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Spotlight: Strong and Pleasant Rocktober Festival in Northampton; Skate or Paint at Northampton’s Skate Park

Published: 10/4/2019 10:02:14 AM

More downtown music in Northampton

“Strong” and “pleasant” aren’t two words you naturally associate with each other. Then again, Strong Avenue and Pleasant Street form a key nexus in downtown Northampton, as well as a focal point for the Strong and Pleasant Rocktober Music Festival, which will feature over 50 indie bands and artists to the heart of city from Thursday, Oct. 10, through Sunday, Oct. 13.

The festival is designed both to recapture and celebrate the spirit of the Northampton Music Festival, a downtown event that took place in the late 1990s, and its late creator and promoter, Donal B. Rooke. This is actually the second edition of the Strong and Pleasant Festival: the first one took place in early June.

For the October version, regional acts and some from the Boston area as well as Connecticut and New York will play at four main downtown locations: Bishop’s Lounge, Progression Brewing Company, The Majestic Saloon and The Sierra Grille (home of the Reanimate the Bay State shows). Other pop-up downtown locations and businesses are expected to be added to the venue lineup.

Among the bands are some well-known names from the Valley’s rock and roll scene: Sun Parade, Opal Canyon, Weedge and the Wondertwins, Mark Schwaber, The Equalities, and Canadian Tuxedos (a “supergroup” made up on members of Bella’s Bartok and Mamma’s Marmalade). The festival is produced by the The Buzz, A Honey Pot Production.

In addition, the festival has a connection to the DWELLINGS Arts Festival, at the Northampton Center for the Arts, which takes place Oct. 12. DWELLINGS is a one-day event featuring poetry, music, visual art and workshops that explore ideals of community, identity and inclusion. Participants there will receive a $5 discount on any ticket to the music fest on Saturday, and most music festival attendees will also receive a $5 discount to participate in DWELLINGS.

Tickets for the music festival range from $10 to $50, depending on how many days attendees come for. They are available through

Skate? Paint? Or maybe just hang out?

Northampton’s Skate Park, opened in 2007, has served as a community gathering space and athletic facility where sports, art, style, passion and fun collide. That theme will animate a special event on Saturday, Oct. 5, when “Skate or Paint 2019,” a mix of mural painting, skating competitions and live music, takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Presented by the Northampton Arts Council and Theory Skateshop, Skate or Paint is a free public event designed to gather the community and “reinvigorate” the Skate Park, according to the Arts Council, in part by organizing future projects there and for local skateboarders more generally.

What’s on tap? For starters, local artists including Ryan Muldoon, Tyler Chaney, Mark Tousignant, Ben Licata and Eric Talbot will paint a mural on two sides of the field house at Veterans field, adjacent to the Skate Park. There will also be skate competitions hosted by Theory Skateshop, and local skater/musicians Jesus Vio, Mibble and DANE X SOPIRA will be performing a live soundtrack to the festivities.

The forecast for Saturday looks good — sunny skies, no threat of rain and temperatures around 60 degrees — so whether you’re an artist, a skateboarder, a musician or some combination of all three, you’ll likely find something to like.

— Steve Pfarrer

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


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