GREENFIELD — “Happy Green River Festival weekend,” said Colorway frontman Alex Johnson to a crowd of hundreds gathered in the Energy Park Thursday evening for The Progress Partnership’s Pre-Fest Fest music event.
“We came last year (to the Green River Festival). I didn’t know about this. My brother and I had a phenomenal time, so we’re back again this year,” said Watertown resident Gerry Field, who came from the Green River Festival’s camp grounds to catch local tunes. “This is the first stop of a summer of music!”
Crisp and smooth guitar notes cut into an overcast evening, which couldn’t dampen spirits. Throughout the park, parents talked as children played, friends sipped local brews beneath a beer tent, others browsed vendor tents, and hundreds sat back to enjoy the music. The musical lineup included local bands Colorway, Trailer Park, and The Fawns.
“This is the first year doing this event. Historically, the Green River Festival used to do a ‘pre-fest fest,’” said organizer Sara Kanabay, president of the nonprofit Progressive Partnership.
About a decade ago, however, the Green River Festival became too big, and couldn’t put on a precursor event. Maureen Pollock, assistant planner for the Town of Greenfield who helped put on Thursday’s event, noted the town aimed bring in revenue for local businesses.
Despite the gloomy forecast, rain held off and this year’s Pre-Fest Fest restart was a success — enticing both those who came to see the weekend festival and locals.
“I think it’s terrific. A great community event,” said Greenfield resident Chantal Dupuis. “It’s very smart, good for the town.”
Food vendors included Hope and Olive, Mesa Verde, Magpie Woodfired Pizzeria, The Brass Buckle and Bart’s Ice Cream. Beers were supplied by The People’s Pint, Lefty’s Brewing Company, Honest Weight Artisan Beer; Brick & Feather Brewery and Artisan Beverage Cooperative.
“We’ve had a great turnout, and awesome food and beer,” Kanabay said, noting about 20 local vendors total and about a half-dozen sponsors from the community. She estimated more that 300 people attended, some, like Field, traveling via a free bus directly from the weekend festival’s camp sites at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.
And looking ahead, Kanabay said, the event is here to stay, hopefully getting “bigger and better.”
For the 31st time, the Green River Festival will kick off Friday and be held through Sunday at Greenfield Community College on 1 College Drive in Greenfield.
For more information about camping and tickets, visit: greenriverfestival.com
You can reach Andy Castillo
or 413-772-0261, ext. 263
On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo