Cambridge Music Festival set for July 21 at Boyden


Kim Martin Photography

Dancers boogie during last year’s Cambridge Music Festival

Last May, something besides coffee was brewing at the Mix Café in Jeffersonville. Justin Marsh was chatting with a regular customer on the back deck about their mutual love for Grace Potter. Potter’s “Grand Point North Tour” had just been announced, and they were lamenting the fact that there was no music festival in Cambridge. The customer turned to Marsh and said, “Why don’t you do a music festival?”

“Hmm, why don’t I do a music festival,” Marsh thought. 2010 JSC alum Marsh went home and within three days had built a website, designed a logo, and created a Facebook page. Because it was already May, things needed to progress quickly. By the end of the month, the first Cambridge Music Festival had a locale, the Barn at Boyden Farm, and the bands were booked.

Early on in the planning stages, Marsh decided to make the event a benefit, and what better beneficiary than Cambridge 360, a non-profit organization Marsh had been involved in since its inception. The goal of the organization is a community center for the greater Cambridge area. “It’s something that I cherish,” he said.

Marsh, who received his B.A. in Business Management with a concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management, put all his energy into helping Cambridge 360 with their movement. He had volunteered for 360 every Friday since December 2010, and about a month prior to the festival, Marsh joined the board of directors for the non-profit.

“This year Cambridge Music Festival will be marketed as a 360 event, and will probably be for as long as Cambridge 360 is in existence and doing what they are doing,” said Marsh.

Cambridge 360 started in the summer of 2010, when Jack Corse donated his property, which used to be a gas station, in Cambridge Village. He donated that space to 360 to use as a storefront to sell home goods in order to raise money for a community center. In December 2010, the store on South Main St. opened and so it went.

Marsh worked there the first week they were open, and worked consistently every Friday as a volunteer at the store until he got underway with the music festival. Their goal is to raise enough money or be given a space for a community center to serve the greater Cambridge Area. To avoid any confusion, they are not directly involved with the purchase of the Bell-Gates land at the corner of Routes 15 and 108s in Jeffersonville, but they are in support of the purchase of the land to be used as green space.

360 needs a home base so that they can host things year round as a community center. Because of all the flooding issues, people in Jeffersonville are not inclined to want a new structure built that might adversely affect the flood plain.

For that reason, 360 probably won’t build anything. “We will probably hope and wait for something to be donated to us. Even if that be someone who passed and didn’t have any heirs and they decided to donate to the cause,” said Marsh.

The second annual Cambridge Music Festival will be set up the same as last year, but will be a little more organized. “There’s a learning curve to putting on an event, and there are things you learn and take from the first one and apply it to the second one,” said Marsh. “Last year was a Sunday night in August, and this year it’s going to be a Saturday night in July.”

Marsh notes that last July the weather was fabulous, and he’s really hoping for the same sort of thing. “Last year it rained and we had thunderstorms,” said Marsh. “It was the week before Irene and there were a lot of things coming up from the south. It was a scary, scary lightening storm. It was memorable to a lot a people.”

Ten bands played last year, and this year there will be 11. The Aerolites as headliners will be closing out the show. Also performing are Wolfman’s Conspiracy, Casio Bastard, Citizen Bare, Starline Rhythm Boys, Big Spike Bluegrass, The Michelle Fay Band, and a little duo from the Northeast Kingdom, Sharon and Kim. Sarah Wallis of Northfield will be the only returning artist.

Marsh intends to keep Cambridge Music Festival fresh. “One of my goals is to not have very many repeats at all. So next year maybe I’ll just have one or two people from the last two years of festivals. I want to keep it exciting.”

Last year, the festival ran from 10 a.m. to midnight. This year it will run from noon – midnight, as people can probably stay out later on a Saturday. This year, Marsh is hoping to have a few more vendors.

Last year, they had a couple jewelers, a potter, two or three produce vendors, and Slowfire Bakery. He’s hoping for them all to come back, and wants to add new vendors as well. “I want to create more of a festival feel by having a whole line of vendors,” said Marsh. “I had people that were going to face paint and do hair wraps, but the weather put a damper on the kid’s events. Being more organized in my vending is something I’m trying to accomplish.”

There should be the same amount of food vendors as last year. Hot Tamale and Sunrise Cafe are coming back, and he will be trying to get Burger Barn back as well. “It was fun to have those three [food vendors] that are so prominent in our community,” said Marsh.

Last year, the Hearth and Candle from Smuggler’s Notch provided a cash bar, providing mixed drinks and draught beer.

They made some absolutely delicious drinks. They premixed everything and they had them in giant containers. Marsh is hoping they will do that again. They also had a couple kegs. “We sold out of alcohol, so by the end of the night everyone was having a great time.” said Marsh.

“I’m also trying to market it as a child friendly event,” said Marsh. “You’re encouraged to bring your children. Don’t feel like, ‘I have kids, I need to get a sitter.’ Maybe get a sitter for later in the night. Leave and come back.”

The second annual Cambridge Music Festival will not have paper tickets. They will be using buttons. There will be no hand-stamps for re-entry. All you need is your button. Hopefully mid-May, buttons will be available at local Cambridge/Jeffersonville businesses such as Essence Salon and Day Spa, The Farm Store, Cambridge 360, Sunrise Café, and in Johnson as well.

Another way to purchase a button is to go on CMF’s website where you can donate through Paypal. Once you click to donate, you can write in the notes, “in exchange for a button,” along with your address, and you will receive your button in the mail. Even if you can’t attend, a button is a great way to show your support for a community cause.

Last year, a huge raffle was held, and Marsh hopes to get as many donations, if not more than last year. Marsh was able to gather almost $5000 worth of donated goods.

“People made out like bandits,” said Marsh. “A couple of people bought $10 worth of raffle tickets and walked away with two prizes because there was so much to go around. The raffle is an awesome fundraising opportunity.”

This year’s festival will be held Saturday, July 21, at The Barn at Boyden Farm, starting at noon. See the website for additional details.