Three-day event ripe for the picking
Home and Harvest Festival, which starts Friday, features music, fireworks and skateboarding
Performing here at the Keene Music Festival Aug. 31 with his band The HoneyBears, guitarist Greg Fisher and the HoneyBears will play in the bandstand in Memorial Park during the Home and Harvest Festival, Saturday, beginning at noon.
This September’s festival marks the 10th anniversary of Antrim’s Home and Harvest Festival, and all the band’s are coming out to celebrate. The festival will host six bands and, for the first time in festival history, some of the performances will take place at the bandstand in Memorial Park.
The festival begins Friday and continues through Sunday afternoon, with games, competitions and performances scattered throughout the weekend. Among the many bands expected, two local bands founded in Keene, The HoneyBears and Jake McKelvie and the Countertops, will play at the bandstand Saturday beginning at noon.
The drummer for The HoneyBears, Aaron Taub of Antrim, understands what it means for the band to play at the festival. “It’s really great that we are going to get to play in a new area for new people,” Taub said in an interview Tuesday. “I’ve been going to concerts in Antrim my whole life, so it’s especially cool to me that we are getting to play on the bandstand.”
One guitarist for The HoneyBears, Greg Fisher of Cranford, N.J., said he can’t believe his band is getting so much attention. “There’s nothing quite like the feeling of playing some boogie-woogie music on a sunny afternoon,” Fisher said. “We’ll be playing and having a blast.”
Guitarist for the Countertops, Jake McKelvie of Gardner, Mass., said the band has been expanding the last few months and eagerly anticipates performing at the festival.
“We were excited when our friend, Aaron, from The HoneyBears invited us to share the stage. I don’t think anyone can deny the appeal of a community event like this,” McKelvie said. “We have been trying to get around to playing in some areas we haven’t been to before.”
While the Countertops open the bandstand at noon, the band Decatur Creek will be performing on the Tuttle Library lawn and the band Big Maple will be playing next to Maplehurst Inn, all at the same time. Decatur Creek is comprised of three musicians, Doug Farrell, Steve Dionne of Webster and Jack Carlton of Amherst , all of whom have worked as independent singer-songwriters, and play coffeehouses in the Monadnock region. Big Maple includes local singer and guitarist Brian Murphy and his son, Alex, both from Antrim, their bassist Rob of Peterborough and their fiddle player Randy of Washington, N.H.; they covers songs from the past three decades.
One musician who is not so local, but still knows the Antrim area, is blues recording artist Michelle “Evil Gal” Willson. She played in Antrim in her earlier musical years at the former blues club, The Rynborn. Willson is quoted in a press release about the event saying she is looking forward to playing in Antrim again. “What a great place the Rynborn was, but it sounds like the festival will be a lot of fun,” Willson said.
During the interview with Beihl, Willson said she will be playing new music from her soon-to-be released album, Fortune Cookie, and Antrim folks will be one of the first audiences to hear these new songs.
Willson won a W.C. Handy blues award and recorded for Bullseye Records before launching her own label. Her free concert is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Tenney Farm on Main Street and ends right before the Atlas Fireworks display at 7:30 p.m. in the same vicinity.
The first band slated to perform at the festival Friday is Ivy Leaf, a Boston-based traditional Irish band, featuring fiddles, flute, whistle, concertina, bouzouki, guitar and vocals. Their concert begins at 7 p.m. and admission is $5.
Friday night there will be family roller skating at the town gym next to Antrim Elementary School. A DJ will mix music for the skaters from 7 to 9 p.m.; skate rentals are $5.
The festival is known for it’s various skateboarding competitions, specifically its downhill slalom skateboarding races. This years marks the 8th year the festival will host the Antrim Can/An Slalom Championships, one of North America’s largest skateboard slalom races. The championship attracts skaters from all over the U.S. and Canada, according to a press release issued by organizers. Qualifying racing begins Friday on Summer Street from 2 to 6 p.m. The hybrid slalom competition begins Saturday at 8 a.m. and continues to 5 p.m. The final giant slalom competition will take place Sunday beginning at 9 a.m.
The festival will also feature plenty of games and activities for the younger crowd along Main Street, and food will be a-plenty, including the return of the “Bestest Pie” contest and the baked bean contest on Saturday. Food drop-off time is from 4 to 5 p.m. and beginning at 5 p.m. the Tenney Farm will host a chicken barbecue.
A shuttle bus to Tenney Farm will start bringing people to the barbecue from the Antrim Village on Aiken Street , Town Hall and the Great Brook School Middle School from 5 to 8:30 p.m. every half hour.
Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.