He had fond memories of attending the popular local event as a child. And Chicopee’s other festival of note, Fest of All, has decided to become an autumn event, leaving a noticeable void in the spring/summer entertainment calendar.
If you ask the man most directly responsible for resurrecting the festival that has laid dormant on the local landscape since 1997, he’ll tell you it’s all in the name.
“My name’s Tom Kielbania, so what do you expect?” the Kielbasa Festival organizer and Orange Crush percussionist laughs. “I’ve been called Tommy Kielbasa my whole life, so perhaps this is my destiny.”
Kielbania’s “K-Fest” will take over Chicopee’s Szot Park May 15-18. And in a surprise to exactly no one who has ever met the man, Kielbania has managed to combine some top-tier polka music and Valley rock/blues mainstays with the meat.
“I’m really excited for the Heart tribute band Crazy On You and the reunion of Wicked Garden Friday night,” he declares. “But yeah, we also have A Ray of Elvis, American Zeppelin, Trailer Trash—which by all accounts are presently the biggest draw in the Valley. Something for everyone, and after-fest parties at Maximum Capacity, too!”
“My mom would be so proud of her boy,” adds Alex Johnson of Colorway, slated to perform on the Kielbasa main stage Saturday night. “One of my fondest memories is being tall enough to watch the kielbasa we’d get from the local Fall River butcher simmering in a frying pan and picturing in my mind how much I’d be able to get away with eating without my mom getting mad. Luckily, we always had two on hand.”
While Kielbasa Fest would be shut down by a total downpour, Kielbania notes that light drizzle or a fog would prove all the more reason to come by.
“We have this crazy digital mapping system that would be intensified by weather like that and out of this world to see,” he explains.
For the complete listing of performances, ticket purchasing information and more, kindly point your brower to k-fest.com.
In other news, West Springfield’s Park & Recreation Department kicks off its 51st family concert series on Thursday, May 15 with the West Side Senior Showstopper in the Middle School auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The series continues throughout October with highlights including the Cicci Santucchi Jazz Ensemble at the Storrowton Village Green Gazebo June 19, the Pioneer Valley Concert Band at the Town Common July 4 and The Dave Colucci Show at Monastery Heights Aug. 14. All concerts are free and moved into the Middle School Auditorium in the event of inclement weather. For updates on series or weather related rescheduling, please call (413) 781-3020.
Last but not least, an all-star jam for a greatly missed man when the Tony Soul Project, the Taylor Brothers and Mission of Blues take to the Leominster Elks on Friday, May 16 to honor the memory of Fran Dagostino. The leader and namesake of the Fran Dagostino band passed away earlier this year at the age of 59. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Littleton Scholarship Inc. The suggested ticket donation price is $10.•
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