Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday on the Bridge of Flowers

A few of us Middletown residents were in Greenfield, Mass (a down-on-its heels, former milltown on the Connecticut River) this weekend to attend the annual Green River Festival. The festival, now in its 23rd year, is a production of the Greenfield Chamber of Commerce. I've attended for about 20 years, and I've watched it grow from a modest music and hot-air ballooning festival, to what it is now, a major two-day event that, for the first time ever, was sold out (at about 7,500-8,000, I'd estimate, at $45 a ticket). It's held at Greenfield Community College, and is very well organized, though the crowds were a bit overwhelming this year. The music is focused on adult roots-rock and folk music, and features national acts. In the Pioneer Valley WRSI, the local, very popular radio station, plays this music as its staple. The festival raises money for the Chamber of Commerce. The festival is booked by Jim Olsen, proprietor of Signature Sounds Records, and a show host on WRSI. Imagine a similar kind of festival for Middletown.

We spent Saturday morning on a short Berkshire tour, stopping in Shelburne Falls to walk the lovely Bridge of Flowers (an abandoned trolley trestle, now a walking path and cross-river garden), the Trolley museum, the natural river potholes below Salmon Falls, and organic sandwiches from the local grocer. Now imagine a trolley running down our Main Street.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful to know about this! One of my all-time favorite restaurants, the People's Pint, is in Greenfield Mass. This does sound like something that Middletown could achieve. We already have the restaurant draw and venues here. I checked and Greenfield is a town of less than 15,000 people. They are drawing a crowd half the size of the town's population for a festival - pretty impressive.

Anonymous said...

That is such a beautiful area. We used to go to a Bottle of Bread I believe. awesome restaurant. as a whitewater kayaker i recommend Zoar outdoor for a trip down the river.
and I second People's Pint. best burger!

Mr. Fixit said...

This coming weekend you can visit the Lowell (MA) Folk Festival (July 24th-evening, 25th Noon onwards and the 26th Noon thru early evening). It's booked as the largest FREE folk festival in the USA (and I don't doubt their claim). We have been attending for 20+ years. You will find lots of good music, nice people, and great ethnic foods served mainly by community groups. They have five stages including a dance stage. Alternate venues are available if inclement weather intervenes.

A similar event would work in Middletown. Lowell is about a two hour car trip from Middletown. See: for Schedules and Lists of Performers

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

We actually ate dinner at the People's Pint on Friday. It's an annual tradition. We had their signature burritos, and I enjoyed two glasses of Pied pIPA.

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

The Lowell Festival is another example of a city embracing a music fest to bring people to town. I visited when it was part of the National Folk Heritage Festival series, but I haven't been back recently.