We knew that the powers that be were reverting back to the old name. Then we found out that they were getting a new logo. In fact, until recently, the only thing we didn’t know about Springfield’s Cityblock-turned-Bike Nite-back-to-Cityblock was who would be gracing the Stearns Square Stage this summer. But that’s all changed due to one long-awaited post at springfielddowntown.com by the sponsors of said annual event, The Springfield Business Improvement District.
“Basically, I was given little direction aside from two simple requests,” reports Steve Walbridge of the Get-A-Grip Productions, the outfit booking the bands this year. “They wanted me to make it about the music again — and as eclectic as possible.”
With jazz siren Jane Monheit kicking the downtown series off July 2 and the likes of Jon Butcher Axis (July 9) and zydeco accordion notable Dwayne Dopsie (July 30) along the way, Walbridge believes he has fulfilled his sonic charge.
“Some of the acts were just no-brainers based on personal experience,” he adds, citing New York natives Willie Nile (July 16) and Dana Fuchs (Aug. 20) as examples. “And then, of course, there is the curiosity associated with shows like Denny Laine [of Wings and Moody Blues notoriety, Aug. 6] and Cinderella’s Tom Keifer [July 23], too.”
All shows save the series closer — featuring Springfield rock heavyweights FAT Aug. 27 — will occur a Stearns Square (FAT will be at Court Square). All, without exception, are free and and begin at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, when it came to the task of selecting musical acts for Celebrate Holyoke 2015, veteran artist Ray Mason wasn’t exactly surprised he made the cut.
“I actually grew up in Lyman Terrace, which is pretty much across from where the event is taking place,” he notes. “And my grandmother bought my first guitar from the Sears which used to be on Dwight Street, which is pretty much exactly where Celebrate Holyoke will be.”
While the event itself doesn’t occur until Aug. 21, a fundraiser for it is slated for Thursday, June 4 at the Yankee Pedlar. Joining Mason solo on that bill are local notables The Corner Boys, The Knots, and The Franny O Show. Tix are $15 per person/$25 per couple in advance and available at mifafestival.org or $20 per person at the door.
Last but not least, local musician Joe Boyle checked in to report that, while not quite as high profile as say, Vedder’s or Hanks’ farewells, he did have a small part in a Letterman tribute recently as well.
“I performed on a piece Howard Stern was going to use for Dave,” Boyle explains. “The opportunity stems from my friendship with former Valley resident Stuart Getz. He helped put the tribute together and has had other Stern and crew specific songs placed on the show.”•
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