Sounds Local: Live music is slowly but surely making its way back

  • Karrin Allyson will kick off the 2021 Watermelon Wednesdays season on Aug. 4. Contributed photo

  • Small Change plays a Coop Concert at Greenfield’s Energy Park. This free weekly music series has been a summer tradition in Greenfield since its inception in 2004. File photo

Published: 6/18/2021 6:20:26 PM

Sunday is the official start of summer and when it comes to live music, the coming months are looking promising.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, considering that earlier in the year I was prepared for the summer of 2021 to be a repeat of 2020. But as the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel continues to shine brighter, live music is slowly but surely making its way back. And it’s not only outdoor shows that are on the horizon; indoor venues are starting to open their doors as well.

Let’s start by talking about the Coop Concerts. This free weekly music series has been a summer tradition in Greenfield since its inception in 2004. Presented by the Franklin County Musicians Cooperative, the Coop Concerts will return this year beginning on Thursday, July 1. The concerts will be held every Thursday (weather permitting) from 6 to 8 p.m at Energy Park, at the base of Miles Street.

When I think of these shows, the image of kids running around the park as the music plays in the background instantly comes to mind. I also think of all the people sprawled out on their blankets, enjoying a picnic dinner as they soak up the tunes. It will be great to see these scenes again, all while taking in some excellent local music.

 The 2021 Coop Concert season will be shorter than usual this year. The series usually launches in early June, but because of COVID-19 and the additional planning needed, they are getting off to a late start. One other difference this season is that there will be two acts performing each night instead of three, which is how the series was structured in the past.

“At the time we were drawing up the schedule, we had to comply with COVID restrictions about cleaning the performers’ microphones and equipment thoroughly between acts. This was going to add quite a bit of time between sets. There were also several other health/safety requirements to meet,” co-op musician Rob Adams wrote in an email exchange.

Singer-songwriter Adams and Dennis Avery will perform on the opening night, July 1. Also on the lineup are singer-songwriter and guitarist Joe Graveline, who will be accompanied by Nina Gross.

The rest of the schedule is as follows: July 8, Orlen, Gabriel & Avery, and Boys of the Landfill; July 15, Katie Clarke and Larry LeBlanc, and Pat & Tex with Avery and White; July 22, Selah haleS and Austin & Elliott; July 29, Stephanie Marshall and Roland LaPierre Band; Aug. 5, Jim Eagan and Sheryl Stanton and Bobby; Aug. 12, Small Change and Charlie Conant and friends; Aug. 19, Jennie McAvoy and Russ Thomas.

To learn more about the performers and to sign up for the Coop Concerts mailing list, visit

Return of Watermelon Wednesdays, 10 Forward

July 1 is more than the day that Coop Concerts will debut. It’s also the day that tickets (although that date could be earlier, if the booking is finalized) for Watermelon Wednesdays go on sale. That’s right, Watermelon Wednesdays — the summer concert series held at the West Whately Chapel — will return this year. The series organizer, Paul Newlin, is still putting the lineup together and working out details, but I’ll tell you what I know so far.

Newlin has booked eight shows as of this writing and is working on securing more for what he promises will be his best season. The season will open on Aug. 4 with a show by jazz singer Karrin Allyson, who has performed at the chapel in the past.

As for pandemic protocols, these are being finalized but Newlin did say he is asking non-vaccinated people or those who are concerned about being indoors to stay home and watch the livestream instead. There’s a lot still being worked out, so stay tuned to as plans unfold and tickets go on sale.

10 Forward (formerly The Root Cellar), a club on Fiske Avenue in Greenfield that presents cutting-edge bands, disc jockeys, theater, dance, film and more, was just getting off the ground when it was forced to close in March 2020. Like so many other venues, the past year has been a tough one for the club financially and it’s established a GoFundMe campaign, a Patreon page, and has hosted outdoor DJs at events called Sunday Sessions to help raise money to reopen. The good news is that 10 Forward is moving forward and will reopen later this summer.

Club owner Sarah Lanzillotta says coming shows include an outdoor/indoor festival from the Loculus dance collective Aug. 1 and 2, a first indoor music show with Bill Nace, Julie Bodian and Ko Takasugi-Czernowin on Friday, Aug. 6, and a Bad Behavior DJ the night of Aug. 7.

For more information:,

This is just scratching the surface as more shows are being announced every day.

Remember, this reopening of live music is uncharted territory and there will be changes as we move along, so before heading out to a show or purchasing tickets, please check out the venue’s website/social media pages for updates.

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