Audience members enjoy entertainment at the 2018 Oldtone Roots Music Festival. This year's festival will be held Sept. 5-8 at Cool Whisper Farm in Hillsdale, N.Y. Photo: Juris Mardwig

Bits & Bytes: Oldtone Roots Music Festival; ‘Leaning into the Wind’; Housatonic River canoe trip and Merwin House tour; child advocates needed

Oldtone Roots Music Festival to return for fifth year

Hillsdale, N.Y. — The Oldtone Roots Music Festival will return to Cool Whisper Farm for its fifth year Thursday, Sept. 5, through Sunday, Sept. 8. The goal of the festival is to preserve American roots music and dance with opportunities to engage with mainstage artists in workshop settings.

The three-stage festival features traditional music performances, dances, workshops, contests and children’s activities. Jamming in the campground late into the night is encouraged. In the evenings, attendees and artists can dance under a tent perched over the rolling upstate New York farm valley.

The festival will feature a core of returning popular artists: the Foghorn String Band, Tuba Skinny, the Down Hill Strugglers, Jesse Lege and Bayou Brew, Run Mountain, Tamar Korn, Travis Stuart and the Russet Trio. This year’s line-up also includes Alice Gerrard and the Piedmont Melody Makers, Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings, Bruce Molsky and Allison de Groot, Jerron Paxton, the Alex Leach Band and Sinner Friends.

Oldtone’s family-friendly atmosphere includes puppet shows and interactive entertainment for children. Local food and craft vendors will add to the village feel of the festival, and local craft beers from Big Elm Brewing, Chatham Brewing, S&S Farm Brewery and Svendale will be available as well as wine from Millbrook Winery.

Tickets are $25–$200. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Oldtone Roots Music Festival at (646) 269-9216 or


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Mason Library to screen ‘Leaning into the Wind’

Image courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Great Barrington — The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries will screen the documentary film “Leaning into the Wind” Saturday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mason Library.

Sixteen years after the release of the film “Rivers and Tides,” this new documentary film follows British artist Andy Goldsworthy on his exploration of the world and himself through ephemeral and permanent works on the landscape, cities and with his own body.

The event is part of the Friends’ First Saturday Free Film Series and will begin with a wine and cheese social at 7 p.m. More socializing and community discussion will follow the film until 10 p.m. The film does not reflect endorsement or advocacy for any particular point of view by the library or the town of Great Barrington. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Mason Library at (413) 528-2403.


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Canoe trip to include tour of historic Merwin House

Eugenia Park and Mary Hurley on a Houstonic Valley Association paddle trip. Photo: Alison Dixon.Housatonic Valley Association

Stockbridge — On Saturday, Sept. 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Housatonic Valley Association and Historic New England will present a leisurely paddle along a meandering slow moving stretch of river followed by a picnic lunch on the back porch of Merwin House and a house tour.

William and Elizabeth Doane purchased the Merwin House on Main Street in 1875 as their summer retreat and named it Tranquility. In 1900, they added a Shingle style wing that wrapped around the back of the house and included a capacious porch overlooking the river. The Doanes and their daughter, Vipont Merwin, traveled extensively, collecting European and American furnishings and objects to decorate their home. Today, the house is both a museum of the family’s collection and the location of HVA’s Berkshire office.

The canoe trip is free; a lunch fee that includes the house tour is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers. Those who opt to bring their own lunches can participate in the house tour for $10. Registration is required. Once registered, participants will receive trip information about what to bring, directions and meeting location. Children 10 years and older are welcome. For more information or to register, contact Historic New England at (860) 928-4074.


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Volunteer child advocates needed

Pittsfield — 18 Degrees, formerly Berkshire Children and Families, is looking for volunteers who would like to be court-appointed special advocates on behalf of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. CASA volunteers’ best-interest advocacy helps ensure that children are safe, and have permanent homes and opportunities to thrive.

CASA volunteers are required to participate in a 30-hour training session held at 18 Degrees’ main office. For more information or to request an application, contact Amy Guachione at (413) 448-8281 x246 or