Sounds Local: Return of Antenna Cloud Farm

  • Michi Wiancko and Judd Greenstein at Antenna Cloud Farm in Gill. Its 2021 season will begin on July 10. Staff file photo/Paul Franz

  • Bombay Rickey will perform at Antenna Cloud Farm on July 10. file photo

Published: 7/1/2021 8:48:03 PM

After experiencing a year they describe as “challenging, exhausting and important,” the owners of Antenna Cloud Farm are happy to announce their return with an exciting musical lineup for 2021. In case you are not familiar with Antenna Cloud Farm, it is a multi-genre music festival and artists’ retreat located on a beautiful, 100-acre hilltop former dairy farm in the town of Gill.

Launched in 2017 by composer Judd Greenstein and his wife, Juilliard-trained violinist and composer Michi Wiancko, the farm has hosted some dazzling performances over the years. The music they present is often described as “cutting edge” and “innovative,” words that aptly describe the upcoming lineup. However, this year will see far fewer shows than previous years.

“This year, we are limiting our on-site concerts here at Antenna Cloud Farm to two events as we continue to open back up and recover from the challenges of the pandemic, which negatively affected so many arts organizations and concert venues across the world,” wrote Wiancko, the artistic director of the farm in a recent email.

The season will begin on Saturday, July 10, with Bombay Rickey, a five-piece group that has been described as “soft rock meets Bollywood” and “a group that could provide a Bollywood soundtrack to a 1960s noir film.” Who could resist with descriptions like that? The powerful vocals of Kamala Sankaram and the band’s use of surf guitar, further make for a one-of-a-kind musical experience that you won’t want to miss.

The second show on their schedule will take place on Sunday, July 18, with cello virtuoso Andrew Yee.

While they are reducing the number of shows on site, Antenna Cloud Farm is teaming up with some community organizations to present music at other venues.

“We are thrilled to partner with RiverCulture and Laudable Productions this year, and grateful to continue our collaboration with Musica Franklin as well as some of our favorite local food artisans and growers,” said Wiancko. “We also have a new partnership with the Nolumbeka Project that we’re really excited about.”

On July 31, they will team up with RiverCulture to present a show with Sam Amidon of Brattleboro, Vt., at Peskeompskut Park in Turners Falls. Amidon is a banjo-playing folk musician who puts his own spin on the genre by adding touches of jazz and classical music. He has toured the world and won widespread praise for his unique take on traditional tunes.

“It will be a free show at Peskeompskut Park, but we will be encouraging donations in support of the 8th annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival: A Celebration of Native American Art, Music and Cultures, happening on Aug. 7 and 8 at Unity Park in Turners Falls,” added Wiancko. “We’ll also be hosting here at the farm one of the artists performing at the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, Jennifer Kreisberg, during her weekend of performances.”

Later on this summer, Antenna Cloud Farm will partner with Laudable Productions to bring a couple of exciting acts to the Barbes in the Woods Festival which will take place on Saturday, Aug. 21, in Montague.

They will welcome Arooj Aftab, a vocalist that blends Pakistani Ghazal with jazz and Hindustani vocals and BIGYUKI, a keyboardist and composer who hails from Japan. More information on Barbes in the Woods can be found at www.barbesinthewoods.com

While this is the farm’s first time presenting shows in outside venues, they have hosted two free performance workshops at the Brick House Community Resource Center in the past for younger folks. They have also collaborated with Musica Franklin to presents workshops and concerts, and in 2019 partnered with the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music as part of a creative mentorship program with a cohort of emerging composers.

“In early 2020, we had a very exciting collaboration planned with the Shea Theater in Turners Falls, but unfortunately, that was cancelled as the pandemic forced the shutdown of venues around the country,” Wiancko said. “But we look forward to reviving that collaboration, as the Shea is such a rich community asset and a truly beloved space.”

The shows at the Antenna Cloud farm begin at 7 p.m., but the farm opens two hours before show time for concert-goers to enjoy a picnic or walk around the beautiful grounds. Tickets can be purchased at www.antennacloudfarm.com.

Wiancko said of this upcoming season: “It feels more crucial than ever to offer artists a beautiful, peaceful space within a welcoming, arts-loving community here in Franklin County, allowing them to focus on creation, inspiration and wellness. Concerts at ACF nurture points of connection between artists, audience, and community that are intimate and transformative. Our labor of love continues to be deeply rewarding.”

Suds and Songs debuts at Montague Village Store tonight

A new free music series called Suds and Songs kicks off at the Montague Village Store in Montague Center tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. Suds and Songs will run every Thursday in July and will pair beer tastings from local breweries with music from local musicians. Tonight’s inaugural show will feature beer from the Hitchcock Brewery in Bernardston with music provided by Sam Perry. You likely know Perry from his work as lead guitarist in the band Old Flame, but he also works as a solo artist and records under the moniker SVIP. Coming up July 8 will be Pioneer Valley Brewery with music by Lexi Weege and JJ Slater. On July 15, Progression Brewing featuring Mike Wood (Rebel Alliance), and on July 22, White Lion Brewing team with Khalif Neville. The series winds up on July 29 with Berkshire Brewing and singer/songwriter Nate Martel.

Suds and Songs will take place in the garden of the Montague Village Store with burgers and dogs provided by the Montague Fire Department.

“We’ve all been through a lot in the past year,” said Kathleen Lynch, owner of the Montague Village Stores. “This event is a wonderful grassroots opportunity to showcase local businesses and artists in a fun low-key setting. We’re excited to present some of the best in local brews, music and locally grown food at the store and at these events. We should all go out and reconnect with our neighbors again, or for the first time, for some of us.”

Coop Concerts tonight

Don’t forget that the Coop Concerts launches its 2021 season at the Greenfield Energy Park at 6 p.m. tonight. The show will feature R & D (Rob Adams and Dennis Avery) who describe their sounds as a blend of old and new music that features dobro and lap steel. The evening will also include a set by guitarist /singer Joe Graveline who will be accompanied by classical violinist Nina Gross. This show is free. For more information on Coop Concerts visit their website at www.coopconcerts.org And if the weather is looking rather dicey they will post any cancellations on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/greenfieldenergypark.




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