Festivalgoers enjoy a performance at the 2016 FreshGrass roots music festival. This year's festival will run Sept. 20-22 at MASS MoCA in North Adams. Photo: Douglas Mason

Bits & Bytes: FreshGrass; Walk a Mile in Her Shoes; ‘Searching for the Moon’; swing dancing at Dewey Hall; memoir-writing workshop

MASS MoCA to host FreshGrass roots music festival

North Adams — MASS MoCA will host FreshGrass, the three-day festival of bluegrass and progressive roots music, Friday, Sept. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 22. Festival performers will include Greensky Bluegrass, Andrew Bird, Mavis Staples, Leftover Salmon, Calexico, Iron & Wine, Steep Canyon Rangers, Aoife O’Donovan, Amy Helm, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, Tony Trischka and Bruce Molsky, and more.

Berklee College of Music’s American roots music program will return to lead workshops in which festivalgoers fine-tune their picking skills and learn from bluegrass veterans about the inner workings of songwriting, producing, and marketing music. Compass Records will bring its pop-up record store back to the center of the festival, and local luthiers will demonstrate their craft. The FreshGrass and No Depression Awards, a music contest for unsigned talent judged by industry professionals, will feature up to $25,000 in cash prizes and recording time at Compass Records’ studio in Nashville for the winners. Aoife O’Donovan will return as the first-ever FreshGrass Artist-in-Residence, and she will be a presence during all three days of the festival. FreshScores, a film and live music event commissioned by the FreshGrass Foundation to pair original music with enlivened silent films, will return with new screenings and performances.

Tickets start at $48.For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact MASS MoCA at (413) 662-2111 or info@massmoca.org.


*     *     *

Ninth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to benefit Elizabeth Freeman Center

Pittsfield police Chief Michael Wynn at the 2018 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Freeman Center

Pittsfield — The ninth annual Berkshire County Walk a Mile March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence will take to the street Thursday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. rain or shine, during Pittsfield’s Third Thursday event.

Registration will begin at 5 p.m. at Persip Park on the corner of North Street and Columbus Avenue. Walkers are encouraged to wear their flashiest shoes as they walk a mile downtown to demonstrate their commitment to stop violence and show solidarity with abuse survivors. Registration is free and walkers are encouraged to raise funds through pledges as individuals or as teams to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Walkers who raise $55 or more will receive Walk a Mile commemorative T-shirts. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Elizabeth Freeman Center domestic violence and rape crisis organization.

Walkers are encouraged, though not required, to walk in women’s shoes or to decorate their own shoes at the walk. They can bring their own or choose from shoes and shoe decorations available at registration. Pledge sheets are available online and at all EFC offices. For more information, contact the Elizabeth Freeeman Center at (413) 499-2425 or info@elizabethfreemancenter.org.


*     *     *

Amber Chand to perform one-woman show

Amber Chand

Monterey — Storyteller, author and refugee Amber Chand will present “Searching for the Moon: A Story of Love, Despair, Faith and Forgiveness” Friday, Sept. 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Monterey Community Center.

The story of an Indian woman born in Uganda, “Searching for the Moon” is a personal memoir takes the audience into a world of Indian arranged marriages, British boarding schools and African military coups plus Chand’s experience becoming a refugee, encounters with Indian holy men and Rwandan genocide survivors, and the meteoric rise and fall of her multimillion-dollar business.

Tickets are $20. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 822-0551.


*     *     *

Dewey Hall to host swing dancing with South Street Swing

South Street Swing. Photo: Mark Phillips

Sheffield — Oldtone Native will present a night of swing dancing Friday, Sept 20, at Dewey Hall, beginning with a lesson with Vance Catapang at 8 p.m. Dancing to live music from South Street Swing will begin at 9 p.m.

South Street Swing is a collaboration between vocalist, fiddler and saxophonist Maggie McRae and jazz guitarist and vocalist Mark Phillips that seeks to revitalize the Great American Songbook. Based in Great Barrington, McRae and Phillips take inspiration from classic and contemporary jazz duet ensembles to create memorable, foot-tapping musical experiences for both traditional and modern listeners.

The cost is a sliding fee of $10–$20. Beginners are welcome, partners are not necessary and refreshments will be available. For more information, contact (413) 429-1176 or beth@oldtonemusicfestival.com.


*     *     *

Writing workshop to focus on memoir

A memoir workshop on Mount Greylock in 2018. Photo: Jennifer Browdy

Adams — Veteran writing teacher Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D., will present the workshop, “Purposeful Memoir as a Path to a Thriving Future,” Sunday, Sept. 22, from1 to 4 p.m. at Bascom Lodge.

“This workshop will open up new pathways into your past while encouraging you to think more deeply about your present, and envision the thriving future you want to live into and co-create with others,” Browdy said. “As we align our personal histories with the larger narratives of our time and place, we intentionally awaken and deepen our capacity for spiritually grounded activism and conscious leadership in our own lives and in our communities, including the larger Earth community of which we are all a part.”

Browdy has been teaching writing and literature at the college level for more than 30 years, including 25 years at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington. She is the author of the award-winning “The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir” as well as her own memoir, “What I Forgot … And Why I Remembered,” an International Book Award finalist.

The cost of the workshop is $35. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar.