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HomeLife In the BerkshiresBerkshire Busk! ignites...

Berkshire Busk! ignites summer fun for the third season in downtown Great Barrington

Experience live music, dance, acrobatics, and more every Friday and Saturday night from July 4 to Labor Day weekends.

Great Barrington — The vibrant Berkshire Busk! downtown music and arts festival is back to light up the streets of Great Barrington for its third season. The festival will feature lively celebrations of music, dance, acrobatics, and more every Friday and Saturday night starting at 6:30 p.m. from Friday, June 30 (July 4 Weekend) through Saturday, September 2 (Labor Day Weekend). New this season, the festival will introduce a series of thematically organized nights, bolstered by partnerships with Jacob’s Pillow, as part of the Pillow’s free “On the Road” performance series, and Berkshire Pride.

The immersive arts festival has programmed about 100 unique “busker” performers/groups across the 10-weekend festival, performing at various outdoor street locations. A full line-up and background information on the performers can be viewed on the festival website.

After a resounding success last summer, the Berkshire Busk! Night Market will return on Saturday evenings on Railroad Street, featuring handcrafted goods from local vendors and an array of indoor and outdoor downtown dining options.

Additionally, Berkshire Busk! performers will be at the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, while balloon artists, face painters, and other kid-friendly performers will entertain at Robin’s Candy on Saturday afternoons. Berkshire Busk! Roadside will also continue this year, where performers will entertain at the Berkshire Mountain Distillery from 2 to 4 p.m.

“Returning for its third year, the Berkshire Busk! festival has rapidly become a cherished annual tradition for locals, and a must-visit cultural experience for visitors to the Berkshires,” says Berkshire Busk! founder and Director Gene Carr. “The festival operates on a busking format, meaning performers rely on the generous tips of those who attend. It presents a fantastic opportunity for local performers to showcase their talents and for adults, children, and families to unite in a festive atmosphere.”

The festival receives generous support from over 30 business and local sponsors, as well as the town of Great Barrington, the Downtown Cultural District, and the Mass Cultural Council. Additionally, James Taylor donated two signed guitars, which were auctioned by CharityBuzz to support the project. The festival’s Gold Sponsors, which include Warrior Trading, The Pass, Adams Community Bank, and Iredale Cosmetics, provide foundational support. A comprehensive list of supporters can be viewed on the Berkshire Busk! website here.

“Berkshire Busk! has been a transformative addition to our downtown during the summer, significantly aiding the district’s recovery from the pandemic,” says Great Barrington Town Manager Mark Pruhenski. “This year, we’re once again closing Railroad Street to all traffic on Friday and Saturday nights, fostering a unique community experience in our downtown area.”

Festival highlights:

Saturday Morning Farmers’ Market Partnership: Berkshire Busk! has partnered with the Great Barrington Farmers’ market and has programmed musicians to play from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Railroad Street “Saturday Nights”: On 10 successive Saturday nights from July 1 through September 2:

  • Location: Railroad Street will be transformed into a walking zone “town square.”
  • Outdoor Performances and Dining: The town’s outdoor dining program will be enhanced by two “main stage” locations for performances at the top and bottom of Railroad Street
  • Night Market: An array of vendor booths selling locally made goods will be on-site. All local stores and independent vendors are now being invited to participate.

WSBS Live Coverage: On July 8, WSBS will bring up its mobile broadcast station to Railroad Street and will broadcast live performances and interview buskers.

Theme Nights: Berkshire Busk! has partnered with a number of local organizations to bring all-new theme nights to a handful of our Saturdays:

  • July 1 — School’s Out at Berkshire Busk! – featuring an array of teen-talent
  • July 14 — Dance Night! – in partnership with Jacob’s Pillow
  • July 15 — Pride Night at Berkshire Busk! – in partnership with Berkshire Pride
  • September 2 — Last Night at the Circus – featuring Cate Great!

Berkshire Busk! Roadside: In partnership with Berkshire Mountain Distillers (located a 10 minute drive from downtown Great Barrington), musicians will perform at the distillery on Saturday afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m. There will be free complimentary tasting flights of their spirits as well as an outdoor bar featuring cocktails for purchase, for those 21 and over.

The festival schedule—along with names, dates, and locations of performances—can be found at Berkshire Busk!’s website. Though the programming has largely been set, last minute applications are still open for performers to participate in the festival. All performers will be provided a stipend for their participation. Solicitation for tips is also encouraged.

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