As we come to the end of August, we bid farewell to most of the summer music series and prepare to welcome the many fall festivals and fairs that all feature live music. And this is also the time of year when venues that were dormant during the warm weather months reopen their doors. So read on for a glimpse of just some of the many musical events that are in store for the months to come.
The Wormtown Festival returns to Camp Kee-wanee (off Leyden Road) in Greenfield on the weekend of Sept. 13-15. This festival offers crafts, vendors and all kind of activities for the kids, but with over 50 bands performing over three days, it’s geared toward jam band fans who want to experience a full weekend of music. The problem with Wormtown is that they seem to bring back the same acts year after year, but this year’s lineup has some first timers for the festival that may entice you to make a trek out to Camp Kee-wanee. For starters, there is Rusted Root, a band from Philadelphia that plays a world music/acoustic rock blend. It had a hit single in 1992 with the song “Send Me on My Way.” Then there is Oteil Burbridge, the bass player of The Allman Brothers, who fronts his own band.
Area listeners who enjoyed the “Last Waltz Live” performance at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls last March might be interested to know that the Rev Tor Band, which does these reenactments of The Band’s final concert, will be at Wormtown this year. There will also be plenty of local acts like The Equalites and Alychemystics as well as area favorites like country rockers Yarn, which established a strong local fan base while playing the Route 63 Roadhouse back when the band was starting out. Tickets are a bit pricey but include camping for the weekend. If you get tickets through Sept. 2, they are $90 for the three days of music. These can be purchased at the Wine Rack, 70 Main St., Greenfield or at Lit’l Bears Den, 229 St., Greenfield. If you prefer to charge by phone, you can call the Northampton box office at 413-586-8686. Single-day passes are available for Sunday only and these are $40 at the gate. For more information, visit: www.wormtownmusicfestival.com
Old 78 Farm Festival
There are a lot of festivals that include music but one that really stands out is the Old 78 Farm Festival, which will take place at the Old 78 Farm, 823 Orange Road, Warwick, on Sept. 28. This is a celebration of locally grown food, but it also celebrates music and has an excellent lineup of first-rate bands, including Roots of Creation, a group from Keene, N.H., whose sound is described as mix roots and dub reggae with guitar-heavy rock and electronica. Also performing will be the Talking Heads tribute band Start Making Sense, the rocking Girls Guns and Glory and the Alchemisfits, a group that comprises members of the local reggae/rap band the Alchemystics. There will also be a stage devoted to local music that will feature The Wildcat O’ Halloran band and Mr. Noizy and the Sparkplugs, a group from Warwick. Music will begin at noon and wind down around 10:30 p.m. The full lineup is available at www.old78farm.com. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased at the Orange Innovation Center, 131 West Main St., Orange, Room 208 at the Simon Says Booking office and at the Old 78 property.
Riverside Blues & BBQ
What is likely to be one of the last chances to hear music outside this season will occur when the Franklin County Rotary Club and the Greenfield Recreation Department host the Riverside Blues & BBQ Festival at Beacon Field in Greenfield, Oct. 11 to 13, from noon to 6 p.m. each day. In addition to a barbecue competition and brew tastings, there will be plenty of blues music to enjoy. The music portion of the event will feature such local blues luminaries as the Wildcat O’Halloran Band, Janet Ryan and Eve Cappelli and the Watershops Band. There will also musicians from outside the area, including blues vocalist Vaneese Thomas, a native of Memphis and daughter of the great Rufus Thomas. The full lineup can be viewed at www.Riversidebluesandbbq.com. This festival is reasonably priced with tickets only $5. Admission is free for kids 10 and under who are accompanied by a paying adult. There are additional fees for beer sampling and the barbecue.
Also, save the date of Saturday, Oct. 19. That’s when the Franklin County Pumpkin Festival will take over downtown Turners Falls. As of this writing, the musical lineup has not been announced, so stay tuned.
Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse
Now, let’s turn our attention to the great indoors. The Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse will launch its fall season on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. with a show by rocker June Millington, one of the founders of the trailblazing all-female rock band Fanny. Since her days in Fanny, Millington has worked as a solo artist and also recorded with her sister Jean. She is also the co-founder of the Institute for the Musical Arts in Goshen. Looking ahead, Charles Neville will be at the Full Moon on Oct. 26 and Zydeco Connection on Nov. 16. Shows at the Full Moon are laid-back family friendly affairs. Seating is general admission. The coffeehouse keeps admission costs low and all shows are sliding scale, $7 to $15 (cash only), with partial proceeds benefiting a local environmental or service organization. For more information, visit
The Parlor Room
The Parlor Room in Northampton has remained closed for the summer but will open its doors on Thursday, Sept. 5, and stage two shows with rockabilly/ folk/country musician Eilen Jewell and her special guest guitarist Jerry Miller. These shows will be held at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
If you haven’t been to the Parlor Room, it’s worth the trip to Northampton. This intimate listening room is located in the front of the Signature Sounds office building downtown, at 32 Masonic St., next to the Woodstar Cafe. The room has great sound and since it only seats 50, it’s akin to hearing a band in your living room. Shows are for all ages, and seating is general admission, Coffee and baked goods are sold, but patrons are welcome to bring their own beer and wine. A misconception is that it only present shows by artists who record for the Signature Sounds label. That is not the case. The Parlor Room has a full schedule for fall including a Hank Williams tribute with Girls Guns and Glory on Sept. 17 and two shows with the reunited Scud Mountain Boys on Sept. 22. Also on the schedule is Mary Gauthier on Oct. 4, Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem on Oct. 11 and Erin McKeown on Oct. 26. To view the complete calendar and purchase tickets, visit www.parlorroommusic.com. Remember, this venue is located in downtown Northampton, so you must park on the street or in the town’s parking garage, which could require additional time on busy weekends.
The Calvin Theatre in Northampton was relatively quiet all summer but has a full schedule for fall, including a solo show with the legendary Elvis Costello on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. As of this writing, there were only a handful of tickets left. However, there were more tickets left for shows by reggae rocker Michael Franti and Spearhead on Sept. 17, guitar great Richard Thompson on Sept. 29, country rocker Steve Earle and the Dukes on Oct. 31 and a solo show from Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell on Nov. 17. These are just a few of the shows scheduled. The complete listing and price information is available at www.iheg.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main St., Northampton, or charge by phone at 413-586-8686.
Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org