The Recorder - Sounds Local: The Shea Theater presents the Old 78 Farm Fall Festival Reunion this Saturday

The Recorder – Sounds Local: The Shea Theater presents the Old 78 Farm Fall Festival Reunion this Saturday

Written by Cheryl Hunter

for the recorder

Phil Simon of Warwick has been within the music enterprise for over 30 years. He runs Simon Says Reserving and Publicity based mostly in Orange, and final yr took on a program advisor place on the Shea Theater Arts Middle in Turners Falls. He is additionally now written exhibits at this venue underneath The Shea Presents banner, and as well as, he performs regionally together with his personal band, Rice: American Band.

Nevertheless, one in all his most vital accomplishments is that he and his household have hosted the Previous 78 Farm Fall Pageant on his farm in Warwick for the previous 10 years. Sadly, the competition is not any extra, however since so many individuals have fond recollections of the occasion, Simon is bringing the Previous 78 Farm Fall Reunion to the Shea Theater on Saturday, January 21, at 7 p.m.

Woody and the Insurgent Alliance, Rice: That America Band, and Wallum Park are the bands that can carry out on the present. Drive (Garrick Perry), the rapper from Alchemystics, would be the grasp of ceremonies for the night.

Being concerned within the music enterprise, Simon has lengthy thought of internet hosting a music competition and was at all times looking out for potential venues. Then, in the future when he and his spouse, Angel, have been doing yard work, it dawned on him that he was standing within the good setting for a music competition – his personal farm in Warwick.

Angel Simon was instantly on board and able to go. Since Phil Simon was a reserving agent, he may simply put collectively a lineup, and from there the 2 capitalized on the skills of different relations. Simon’s brother is a grill chef, his sister is a lighting designer and his spouse and mother-in-law are superb cooks who present a few of the meals that has develop into a competition staple.

“It was my flip,” Simon mentioned of his determination to begin the competition. “I am going to festivals, I promote my bands to festivals, I take part in one million occasions, so in a approach internet hosting the competition was my function to provide again to the group.”

The primary Previous 78 Farm Fall Pageant was held in 2004. It began small and grew yearly, and by its last yr, 2019, was drawing practically 500 folks. The competition has at all times been a family-friendly occasion, stuffed with craft distributors, meals, and music. A few of the bands which have carried out through the years have included Bella’s Bartok, Adam Ezra Band, Begin Making Sense, DeadBeat, LoveWhip, Wildcat O’Halloran, and lots of extra. All types of music was performed, and every competition was a mix of native and nationally recognized acts.

Wanting again, was there a selected yr that stood out as a favorite?

“Nicely, that is fully Sophie’s selection,” mentioned Simon, laughing. “I’ve to say I felt like yearly we simply saved upping the bar on what we have been doing till final yr once we introduced a stage in from the skin and had nice lights. We began placing on a giant occasion on the finish, and I could not consider we have been doing this in the midst of the woods.”

However all issues come to an finish, and 2019 was the final competition. It is regular to suppose it is over due to COVID, however that wasn’t the case. The choice to cease got here lengthy earlier than the pandemic hit. It occurred when a number of crew members introduced, for varied causes, that 2019 could be the final yr they may work on the competition.

“You possibly can substitute one or two folks at a time, however the thought of ​​changing half the crew directly was a bit of daunting, so we made that decision. It was the choice to finish the competition,” Simon mentioned of the choice to finish the competition.

It was a superb ten yr run, the reminiscence alive in lots of who attended.

“Individuals at all times come as much as me on a regular basis to inform me what a enjoyable time that they had on the competition, and we’re actually pleased with it and glad it is one thing we have achieved,” he mentioned.

To offer folks a spot to share these recollections, Simon determined to carry the Previous 78 Farm Fall Reunion in January.

“The yr I used to be acting at Shea, lots of people requested me concerning the competition. I believed it was purpose for us to get collectively and revive the idea, at the least a bit of bit. The truth that it is January and Shea’s schedule is mild, plus it is a good time of yr to deliver folks collectively.” It was additionally taken under consideration within the determination to do that present now.”

Simon had no downside assembling a lineup. “I needed three bands, and so they all mentioned sure. Insurgent Alliance has performed the final 5 – 6 festivals. My band, Rice, hasn’t performed at Shea, so we needed to do this,” he mentioned. And Whalom Park is from Athol, in order that they’re an actual native band.”

All three bands play the kind of rock music that can get the viewers shifting, and all three bands play authentic materials drawn from varied influences. Woody & the Insurgent Alliance have a powerful reggae and jam background, Whalom Park calls their music “funkadelic rock”, and Rice lives as much as their title and sums up their music pretty much as good American rock.

And to choose up some competition gadgets, there can be distributors and a few meals gadgets out there.

“If we have got 25 or 50 folks hanging out at Chia all evening, nice,” Simon mentioned of his prediction for the evening. “And if it seems that there are a couple of hundred individuals who need to bear in mind the competition, that is nice too.”

Tickets are $15 upfront and can be found at, or $20 on the day of the present. Doorways open at 6:30pm and all ages can attend.

Shea Theater launches ‘Foyeur Enjoyment’ live performance collection

Additionally going down on the Shea Theatre, on Friday, January 27, would be the launch of the Lobby Enjoyment Live performance Sequence, which is able to showcase up-and-coming expertise within the theatre’s lobby. Oppel, a band from Springfield, is the primary band for this new collection, and so they say their sound consists of “sharp bass, advanced percussion, darkish melodic keyboards, and intense electrical guitar leads.”

“A part of the problem with working Shea is that it needs to be useful to open. So internet hosting small exhibits within the foyer is a solution to benefit from the constructing on nights if you don’t count on a couple of hundred folks to indicate up,” Phil Simon mentioned of the collection. The development is going on everywhere in the nation — even the Kennedy Middle is doing.”

These small exhibits enable the theater to function with out attracting the complete employees (lighting, sound, and so on.) that they want when acting on the primary stage.

As Simon mentioned, it permits groups to “expertise one thing”, whereas the group can uncover new expertise in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. All performances can be acoustic or use a small sound system and are anticipated to draw 25 to 50 folks.

The present is at 7pm, all ages welcome, entry is pay what you need. Nobody can be denied as a result of lack of funds.

Cheryl Hunter is a contract author based mostly in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in quite a few regional and nationwide publications. They are often reached at [email protected]

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