Long Live the Thing Saturday in Peterborough

  • Bonnie Prince Billy will play with Matt Sweeney as Superwolves at Long Live the Thing on Saturday, Sept.4 in Peterborough. Photo by Elisabeth Fuchsia

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/3/2021 11:56:44 AM

The fundraising was already done for the 2020 Thing in the Spring. The lineup was set and the four days of music were circled on the calendar.

Then all the hard work of planning and asking for donations to support the live music festival in downtown Peterborough went for naught when organizer Eric Gagne was forced to cancel last year’s 13th iteration of The Thing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gagne didn’t even attempt to bring it back in 2021 because it simply takes too much time to plan, especially without really knowing what the world would be like when the dates rolled around in June.

But those funds were still available, so in April, Gagne had an idea for a one-day version of the festival in the fall. That one-day music celebration is this Saturday.

Long Live the Thing will be held on the green behind the Peterborough Town House with music running from noon to 10 p.m. and the lineup came together better than Gagne could have expected. Typically it’s a year-round process, but he figured why not give it a shot – one last hurrah for The Thing.

Considering the time that he needs to dedicate to it each year – all for free – coupled with his work at Nova Arts as program manager it just became clear that putting on the festival for years to come would prove to be too much.

“I’m pretty much doing Thing in the Spring year-round up here,” Gagne said sitting outside Nova Arts in Keene.

It’s not saying Gagne won’t put on more shows in the area, but committing to a yearly event that spans a long weekend just isn’t in the cards right now.

“But we had raised all this money and we wanted to do something cool,” Gagne said. He’s always thought of it as a service project in a way, helping others be exposed to new artists and their musical talents.

“I’m doing it to give the community a taste of some music from the outside,” he said. “It’s about bringing from all those corners and different undergrounds to the Monadnock Region.”

Gagne looks at Saturday’s festival as a representation of The Thing’s history.

“I knew I wanted it to be a microcosm of everything we’ve done,” he said.

This show features a substantial cast of some of the most exciting music happening around the country today, including Superwolves (Bonnie Prince Billy and Matt Sweeney), Arooj Aftab, Laraaji, Angel Bat Dawid, Joe McPhee/Chris Corsano/Paul Flaherty, Ava Mendoza, Little Wings, Sarah Louise. Kicking it all off will be Gilliver.

“It’s something that if someone sits there for the whole thing it will be an incredible journey,” Gagne said. “It’s about putting people out there that are creating work that I know is important.”

And in the end it came down to quality over quantity to send The Thing off on the right note.

“I’m psyched with what we’ve done in Peterborough,” Gagne said.

The show is all ages, and tickets are pay what you want with all proceeds going to local nonprofits Avenue A, The River Center, Nova Arts and Friends of the Peterborough Town Library. Masks are recommended for the show, and in the event of inclement weather, the show will be in the Peterborough Town House, and in that case masks will be required.

There will also be a couple of food trucks, as well as some information booths.

For more, visit https://www.thethinginthespring.com/.


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