Sounds Local: A Green River Festival wrap and more music to come 

  • The Hanged Man CONTRIBUTED

  • Cha Wa plays the Dean’s Beans Stage last Saturday at the Green River Festival at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Allison Russell plays the main stage last Sunday at the Green River Festival at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Ryan Montbleau plays the Dean’s Beans Stage last Sunday at the Green River Festival at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The Dip play the Dean’s Beans Stage last Saturday at the Green River Festival at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

For the Recorder
Published: 6/29/2022 4:03:57 PM

I’m sure many of you are still coming down from the incredible weekend of music that was the Green River Festival. This year’s festival was a hot one in every sense of the word! Green River Festival 2022, held at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, will stand out as the year that women with powerful voices dominated — and I’m not only referring to their singing voices. (Although it was a lineup of fantastic singers, one that was led by Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive.)

Hours before the festival opened its gates on Friday, the news broke of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. While this news didn’t alter the mood of the festival, it was on everyone’s mind, including many of the performers who spoke out on the decision and urged the crowd to stay strong and fight back. It was a message we would hear many times over the weekend.

At a festival with four stages it’s impossible to see everyone, but out of all the acts I did see there were a few that stood out.

It’s always fun to discover new talent and this year singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt is someone I wasn’t familiar with, but will be paying attention to from now on. Taking the Greenfield Savings Bank Main Stage on Saturday afternoon, as the heat was reaching the melting point, Pruitt delivered a passionate set that drew from her debut album “Expectations.” With a spirit as fierce as her voice, she sang a number of songs that were inspired by her experiencing growing up gay in a strict Catholic household. Backed by a band of top Nashville musicians, when she swapped her acoustic guitar for an electric, Pruitt totally rocked.

The most powerful performance came Sunday afternoon when Allison Russell and her four-women backing band she referred to as “goddesses” played material from her acclaimed solo album “Outside Child,” an album that explores her growing up with, and eventually escaping an abusive stepfather. Her set was peppered with moving conversation about her dismay over the Supreme Court decision, her ancestors’ history in slavery and the power that music has in bringing people together and creating community. Her set may seem like the ultimate downer, but Russell is a fantastic vibrant singer whose songs are about hope and survival, and that is very much the message she sent out to the crowd. “We will not backslide, but will move forward,” she sang.

There were so many great local acts this year, but the Young at Heart Chorus really stood out. I was concerned that the singers, who range in age from 75 to their mid 90s, would struggle to perform in the severe heat, but there was not need to worry. They gave their all and put on one the best performances of the festival. When they closed with “Forever Young” I wasn’t the only one reduced to a sobbing pile of mush.

A shout out to the Green House stage, a cool little house that was designed by some UMass students and will soon be home to a family in need. Its porch doubled as a stage for surprise pop-up concerts and these stripped down shows were especially welcomed because the house was in a very shaded area. It was especially a special treat to see Lake Street Dive playing a brief acoustic set.

The Green River festival is known for getting the crowds on their feet and dancing, and the New Orleans band Galactic may have proven the best band for that job. Led by singer Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, their Friday night set was fun and funky with a heavy groove that brought the Big Easy to Greenfield (for however short a time). Ripe, a seven-piece band who came together when they were students at the Berklee School of Music, gave us a fun and energetic set on Saturday that even included a cover Phil Collin’s “Sussudio.” Cha-Wa offered not only the sound of New Orleans, but the visual representation as well as they performed in Mardi-Gras Indian costumes that are not seen in these parts very often.

I could go on, but want to save some space to talk about some more music that is fast approaching on the horizon. So save the date, Green River Festival 2023 will be held on June 23-25, 2023.

Greenmind Fair & Share Festival

There’s more music coming to the Franklin County Fairgrounds. On Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3, the Greenmind Fair & Share Festival will be held beginning at noon each day and winding down at 10 p.m. on Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday. Hosted by Greenmind Events, the family-friendly event will feature two stages of music, artists, games, glass blowers, crafter vendors, food trucks, fireworks and so much more.

There will be over 20 bands playing reggae, hip-hop, blues and rock. Local bands like reggae groups No Lens and Woody & Rebel Alliance, and psychedelic rockers Shantyman will mix it up with bands like Saturday night headliner, Perfect Giddimani, who are from Jamaica. Closing out the show on Sunday will be local favorites the Alchemystics with their own mix of reggae vibes and hip-hop. To purchase tickets and learn more about the show, visit

Suds and Songs returns to the Montague Village Store

Next week marks the return of Suds and Songs, a series sponsored by the Shea Theater, that combines fine beverage tastings with some equally fine local music. This series will take place the first Thursday of every month at the Montague Village Store located in the center of Montague. This is a change from last year when the shows were held weekly during the summer. The series kicks of next week on Thursday, July 7, and will run through October. Each event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude around 8 p.m. The music will start at 6 p.m. and in addition to the beverage sampling grilled food will be available.

“In an effort to support Equity in all its forms in our community, this year’s performers come from a diverse set of backgrounds, including representing people of color, our LGBTQ community, and women in music,” said Kara Karmah of PRIA marketing who booked the music.

Launching the series is The Hanged Man, a group that features Bella’s Bartok frontman Asher Putnam and the band’s drummer, Crisco. Working as a duo they get to play music that’s very different from the raucous sounds of Bella’s Bartok. They call the music of the Hanged Man “doom folk and post-apocalyptic country music for these trying times.” If that description doesn’t make you want to check them out, I do not know what will. Their show will be paired with tastings from Berkshire Brewing Company.

On Aug. 4, it’s the Valley’s popular roots reggae band ReBelle. For this show it will be the duo of Manou Africa and Kalpana Devi. Their show will be paired with a tasting from Abacus wine.

On Sept. 1 it’s Vimana, the jazz trio of Brian Rodrigues on bass, Bruce Todd on drums and Leo Hwang on guitar. Vimana blends blues and funk in all original jazz compositions that have a sound that is contemporary but rooted in influences from the 1960s and 1970s. You can sample some Artifact cider at their show.

The series will wrap on up on Oct. 6 with singer- songwriter LexiWeege and guitarist JJ Slater. Their show will be paired with beer tasting from Abandoned Building Brewing Company.

Sheryl Hunter is a freelance writer who resides in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national publications. She can be reached at


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