FallsFest to return to South Hadley this Saturday

  • FallsFest returns to Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley this Saturday, July 28. Gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Published: 7/24/2018 12:22:33 AM

SOUTH HADLEY — The annual FallsFest, a free daylong music and arts festival put on by Music and Arts South Hadley, is set for Saturday at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley.

The event will feature an eclectic music lineup, vendors, local craft beer and food trucks, according to Ira Brezinsky, president of Music and Arts South Hadley and a Select Board member.

“Each year, it has grown,” Brezinsky said. “The very first year we did it all on our own was in 2013. Then, a few people in the region took notice and came out to help us, so we started to grow.”

After a yearlong hiatus, the festival returned in 2017, and this year will mark the fifth rendition of the festival.

This year, for the first time, Music and Arts South Hadley have hired an outside company, Laudable Productions of Easthampton, to help organize the event and book musical acts. The company has helped organize other recent events like Millpond Live, the Springfield Jazz & Roots, and the River Roll & Stroll.

“As you can see, our festival is growing up,” said Laudable Productions producer Cassandra Holden. “We are making South Hadley a destination for music and art, rivaling our neighbors who often garner more attention from the local press.”

The festival is part of a larger effort to revitalize the South Hadley community and bring more visibility and access to the Falls neighborhood, Brezinsky said. Event organizers will be expanding shuttle and valet parking services into Holyoke too, to promote more attendees to the free community event.

“We think it’s working and we intend to continue,” Brezinsky said. “We think it’s become a reason for people to come to town and specifically the Falls neighborhood.”

This year’s expanded musical lineup offers more international acts than ever before, including Lakou Mizik from Haiti, Corazón de Granada from Spain and Latin Grammy award-winner Mister G, who will serve as the emcee. From New York, the salsa sensation Ola Fresca will perform, as will Chatham County Line from North Carolina.

South Hadley FallsFest

When: Saturday, July 28, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Beachgrounds Park, 116 Main St., South Hadley Falls
Cost: Free

Locally, the Charles Majid Greelee Jazz Ensemble from the Community Music School of Springfield will perform, as will the Stomp Box Trio fronted by renowned jazz vocalist Evelyn Harris of Northampton. Wrapping up the evening will be a “New Orleans all-star get-down” with Charmaine Neville, Khalif Neville and the Glen David Andrews Band. Pop-up performances and collaborations between artists will take place on a smaller stage in between acts.

“The committee was really committed to leveling up this year,” Holden said. “The festival has grown steadily and they have a very dedicated team.”

Saturday’s FallsFest will be a day for the visual arts as well. A large-scale digital art installation by a E-Ink, an electronic paper display technology company, will grace the 40-foot main stage. A light show, artisan market, dunk tank, archery area, and technology tent will all be offered at the festival. There will even be an “instrument petting zoo” for kids sponsored by Gerry’s Music Shop in South Hadley.

This year’s festival will feature nine musical acts and about 40 tents for different vendors and community groups. Food and beverage vendors will be kept to one area of the festival, but alcoholic beverages will be allowed in all parts of the park, Brezinsky said.

FallsFest will take place on July 28 at the Beachgrounds Park at 116 Main St. in South Hadley Falls. Admission is free and festivities will take place beginning at noon and last until 10 p.m.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@gazettenet.com.

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