Uplift fest moves on up

  • Robert Randolph Courtesy photo

  • Jordan Cusano of Varsity Material plays at the Uplift Music Festival in 2017. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Fun at the Uplift Music Festival in 2018. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Fun at the Uplift Music Festival in 2018. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Robert Randolph will headline the 2019 Uplift Music Festival, which is moving to Marty’s Driving Range in Mason this year. PHOTO BY Stuart Sevastos

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/1/2019 6:23:14 PM

A venue change and a national headliner highlight this summer’s eighth annual Uplift Music Festival, bringing music to the community while benefiting a local nonprofit.

Pedal-steel guitar legend Robert Randolph gets top billing at this year’s festival, set for July 27 at Marty’s Driving Range in Mason. National touring acts Donna the Buffalo and Ryan Montbleau Band are also on the lineup, along with homegrown talent like Varsity Material, Adam and the Flood and Senie Hunt.

“One great thing is we were able get national headliners,” said festival organizer Mike Chadinha. “To play in front of a national headliner is a great opportunity for local bands. We’ll still have local bands who have paved the way. We’re stepping up our music programming, but trying to keep the vibe the same.”

The festival started back in 2012 when Harlow’s Pub in Peterborough needed money for a kitchen renovation. Chadinha said that it began simply as a group of people wanting to help out the local pub.

“Harlow’s does a lot for the local music community and they were going through issues trying to renovate,” Chadinha said. “A bunch of us came together to put a benefit on. It was just trying to get eight bands to play this one day. It was meant to be a one-time thing.”

Today, the festival has grown into a favorite local tradition. However, there is one major change to this year’s event. While the festival usually takes place at Oak Park in Greenfield, this year the venue will be at Marty’s Driving Range in Mason.

Chadinha said the decision was based on the additional space the new venue offers the growing music festival as well as for financial reasons. The festival held in Greenfield had a lot of upfront costs, at the same time it relied heavily on their day-of ticket sales, as many people don’t buy their tickets in advance, he said. If the weather on the day of the festival is poor, then they could lose out on a lot of their donations.

“Last year was the first time we had some bad weather and were afraid we would get stung. It’s a scary feeling,” Chadinha said. “We had to change this business model a little bit; it’s not sustainable. Marty’s started putting on a summer concert series for this summer. It was perfect timing to have it move over there. [They were] kind enough to fund the whole thing.”

Last year the cost to pay for the venue, insurance for the event and town services totaled $17,500. Marty’s is not charging Uplift for those costs. However, the festival will not be BYOB as it has in the past. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased from Marty’s bar. Chadinha said it is important for the community to remember that no one who works the event makes a dollar; it is a benefit show. Last year the event raised more than $50,000 for its chosen nonprofit, Monadnock at Home.

The festival will still include all of the aspects that make it a family-friendly event. A bouncy house, children’s activities and plenty of local vendors will be present.

“I want them to know it’s just like always, we’re in it for the long run for the community and making sure we can sustain this for the future,” Chadinha said. “Moves are made for the better of the community and the longevity of the event.”

The beneficiary for the festival is still in the selection process. Some of the past nonprofits to benefit from the show include cancer patients at Monadnock Community Hospital’s cancer treatment facility; Monadnock at Home, which helps elderly people live more independently; and The Grapevine family and community resource center in Antrim, among many other organizations.

The festival is planned to take place on July 27 at Marty’s Driving Range. Tickets can be purchased for $45 at www.eventbrite.com/e/uplift-music-festival-tickets-60536670812. For additional information visit upliftmusicfest.org or Uplift Music Festival on Facebook.


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