Last year, I missed the Martha’s Vineyard Sound – Indie Music Festival, but am determined to not make the same mistake again.
So, I thought it would be a good idea to meet with the music festival’s producer, Phil DaRosa to find out more about this event that’s full of local and national musical guests.
The Scottish Bakehouse was the perfect spot to get together with this fabulous Island guy.
Phil, a musician himself, is really tied into the music scene on the Island and regionally. This makes things a little easier when trying to get so many musicians together for something like this.
Why create Martha’s Vineyard Sound? Well, in the 70’s and 80’s, Martha’s Vineyard was where any big band touring in the Northeast would sail over and play.
The Hot Tin Roof was more than hot. Bands backed the place, enjoying the intimate venue and the connection with concert goers.
Martha’s Vineyard has lost that, and Phil wants to help bring it back. The bands in the festival have been selected by Phil.
The local bands are an obvious choice, we love our music, but the ones that are more national and regional are ones that gave Phil goosebumps when he heard them. Those goosebumps are a good indicator of the potential success of the musicians.
Also, if you were wondering about the “Indie” part of the festival, that does not mean it’s all Indie rock – it means that the artists are independent, not signed with a major label (yet). There’s an extensive range of music at the festival.
In its second year, the festival has more than doubled in size. The event, which is held at Waban Park, is now two days long, Saturday and Sunday July 11th and 12th. The park is such an amazing location. There’s parking, it’s huge and the ocean is your backdrop.
Some of the off-Island acts that are coming ashore for Martha’s Vineyard Sound include some acts that are on the cusp of stardom in the music world, such as the Ryan Montbleau Band, which just came off a European tour. There’s also an Island favorite – Crooked Coast joining the line-up.
A couple bands may be new to you. Names to be on the lookout for include Dana Williams, who is the daughter of Michael Jackson’s guitar player. Phil says her voice will blow you away. It’s a modern interpretation of a cross between Etta James and Billy Holiday. She’s on the stage on Saturday at 1:10 p.m.
There is Dwight & Nicole who have opened for the phenomenal Nora Jones. Their style spans the genres – pop/folk/blues – you can’t label these two, and for good reason. Dwight & Nicole take the stage at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.
If you like reggae, then you can’t miss Kenyatta Hill. He is great solo artists but also sings with the well-known reggae band Culture. His father was the lead singer, and when he passed, Kenyatta stepped in.
Since my trip to Jamaica, I have a whole new love and appreciation for this style of music. Kenyatta Hill is on stage at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.
In addition to all the great music, let’s not forget to mention that this is a festival. You get wristbands and can re-enter if you need a beach break or to get more friends.
You can buy food at the festival. Flatbread, Right Fork Diner, Blissed Out, and Paul Lazes the Pickle Guy, will be there serving up food to buy. You can also bring a picnic with you. Grab a blanket and a cooler, find the perfect spot, and make a day of it.
There’s also beer and wine, and juices to buy, and free water from Island Source (you have to bring your own bottle though). No outside beverages are allowed. If you went to last year’s, you’ll be happy to know that you are not restricted to drinking in the beer tent now.
There will be a number of local artists there selling their handmade treasures, like Hawkhouse. You can get a henna tattoo from Maple Mehendi, buy local art work, and so much more. Remember to bring cash to shop all you like.
Tickets are $35.00 each day or $60.00 for the whole festival. You can also get an all access pass for the weekend for $150.00 which gives you all access and a great swag bag from Kelsey Berry Event Company which Phil promises is sure to make you happy.
Tickets are available at Martha’s Vineyard Sound. However, you can get them in person too, and do a little good for the community. Buy tickets at The Green Room and $5 goes to the Martha’s Vineyard Skatepark, get them in Chilmark at The Yard and $5 goes to support their dance programs, and $5 from each ticket will go back to Island Grown when you buy tickets at Thimble Farm. Tickets available at One Hot Yoga too.
If you want to keep the music going after Martha’s Vineyard Sound each night, stop by the Ritz and the Lampost, those are the festival’s satellite venues.
Also, thanks to Shannon Rynd-Ray Photography for some of the great pics of last year’s event!