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Crossing the River Crush: 1st Annual JP Music Festival! (UPDATED)

August 19, 2011

If music is your food, you are in for a tasty FREE sampler as Jamaica Plain dishes out its 1st Annual JP Music Festival on Saturday! Two stages will rotate every 15-20 minutes, showcasing a lineup of diverse bands from the greater Boston area, with each act required to include at least one locally grown, Jamaica Plain residing talent. It’s sure to be a spiced up show of all styles, including Afro-beat, Americana, Blues, Cuban Jazz, Folk, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, Pop, Rock & Roll, and Salsa.

Organizers to the event include Rick Berlin, acclaimed songwriter and musician making music since the 1970s, Randace Moore, Executive Director of JP Centre/South Main Streets, and Shamus Moynihan, local promoter and booking agent. They’re a hardworking, committed bunch; the team has already produced several successful fundraisers at local restaurants and businesses (including James’s Gate, The Haven, Midway Café, and The Video Underground).  Financial support continues through Kickstarter and PayPal , and if you have never before experienced the fruits of a community effort, now is the time!

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Rick BerlinI recently connected with organizer and musician, Rick Berlin, to give you an insider’s view of the upcoming JPMF:

BBC: What was the inspiration behind JPMF?
RB: The short of it: The astonishing fact that there wasn’t one already. Especially considering the large community of talented musicians that live here in JP. We wanted to do something to celebrate and acknowledge that, beyond the few clubs that have live music, and beyond the thriving basement scene.

BBC: As this will be the first annual JPMF, what kinds of challenges did you meet along the way?
RB: First off I’d say what did NOT challenge us was the committee itself. Each of us bringing to the table ideas, criticisms, expertise, creativity, guts. What one of us knew nothing about, another did. This gave us tremendous resilience as time went on. Because, especially in the process of securing our permit and location, we were faced with (especially since none of us had ever done anything like this before) an ongoing back-and-forth with the city bureaucracy. In any large city when you try for something like this there are 10,000 hoops to jump through. Some you anticipate. Many you don’t. They are there for good reason. We needed to have a sharp plan in place and make corrections when necessary. All of us, especially as artists and musicians ourselves, are used to making one or two phone calls, one or two emails and ‘snap!’ a show comes together, bands are on board, a venue is located. Done deal. Outdoors at Jamaica Pond presented a whole new reality. That said, the people we worked with at City Hall were tough on us, but honest and ultimately helpful. (Plus we had a lot of great advice from friends who’ve done things like this before.)

The second major challenge is raising money. Our projected expenses seemed at first insurmountable. But we were lucky to have had so many close friends who came to the first events we put on (The Gate, The Haven, Video Underground, The Midway (twice), Doyle’s) and who paid for raffle tickets, and sponsored beer (Narragansett), and upon who’s shoulders we were able to carry this idea through the trenches. Sponsorships are now coming in [current list here] and we are hopeful we’ll have the money we need to do this right. I should add that without the intrepid, tireless Randace Rauscher Moore we’d still be in the fundraising weeds. Also, because none of us working on the event, and no one performing that day, is getting paid, it makes the overall financial goal reachable.

The third challenge is in choosing the bands. We have 20-24 slots available in the time allowed. Over 100 bands applied. Having to consider genre, ethnicity, gender in order to create as inclusive and as varied a roster as possible (hey, it’s JP after all), is not easy. And we have further to go. Thankfully everyone’s been great and understanding, and for those unable to be included this year, we’ll have the next year to look forward to.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/track=2614408444/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/

BBC: After taking a look at your blog, it’s evident you have a strong team working on the festival. What advice can you give others as it relates to choosing team players for this kind of project?
RB: Mainly it has been the fact that for the most part we were friends before we started. What was essential were the areas needed to be covered. Fundraising/City Hall Connections – Randace Rauscher Moore. Business plan, 501C3 – Ferris Mueller. Art design – Margie Nicoll. Logo/ Web Design – Justin McCarthy. Lately we’ve added Matt Noeth and Allie Cunningham to cover many complicated areas we don’t have time for. And lastly, in PR/Marketing, we are fortunate to have added to the work Patricia Sheehan was already doing, the phenomenal Charles McEnerney. Shamus Moynihan and I have the tough task of choosing the bands.

Of course all of us work on all of this in all areas all the time.

BBC: JP has such a vibrant scene of its own, which is so great for the community. Have you considered the idea that JP may be isolating itself from the rest of the scene? What steps have you taken to attract people from outside of JP?
RB: Great question. It’s the old ‘who needs to cross the river’ syndrome. I don’t think we’re isolated, although there is a definite sense of JP pride. Many of the bands playing as well as the ones we’re still considering perform all over town. Music is not isolating. Music crosses all rivers. The JP Music Festival, with sufficient hoped-for publicity, and after this year’s success especially, expects to draw fans and friends from everywhere in the city. This ain’t no private party.

BBC: Over 100 artists applied to perform at the festival. What were some determining factors in choosing performers?
RB: As I said earlier: genre variety, ethnicity, gender. We want it to be a show that never lags, with music that hits the heart of everyone in the crowd.

There have been talks of an after-party. Please share the details!
RB: This is a new concern. We’re now calling it a Staff Party (at the Midway Cafe). We’ll have bands who didn’t play at the Pond, play here. What we overlooked was the fact that there are so many musicians performing (in both places) that they, plus their friends, we will most likely fill the Midway to capacity. (Spill-over welcome of course at Doyles next door.) In other words: the guest list is going to be lengthy!

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Updated: Here’s the current lineup (note the additon of the Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano, who’s sister is a JP resident):
Main Stage

Opening Ceremony 1:00
The Model Planes 1:25
Sweatshop 1:50
Brief Awakening 2:20
The Nickel & Dime Band W/ Rick Berlin 2:50
Gordon Gano of The Violent Femmes + Mercy Seat W/ The Nickel & Dime Band 3:10
The Old Edison 3:45
Needy Visions 4:15
Tallahassee 4:50
So Sol 5:25
The Delta Swingers 6
The Angelic Slugs 6:25
Closing Ceremony 6.55

Second Stage
Shepardess 1:05
Deta Galloway 1:20
Heather Foxwell & Friends 1:40
The Chris North Dream Quartet 2:05
Lenny Lashley 2:35
James Merenda & Ticklejuice 3:30
Molly & Tess Pope 4
Malicious Intent 4:05
Timinandi 4:35
Mr Sister 5:10
Coyote Kolb 5:40
Aug 20 / 1-7pm / All Ages / FREE!

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