June shows, Michael Tarbox, some cool goings on in Peterborough, and a talk about vegetables and music.
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June Newsletter

The Keene Music Festival's
June Newsletter

Creating Community Through Music

Hello Music Lovers,
Here's the next edition of our monthly set of announcements. We will not only keep you guys updated on our upcoming Keene Music Festival, Sumner Knight Chapel Series, our summer concerts, and other shows we're involved with, but also showcase local artists, venues, and more! 

Director's Blog

Well, it’s June.  The trees have bloomed, and the black flies are a’ feastin’.  We are entering the summer season.  We here at Keene Music Festival have been very busy with lots of warm weather projects.  We are once again working with Little Zoe’s Pizza to bring live, original music to their Friday night festival of slices.  We are also putting together another series of shows at Robin Hood Park, as well as our ongoing series at the Sumner Knight Chapel.  Along the way, we are also putting together our annual Keene Music Festival; which this year has had over 3000 submissions!  Needless to say, we are busy little bunnies; and we do it all for you….
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been putting in a garden at our house. Nothing big, tomatoes, basil, peas, herbs and lettuce; along with our strawberry and asparagus patch.   It’s an annual exercise, as is going to Farmer’s Market every Saturday for me.  As the years go by, I’ve come to more and more appreciate the idea of fresh, local food.  It may require a little more effort and expense, but it pays off in quality.  So what, you may ask yourself, does this have to do with music?  Well, let me explain.
Just like we need a good diet to be healthy in body, we need a good diet of music and the arts to be healthy in soul. We need variety, and we need things to be pure and fresh.  Maybe not all of the time, but the cleaner the diet is overall the better we function.  The challenge is that we live in a time during which there is pressure for us to value convenience over quality.  There are a lot of easy foods out there that please the mouth, but are questionable for the body.  With the food business being a business, there’s an incentive to go for the inexpensive and the easy, rather than what is healthy and balanced.  We see the results of this in the increase in obesity and health issues that result from an over processed and business driven diet.
In the same way that we do best when we limit our processed foods, we also seem to do better when we limit our pre-processed arts.   Entertainment is big business, and everyone if vying for your attention and your money.  In the same way we all need to think about how and what we eat, we also need to think about our entertainment/artistic diet.  Are we getting a wide variety?  Are we trying new things to see if we might like them?  Are we limiting our intake of pre-processed products from the entertainment corporations; and try to get a good sum of local, homegrown music and art in our diet?  Much of what comes pre-packaged from corporate media is designed to meet demographic and sales research.  That’s what corporations are generally all about; making money.  There’s a difference in the taste of a garden grown, versus hothouse, tomato.  There is also a big difference in the taste of prepackaged versus local music and art.  It is always worth the effort to seek out the local whenever you can.
Along with this, it’s important to try to change things up for yourself.  Get into the habit of going out to local establishments for entertainment; rather than staying home all of the time.  If you are in the habit of going out, then stretch yourself by going to a place you don’t usually go, or taking in a concert or show that ‘s a style of music you are not familiar with.  If you’re a jazz fan, go take in a bluegrass or metal show.  If you’re a metal fan, go listen to some great acoustic music.   Learn about the local bands and go out and listen.  Listen for the art and enthusiasm.  Listen to things that both tickle and challenge you to expand your artistic senses.  Go for the full spectrum; the refined and the fundamental.  They all have something to offer.  We would love it if you came to all of our shows.  The more important thing, though, is that you go out and sample all of the musical talent our community has to offer.
In our work at Keene Music Festival, we spend a lot of time trying to find quality acts that represent all styles of music.   We have, over time, developed an ear for quality; which drives how we decide on acts for our events.  The how of that is something for another time.  The point is that this is a skill that can be developed by anyone willing to be open to the experience.  In the same way that we benefit from fresh, local food, we benefit from fresh, local music.  So please do what you can to make sure that you are getting your daily minimum of local art.  It’s good for the soul in the same way local food is good for the body.  And don’t forget to brush too….

Yours in the Music,

Kevin Dremel
For the
Keene Music Festival

Saturday June 7th
Sumner Knight Series: Michael Tarbox with Sarah Yzkanin

The Keene Music Festival in collaboration with Keene Parks and Rec and Southwestern Community Services presents a show at the Sumner Knight Chapel in the Woodland NED Cemetery to help raise money to renovate the chapel. This amazing little venue has no amplification or sound equipment used in during the show, just music just as it's always meant to be.

A smokey-voiced singer from Boston with a sound that combines Appalachian music, blues and gospel in exciting, unexpected combinations. An innovative guitarist, his playing revisits American musical traditions in a unique voice. Tarbox is also a songwriter, with a spare, lyrical style that reflects and expands on his influences. His work with his band, The Tarbox Ramblers, has been praised by All Things Considered, The New Yorker and many more. He recently released his second solo album, Works and Days.

Critically acclaimed professional vocalist, Sarah has played hundreds of shows throughout Pennsylvania. She has opened for several national acts including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer of the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd, Artimus Pyle, Rebbie Jackson, The Winstons, Sheryl Felton, the Temptations, and Marshall Tucker, and has done studio vocals for a number of regional artists. Sarah co-founded the award-winning original blues/rock band, Dealer in Wares, at the age of 16. She served as its front woman, harpist (harmonica player) and manager for four years. Sarah plays guitar, bass, harmonica, piano and tribal percussion.

Admission by donation (around $12 or so). All profits go towards renovation and preservation of the Sumner-Knight Chapel. This is a family friendly event!  You can also get a discount by bringing a canned good to donate to the local food pantry ($1 per can for up to three cans; though you can pay it forward for someone else).

Located at 0 Chapel Drive Keene, NH

KMF Season Ticket Premium:

By making a nice donation to the Keene Music Festival, you can get the gift of a Season Ticket to Keene Music Festival events.  It's a great way to support our work, local and regional artists, and get to see some great music.

Your Season Ticket allows you to go to ANY show at the venue it is issued for.

The Super Duper Season Ticket gets you admission to ANY show at ANY Keene Music Festival event or venue.

Season Tickets are good for one year from the date they are issued, and are not transferrable.  Well, maybe not a lot that is; we try to be reasonable....  As long as they pretend to be you, that is....

You can get your Season Ticket here.
This month, we focus on some cool stuff out of 
Thing in the Spring
As the earth turns green and the sun brings warmer temperatures, outdoor events of all kinds come to the Monadnock region.  Kicking off the season of music and art is The Thing in The Spring in downtown Peterborough.

What began as a concept between three friends is now a four day event bringing music of all genres to this region since 2008. Ryan Wilson and Eric Gagne worked together at the Toadstool Bookshop and started designing posters in the styles of Art Deco and the Fillmore concerts.  “We liked the Fillmore shows where they would put different genres of music together and we thought, ‘Why not create a show where there was diverse music and a DIY effort?’  Our emphasis was not about making money, but the pure experience and joy of making your life the way you want it to be.” At the same time Ryan and Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne were talking about holding an affordable arts show. *broke was created – an art show featuring a variety of media where all pieces are sold for under $50, held during the Thing in the Spring as well as late fall.

The goal of The Thing in the Spring is to bring fresh music to the region that festival goers have probably not heard before except on free form or college radio stations.  “We want to challenge people’s notion of music,” said Eric.  “The music is not your top forty covers or easy listening. We want to bring new sounds without going too extreme in any one direction.  While we like it when people come out scratching their heads, we want people to feel like they can ask questions, that they can engage with us.” A great majority of the musicians are coming to the Monadnock region for the first time, while some, like Bunny’s a Swine, Mail the Horse, and Dredd Foole (Dan Ireton) have been part of The Thing numerous times. 

Over the course of the festival there are five featured shows, free performances around town (mostly before or after the main shows), late night music at Harlow’s Pub, and DJ’s at Waterhouse Restaurant. In addition to music and the art show, the schedule includes readings and showings of classic films.  

Admission to the performances is very reasonable; if you buy your tickets in advance, the priciest show is $15!  You can also buy a pass to all five shows for $50. For more details about the schedule and the performers, go to

Eric Gagne:  Passerine,
Death to Tyrants,
Dwellers on the Treshhold

Eric Gagne has been making music since he was 14. 
Twenty years later, he continues to write, record, and tour –as well as book shows, organize The Thing in the Spring (see accompanying article) and run the music department at the Peterborough Toadstool Bookshop. 

This spring season has kept Eric very busy. He solos as Passerine, which grew out of his project Redwing Blackbird, a duo with friend Austin Wright, and occasionally other musicians.  “Passerine refers to the order of perching songbirds,” Eric explained.  “When Austin needed to downshift I wanted to do a project by myself that was related to Redwing Blackbird”.  He just finished a tour as Passerine and has two releases: The Procession, released late in 2012 and 50, just released in April. Both can be downloaded from Bandcamp, and they are also available on cassette.  

Eric talked about his work with two other bands. “Death to Tyrants is an instrumental / experimental band.  We toured in May and are recording a new release.”  You can find their other albums on Bandcamp.  “Dweller on the Threshold is members of Death to Tyrants, Ampere, Daniel Striped Tiger and other hardcore bands I used to tour with. We don’t tour, we record LP’s.  We all live in different parts of the New England area so we can’t have regular band practice. Every few months we get together and when we have enough songs we send it off to get mixed and we have a new record.  We are working on our third recording.” 

Eric feels his music is influenced by living in the Monadnock region and he is happy to call Peterborough his home. “I like living here.  This is one of the reasons why I do The Thing in the Spring– I don’t want to live in a city. I like the idea of bringing this music here.”

Links to Passerine:,

Link to Dweller on the Threshold:

Link to Death to Tyrants

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