Spring for Sound in Millerton
Reprinted with permission from Rural Intelligence.
Pop music lovers: grab a lawn chair, put on your dancing shoes, and head to Millerton on Saturday, June 16, when 19 musical acts are set to hit the stage for Spring for Sound, a rocking fundraiser to benefit the North East Community Center (NECC). This is the second year for the event, which showcases local bands as well as food and beverages from local businesses, including the Oakhurst Diner, Harney Teas and Juices, and Irving Farm Coffee. Millerton’s Little Gates & Co. will provide the wine.
This one-day music festival began its life as part of Fall for Art, the annual event that transforms Millerton into a townwide gallery opening and cocktail party. The music acts originally were part of a small after-party for the main festival, which features the work of local artists in galleries and less traditional spaces, such as restaurants and salons. “We had only three or four bands lined up, maybe around 60 people in attendance,” recounts Mimi Harney, a board member of NECC who organized Spring for Sound with fellow board member Kristen Panzer. “It was small, and we didn’t raise any money at all, but the energy was great, and we knew we could make it bigger and better the next time around.”
With that in mind, Harney (in photo, right) began to develop Spring for Sound as a stand-alone local music festival, which came to fruition on a soggy day last June, in a makeshift performance space behind the community center, “We had an amazing turnout, I believe about 200 people or more,” Harney recalls. Persistent rain did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm: “We got tents and tarps up, and according to most it turned out to be one of the most fun events in Millerton.”
Thanks to last year’s strong attendance, this year a second stage has been added, at the Gazebo on Railroad Street, where the town’s farmers’ market sets up every Saturday morning. Says Harney, “We knew it was a success when we had more bands approaching us and asking to get on next year’s bill. We have such an incredible amount of talented musicians in our area. It’s an honor to have them come and be a part of our event.”Two of Millerton’s most popular bands, The Nice Ones and The Kyles (with Harney on bass and co-organizer Panzer on drums) made their debuts the previous year. Nice Ones guitarist Pat Surdan says the event was a springboard for his band: “It was the first time we played and we went on last, there was a really great energy in the crowd. It’s a good feeling all day – all different genres from bluegrass to metal to singer/songwriter stuff to reggae.” Millerton resident Alex Harney, guitarist of Paper Scissors Rock, is looking forward to playing again at Spring for Sound. “It was really great to perform for the first time in front of friends, family, and neighbors. It was probably one of the best nights of the summer.”
Supporting local bands and the community center, as well as bringing new people into the town, are not the only benefits of the concert. “The thing about Millerton is if you’re a parent with a small child or an older adult there are things to do around here,” says Jenny Hansell, executive director of NECC. “There didn’t seem to be something for 22, 25-year-olds… to fill that gap.” With musical acts of all different genres and food made to order on site, Spring for Sound satisfies the 20-something niche, but also appeals to all ages.