Eugene Carr, Festival Director
I’m delighted to welcome you to our festival, Berkshire Busk! and to our “Busk! Blog”. We’ll be updating this blog regularly during the summer with news from the event, and if you want to also stay informed you can sign up for our newsletter below.
As the festival founder/director, I have been working on this project for just under a year and we’re all so excited to be only weeks away from welcoming you to our wonderful town of Great Barrington, MA.
By way of introduction, Berkshire Busk! is a 10-weekend summer event in Great Barrington, MA, where street performers (buskers) will perform in designated areas in the early evenings of Friday and Saturday during the months of July and August. The locations span from one end of downtown to the other, creating a "cultural journey." We will have over 200 buskers this summer, - diverse in age, race, skill, and genre -- with all types of music, jazz, blues, country, folk, rock and new artists, as well as dancers, actors, acrobats, mimes and other surprises!
Aside from creating a new and exciting type of community engagement, the project is all about economic development. We are trying to help ensure a sufficient number of customers for the local restaurants and stores to help them recover from the pandemic, and we’re hoping to create a new kind of community spirit by sharing some of the local talent with you.
We’ve had over 120 applicants and 75% of the buskers are from Massachusetts, 15% are from New York State, and the rest are from further afield, including Florida and Texas!
Berkshire Busk! is happening thanks to the support of over thirty local sponsors as well as the Town of Great Barrington. Our “Gold” sponsors have led the way: Calyx Berkshire Dispensary, Iredale Cosmetics, Warrior Trading, Depart Wine and Berkshire Money Management. You can see our full list of sponsors here. We also have a wonderful team of advisors and staff working for the festival, and I hope you'll take a look at their backgrounds here.
We’ve had a good deal of press interest recently and you can read an article that appeared in the Berkshire Edge here. Also, I did an hour-long interview with Alan Chartok on WAMC which will air at 1:00 PM on Thursday June 17th, on all of the WAMC related stations. I hope you’ll be able to listen in.
We’ll have an active social media presence and you can follow us here as well:
Busking happens all over the world. It’s a bit less well developed here in the United States, but the essence of busking is that performers on the street are playing for tips. In our case, we’re kickstarting that by paying each busker group a stipend of $75, AND, they are counting on tips from you, the public, to make the event worthwhile for them financially as well as musically. So I hope you’ll feel generous!
Let the busking begin!