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Hanstock II, the one-day music festival, gets approval 

  • The Hancock Depot Cabaret is held the first Saturday of each month at 8 p.m. and features local and regional musicians. Courtesy photo

  • Local favorite Decatur Creek will kickoff Hanstock II, slated for Saturday, Sept. 12 on the Hancock Town Commom. Top: Eyes of Age, featuring organizer David Young and his wife Susan Lang will perform at 4:30 p.m. Courtesy photo

  • Hanstock II will be held Saturday, Sept. 12 on the Hancock Town Common. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/9/2020 4:38:42 PM
Modified: 9/9/2020 4:38:32 PM

David Young understands the hesitation that comes with putting on a music festival in the current times.

That’s why the conversations that began in the late spring about the possibility of hosting Hanstock for its second go around were thorough and ongoing.

But after months of discussion, the decision was made to move forward with Hanstock II on the Hancock Town Common, which is set for Saturday, Sept. 12.

When Young first approached the Hancock Selectman in June, after working through the details and protocols among the members of the Hancock Depot Association, the festival was given tentative approval. Another visit to the selectman in July gave the association hope it would be able to host the day of music and three weeks ago, they were given the go ahead to hold the one-day event.

On Saturday, the Hanstock II lineup includes six bands, most of which hail from New Hampshire, while vendors and food sellers will also be onsite in an effort to replicate what transpired last September – albeit with enhanced safety measures in place.

Given the current landscape due to the coronavirus pandemic, Young said those who attend are asked to socially distance and wear a mask when appropriate.

“If you get up to visit any of the vendors, get some food or use the restroom, wear a mask,” Young said. “We think we can all do this together. We took this very seriously and we’re doing everything we can.”

Young said he attended Drive In Live at the Cheshire Fairgrounds and was impressed with how well the operation ran.

“We’ve seen the model can work if people comply,” Young said.

And it gave him hope that Hanstock could work as well if the right procedures were put into place. The fact that positive tests in the area have remained low is another sign that the festival can go off safely.

“So far this area has still been humming along with a good record,” Young said. And having it on the town common allows for people to spread out.

For Young, the push to bring back the one day event was two fold. The Depot Association wanted to build off the momentum from last year’s event, which saw up to 350 people attend throughout the day, but also provide musicians a venue to get back to what they love to do.

“We wanted to do something because so many of our music friends have had gig after gig canceled,” Young said. “We’re hoping to fill some of that void, but at the same time it has to be done in a safe manner.”

He added there was so much interest they had to turn down some musicians because logistically there wasn’t enough time during the day for more than six acts to perform.

“I wish we could have had more,” Young said.

But in no way does that mean it’s not a lineup people will enjoy. Young said the goal was to give festival goers a variety and as he puts it, “it’s a great lineup and a great mix.” Each band will get an hour to play with a 15-minute setup time in between. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. with the first act taking the bandstand stage at 11:30 a.m.

Local folk trio Decatur Creek is first up on the lineup, followed by Tara Greenblatt Band at 12:45 p.m., who Young describes as funky jazz and Americana. Tumble Toads will play mostly their rock fusion originals at 2 p.m., Young said, and the Americana, bluegrass and folk duo Green Heron, made up of Betsy and Scott Heron takes the stage at 3 p.m.

Eyes of Age, Young’s band that includes his wife Susan Lang, are set to play at 4:30 p.m. before Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards close down the festival with a set at 5:45 p.m.

Throughout the day, Young said there will be upwards of 20 artists and artisans, and crafters selling their work, and farmers providing fresh produce for purchase, while being spaced appropriately and wearing masks. Blackfire Farm from Hancock will serve up their wood fired pizzas and Fiddleheads will have a selection of sandwich options, among other food items. And of course, the Depot Association plans to have plenty of its “famous sausage and peppers and onions.”

Young doesn’t really know what to expect in terms of numbers in the second year. He knows some people just aren’t ready for an event like Hanstock, but so far the interest is there.

“Still I don’t expect a giant of onslaught of people all at once,” Young said.

There is a suggested donation of $10 per person. The money will first be used to cover the expenses of the event, and anything left over will go toward the association’s fundraising effort for a new roof on the Hancock Depot.

“It’s a labor of love and we want to do this for the community,” Young said.

And if Hanstock is a successful day, both musically and safety-wise, Young sees it possibly leading to more opportunities for entertainment.

“We hope it will be a good example of what we can do,” he said.

For up to date information, visit https://www.facebook.com/hancockdepotcabaret/.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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