by grants from the Local Cultural Councils of the towns of Ashfield, Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Middlefield, Plainfield, Washington, Westhampton, Williamsburg, Windsor and Worthington—local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Save the Date for the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival

Save the Date for the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival
May 14th, 2011

Save the Date: May 14th, 2011. Volunteer and business opportunities are available. Call the Hilltown CDC at 296-4536 for more info.

The Hilltown CDC’s 5th annual Hilltown Spring Festival, a celebration of Hilltown life, will take place on May 14, 2011, at the Cummington Fairground. Mark the date on your calendar, and tell your friends. Two thousand visitors came through the gates last year.

This year the Hilltown CDC celebrates its 30th Anniversary! Festivities will include music, dance and children’s activities all day; food and drink provided by Hilltown restaurants; sales and displays by Hilltown artists and crafters; the Kids’ Craft Bazaar; and Hilltown businesses showing their products and services. The emphasis will be on sustainable living, with demonstrations, information, and festival-wide recycling. (Last year we recycled 30% of all trash; we can double that this year!)

VOLUNTEER & BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES:

The Hilltown CDC is looking for volunteers to help with set-up and recycling at the fairground on May 13 & 14th. If you can help, or if you would like to highlight your business at the festival, call Seth Isman at 413-296-4536, x112, or email sethi@hilltowncdc.org. Ask your friends how much fun they had at last year’s festival!

Support is provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and many Local Cultural Councils; by local banks and other sponsors; and by the exhibiting businesses. Admission price helps support the work of Hilltown CDC, including business development, housing rehabilitation, support programs for low income local elders and families, and the Hilltown Food Pantry.

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

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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

Local Fare Offers Tasty Treats at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Organic Black Bean Burritos to Gluten-Free Coffee Cake
Local Fare Served-Up at the Hilltown Spring Festival

What's on the menu at the 4th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival? Come by and visit our local vendors on May 15th at the Cummington Fairgrounds. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

There will be something for every taste at the Hilltown Spring Festival, coming up this Saturday, May 15th, 2010 in Cummington. From organic black bean burritos to classic mac-and-cheese, this year’s Festival food vendors are offering a wide assortment of eats and treats: Start with a waffle or some gluten-free coffee cake from Blue House Café, followed by a grilled hot dog or some bratwurst from Elke’s catering. Next, sample the veggie lo mein and chicken spring rolls from the Goshen Snack Bar, or the Hampshire County 4-H Club’s “taco in a bag” entrée.

Other offerings include meat kabobs, fresh fruit and focaccia sandwiches from the Old Creamery Grocery, treats from Bart’s Ice Cream, local brews from Brewmaster’s Tavern and milk and cookies from Hemenway Hill Farm. You can even plan your next meal by purchasing some frozen organic pork or free-range eggs from Manda Organic Farm.

Don’t forget to recycle your picnic trash!

Psychedelic Dixieland for the Kids at the Hilltown Spring Festival

The Primate Fiasco Returns to the Hilltown Spring Festival with a Kids Show on Saturday, May 15th @ 2pm

The Primate Fiasco is what you might call a psychedelic dixieland band. With the instrumentation of tuba, trumpet, clarinet, banjo, drums, and vocals, any modern style of music can be fused with that New Orleans festive sound to create high energy jams that will move the feet of hippies, ravers, jazzers, break dancers, and their grandparents. Check out their kids show at 2pm and adult show at 5pm on Saturday, May 15th during the Hilltown Spring Festival at the Cummington Fairgrounds. (Photo Credit: Derek Goodwin)

The Primate Fiasco is normally found in front of a mob of screaming college students and jazz enthusiasts. However, children have become more and more of a constant at Primate Fiasco shows due to the high energy, whimsical, short attention span of the music. Finally, an album is being recorded just for them. It will be a collection of kids classics like “On Top of Spaghetti” and “Wheels on the Bus” but with the psychedelic multi-genre flair that’s to be expected at any other Fiasco show. With Tuba, Trumpet, Clarinet, Banjo, and Drums, there are enough shiny objects on stage even before they start sharing tambourines with the audience.

Listen here to their version of the Muppets Show theme song during the Academy of Music benefit for the Northampton arson victims in January 2010. Aside from the Kids CD, The Primate Fiasco has recently released their own coloring book.

The Primate Fiasco will be one of 15 acts performing this year at the 4th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival, put on by the Hilltown CDC.

New this year to the Hilltown Spring Festival:

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.

Academy at Charlemont Freightshakers Return to Hilltown Spring Festival

Academy at Charlemont Freightshakers

The Freightshakers will be at the 4th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival on Saturday, May 15th, on stage at 4pm.

The Academy at Charlemont Freightshakers, a student ensemble that plays originals, bluegrass, folk, and new arrangements of pop songs, will be returning for a second year in a row to perform at the Hilltown Spring Festival on Saturday, May 15. The Festival runs from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. The Freightshakers will perform from 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.

According to Abe Loomis, bandleader and banjo player backing the budding student musicians, “this is a group of 7-10 students who started playing together four years ago. Some were real beginners then, but they have all developed into an extraordinary ensemble and some into emerging individual musical talents.” The group was recently invited to record on WRSI-FM and one of their original songs, “509,” made WRSI’s top 100 last year. In addition to the Hilltown Spring Festival, the Freightshakers will play the Green River Festival this summer, and were also recently featured on WGBY’s “Making it Here Teenstyle.”

The Freightshakers include graduating senior Sophia Imani, who released her own EP, “Gifts of Life” this spring after a year studying songwriting and recording at the Institute for Musical Arts in Goshen, MA. Seniors Isaac Baker (guitar, vocals) and Isaiah Day (cello, vocals), and freshman Connor Steele-McCutchen anchor the male end of the choral harmonics, while soloist Clare Donohue-Meyer and Willow Westwood . The group’s repertoire ranges from Old Crow Medicine Show to Bob Dylan, and includes “I Won’t Wait,” a song by Baker, and several pieces written by Loomis.

The Academy of Charlemont Freightshakers will be one of 15 acts performing this year at the 4th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival, put on by the Hilltown CDC.  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, and Celtic fiddler Katherine First.  Look for special musical jam sessions and hands-on demonstrations throughout the day.

Join Hilltown-Based MOther Earth JOurney Puppets in Noho & Hilltown Spring Festival

MOEJOS Puppet Parade & Puppet Making Workshop

Mother's Day Puppet Parade in Northampton on May 9th, the join MOEJOS for an all-day puppet-making workshop at the 4th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival on May 15th in Cummington, MA.

MOTHER’S DAY

On May 9th, the Mother Earth and her Endangered Creatures will be taking over the streets of Northampton for the Fifth Annual Mother’s Puppet Parade and March for Peace.

This year the parade will go to Pulaski Park for a Ritual Performance by the MOther Earth JOurney Puppets (The MOEJOS) of Williamsburg, and cellist Stephen Katz of Haydenville, where a vision of sustainability brought forth by the elders will make the Great Mama sing with joy!

  • When: Mother’s Day, May 9th, 12 noon, Ritual Performance at 1 pm in Pulaski Park. (Raindate May 16th)
  • Where: Main Street, Northampton, MA. (Puppeteers will be gathering at 11am at the Bridge St. school lawn.
  • Who: The MOther Earth JOurney Puppets, including the Great Mama, the Earth, dolphins and a whale, birds and beasts, the Carbon turtle and the Hurricane bird, Tara Mama, the Fox, the Phoenix, the Windmill and the Transition Town Turtle! Plus a community of puppet makers, peacemakers, activists, the Transition Town folks, the Pedal People, MotherWoman, and many more – including you!

For more information contact: Beth Fairservis at bethbirth@crocker.com or call 413-268-3588.

HILLTOWN SPRING FESTIVAL

On May 15th, join the Williamsburg based MOther Earth JOurney Puppets at the Cummington Fairgrounds for the 4th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival for an all-day puppet-making workshop.  Families can create their own stick puppets, inspired by the giant marionettes at the Mother’s Day parade.

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. This year the Hilltown Spring Festival has added a Kids-Made Craft Bazaar, featuring homemade crafts and art for sale by children up to age 13 and 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.

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.

Potty Talk at the Hilltown Spring Festival!

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Poop Happens at the Hilltown Spring Festival
Composting Porta-Potty to Debut!

If there is any thing parent’s become comfortable talking about once they have their first baby, it’s potty talk. So what better audience to announce to that the first-ever composting porta-potty will debut at the Hilltown Spring Festival, slated for Saturday, May 15th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds. The environmentally-friendly toilet will be built this Sunday, May 2, by local installers of Phoenix Composting Toilets.

“Composting toilets are becoming more popular and people have been asking me for years, ‘When are you going to have one that’s a porta-potty?’” says Ben Goldberg, a Leeds resident who sells and installs Phoenix composting toilets. “We’re excited to be building this in time for the Hilltown Spring Festival.”

The fourth annual Spring Festival, produced by the Hilltown Community Development Corporation, is a daylong celebration of Hilltown life, featuring 15 musical acts on two stages, arts and crafts, unusual games, children’s activities, local food and local brews. (Program details at www.hilltowncdc.org)

The composting toilet is part of the Festival’s continued focus on eco-friendly business and sustainable living. The idea for the toilet has received approvals from the Cummington Fairgrounds and the Cummington Board of Health. A local farmer will provide a long-term home for the compost produced by the porta-potty.  Potty training however is still left up to the individual parent!

Recycling Captains Wanted for Hilltown Spring Festival

The Goal is Zero-Waste at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Efforts are under way to move the Hilltown Spring Festival closer to its goal of becoming a zero-waste event. This week, Eric Weiss of the Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative (HRMC), which handles recycling at the festival, will be talking with students at Wahconah Regional High School about how recycling and composting are a key part of the sustainability equation. He’ll also be recruiting volunteer recycling “captains” to help direct fairgoers to the proper bins on May 15th.

“I think it’s important to always attach the word goal to the phrase, “zero waste,” Weiss says. “Otherwise, you miss understanding how this actually gets done.”

The Williamsburg-based HRMC was created 20 years ago by volunteers from area towns who wanted a regional solution to the problem of solid waste disposal. For more info, contact Weiss at (413) 268-3845, hrmc@crocker.com.

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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Highland Unusual Games Triathlon at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Hosts Needed for the Highland Unusual Games Triathlon
at the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 15th, 2010

For the past two years, competitors from across the Hilltowns – ranging in age thus far from two to seventy-two – have flocked to the Hilltown Spring Festival for the annual “Highland Unusual Games Triathlon.” The Triathlon is a grueling test of accuracy, balance and speed (strength and endurance are not required) featuring a 40-yard egg race, horseshoes and a scaled down version of frisbee golf. Teams of two, three and four persons have competed successfully for various and sundry special prizes.

According to Triathlon organizer, Andrew Baker, who serves as Executive Director of the Hilltown CDC (creator of the Hilltown Spring Festival) during the few moments when he is not entirely dedicated to planning the next annual Triathlon, “We are always on the lookout people to help host the Triathlon and to suggest new games, provided they are willing to host them on Festival day for a few hours and teach them to eager young competitors. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Triathlon grow into a Quad or Quintathlon this year!”

Key criteria for successful festival games are their ability to be learned quickly and played by contestants of all ages. They should require minimal equipment (supplied by the host) and be able to be played in a fairly small area. And they need hosts!

Baker concludes, “I’ve just thought of a new one! I’m calling it ‘Croak-aye.’ It’s a cousin of shuffleboard played on grass with croquet balls hit into a hole in the ground. Come try it out.”

If you would like to suggest/host a new game for the Hilltown Spring Festival, volunteer to help host the Triathlon, and/or donate an unusual winner’s prize, contact Andrew at the Hilltown CDC: andrewb@hilltowncdc.org or 413-296-4536 ext. 118. See you at the Triathlon!

Photo credit: (ccl) Jason Stare

Four Featured Vendors at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Seth Isman, Economic Development Director at the Hilltown CDC in Chesterfield, MA writes:

Smarty Pants Project will join the great line-up of vendors at the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 15th at the Cummington Fairgrounds in Western MA. Will your business, organization or group be there? Sign up with the Hilltown CDC today!

A rush of vendors are signing up for the Hilltown Spring Festival, taking place on May 15th, 2010 from 10am- 6pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds in Cummington, MA. Seven more sign-ups came in just today. Among the newest vendors to register are:

  • Paper Stone Letterpress Printing of Chesterfield, MA (paperstoneprinting.com). One recent customer said “I love your originality and creativity. It’s great to find paper products with such a personal touch. Beautiful work by talented people.”
  • Manda Organic Farm of Plainfield, MA (mandafarm.com). A 99 year old lifelong farmer said “That was the best pork I have tasted in my entire life. I could even chew it with these old choppers of mine.”
  • Smarty Pants Project of Shelburne, MA (smartypantsproject.org), making funky, affordable children’s pants. “If everyone dressed like this we might achieve world peace … or at least smile a lot more.”
  • Green River Ambrosia of Greenfield, MA (greenriverambrosia.com), makers of mead, “the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man. Beloved by Vikings everywhere. Drink what Beowulf drank.”

More vendors are welcome. The family friendly Hilltown Spring Festival is a combination one-day Music Festival, Hilltown Food Festival, Focus on Sustainable Living, and Art and Craft Fair, with children’s activities, including this year a Kids-Made Crafts Bazaar. Admission for visitors is free, parking is $10.

More information and signup forms are at www.hilltowncdc.org.

Call for Children to Participate in the Hilltown Spring Festival Kids-Made Craft Area

Kids-Made Crafts to debut at Hilltown Spring Festival, May 15th, 2010

Kids-Made Crafts area to debut at the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 15th.  Do your kids want to join in the fun and real-world experience of selling their crafts and arts?  Join in and fill out an application today! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Kids-Made Crafts area to debut at the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 15th. Do your kids want to join in the fun and real-world experience of selling their crafts and arts? Join in and fill out an application today! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The 4th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival is on May 15th at the Cummington Fairgrounds, produced by the Hilltown CDC.  New this year is a Kids-Made Craft area for children up to the age of 13 to sell their hand-made crafts and art.  The Hilltown CDC’s goals are to allow children to participate directly in the Festival, to reward them for their creativity, and to give them some real-world experience showing and selling their work. The Kids-Made Crafts area will be highlighted in a central covered area on the fairground, and all crafts and art must be hand-made predominantly by children.

The Hilltown Spring Festival is a family-friendly event.  It features two music stages (Charles Neville, The Primate Fiasco, Swing Caravan and much more); a Focus on Sustainability, including demonstrations of solar heat, hot water, and electricity, and information about local agriculture and home energy solutions; food from local hilltown eateries, including local brews; displays by adult artists and crafters, and children’s activities all day long, including a kids show with The Primate Fiasco!

This year children will participate directly in the Festival as vendors allowing for hands-on experience in showing and selling their crafts. Participants must be pre-registered and able to bring their own tables and chairs. The fee for child artists and crafters is $5.  Registration forms must be filled out and returned with registration fee to the Hilltown CDC:

Only a certain number of children can be accommodated, so register early. Vendors will not be charged for parking. If there are questions, call Seth Isman at 413-296-4536 x12 or email sethi@hilltowncdc.org.

More information is available at www.hilltowncdc.org.



Volunteers Help Make the Hilltown Spring Festival a Zero-Waste Event

Featured Hilltown Spring Festival Volunteer:
Megan Thompson-Munson of Hampshire Regional H.S.

Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield

Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield

Hampshire Regional High School student Megan Thompson-Munson says she’s always been interested in science. That’s one reason she signed up to be a recycling volunteer at the Hilltown CDC’s Spring Festival, coming up on Saturday, May 15th, 2010 at the Cummington Fairgrounds.

Volunteers will help direct festival goers to recycling bins to help the Hilltown CDC reach its goal of hosting a zero-waste event.

Megan will also be exhibiting a trail-mapping project she’s completed for her Earth Sciences class. She used a hand-held GPS system to map parts of the Tilton Town Farm Trail in her hometown of Goshen, MA. “I’m good with technology,” says Megan, who also runs track and plays piano. “The trail used to have a lot of signage but it’s mostly gone now. I’ve been working with a group that will clean up the trail so more of the public can come.”

The Hilltown CDC is looking for more volunteers to help with recycling and other Festival activities. If you’re interested, contact Seth Isman: 413-296-4536 X112, sethi@hilltowncdc.org.

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