Music, arts fest was a utopia

In a perfect world, every weekend would be like the one we just experienced in Peterborough. The sun was shining, spirits were soaring, and talented folks from all across the country descended upon downtown to grace us with their artistic talents at The Thing In the Spring festival. It was a living, breathing ecosystem occupying a natural habitat — a receptive, arts-minded town ready to embrace what the world has to offer.

Everywhere you looked or listened, there was another treat for the senses, another display of talent to feast upon. On Saturday afternoon alone, one could walk from the Town House to Bass Hall and find everything from a handmade embroidered felt kraken to a farm-to-table pulled pork sandwich, to a pair of art installations or even a bunch of rockers from Brooklyn amping up the crowd of sun-bleached hipsters — or whatever else one’s heart desired.

Even with some of the more raucous acts, both musicians and fans alike were as courteous and respectful of the town they were inhabiting for the weekend as one would expect from a tour of chamber musicians or torch singers. Even with the addition of a beer tent for the first time at this year’s festivities, there was not a problem to be had at any of the shows — even the biggest of which did not require a police presence.

It was an ethereal utopian society for a fleeting weekend, with its own self-sustaining economy. Ceramics were traded for prints, prints for jewelry, jewelry for clothing and so on in a cyclical frenzy of bartering and buying. And it feels good to know the dollar you spend on the amazing, affordable artwork goes right into the pocket of the artist who poured their heart and soul into its creation — who then in turn spends part of that dollar at a local restaurant or inn or shop and plugs it right back into the town’s economy. Even with an emphasis on affordability and person-to-person transactions, Broke Art is still a financial boon for the area as a whole.

Of course, the main attraction was the music itself, and it did not disappoint. From the first note of Dust From 1000 Years’ opening set outside the Toadstool on Thursday afternoon to the final drumbeat and high-hat hit of MacDowell Fellow Bobby Previte’s tremendous festival-closing set with Charlie Hunter, songs filled the air for days on end. It’s the kind of thing that has always made Peterborough a good town to live in, and something we should be thankful for as it carries on.

Endless appreciation is due Eric Gagne, Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne and the rest of the Glass Museum staff for putting on the event, and endless thanks are due to the many businesses who supported them in their endeavors. Let’s keep supporting them.

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