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New season of Berkshire Busk! starts in a blaze of glory

“The Berkshire Busk! Is a democratization of the cultural riches of the Berkshires,” SoCo Creamery owner Erik Bruun said. “You have a very wide variety of musicians, artists, and performers all for free for anyone who wants to see them. This is a joyful event that brings a smile to everyone's faces."

Great Barrington — Downtown Great Barrington was alive with music, art, and performances as the fourth season of Berkshire Busk! started on Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29. This year, the event will be held on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 6:30 p.m., at various locations throughout downtown Great Barrington up until Saturday, August 31.

The outdoor summertime event started back in 2020 during the pandemic in order to bring people to the downtown area through live musical performances and performances by magicians, circus artists, and dancers.

Noah Robertson, 14, from Australia, performing on Railroad Street at Berkshire Busk! on Friday, June 28. This was Noah’s second year performing at the event. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

The June 28 portion of the event included Noah Robertson, 14, from Australia, performing blues songs on Railroad Street. Noah is currently attending The Berkshire College of Music’s summer program in Boston.

“Playing here is so much fun,” Noah told The Berkshire Edge before his performance. “I love busking because it’s great to get out and play to the people. To me, Great Barrington is an electrifying town, and the people’s love for music is so cool.”

Musician Noah Robertson with Berkshire Busk! co-organizers Carli Scolforo. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

As June 28 went on, music was played all throughout the downtown area by Garrin Benfield, Carolyn Shapiro, Brian Hailes, and Josh Driver.

Musician Josh Driver playing in front of The Triplex as part of Berkshire Busk! on June 28. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Musician Garrin Benfield playing in Berkshire Busk! on June 28. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Musician Carolyn Shapiro playing in front of Carr Hardware during Berkshire Busk! on June 28. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

Also performing on June 28 were fire dancer Luna Faun, children’s balloon artist Balloon Ben, and The Funk Box Dance Studio from Pittsfield.

Balloon Ben captivated children with his balloon sculptures during the first night of Berkshire Busk! on June 28. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Members of The Funk Box Dance Studio dancing on Railroad Street. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
The dance troupe, which includes children from throughout the area, took part in an old-school breakdance performance on Railroad Street. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Fire dancer Luna Faun performing on Railroad Street. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Faun is one of many performers taking part in Berkshire Busk! Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

The second day of Berkshire Busk! was held on Saturday, June 29 in conjunction with LGBTQ+ organization Berkshire Pride. The event included a Drag Story Hour event at The Triplex and a talk by “Hedwig & the Angry Inch” musical producer Eric Schnall, as well as performances by musicians Raeah Rama, Christine Bilé, Ryan Leddick, Natalie Lewis, and Mike Pagnani.

Members of Berkshire Pride taking part in Berkshire Busk!’s Pride Night on Saturday, June 29. Photos courtesy of Casi Kristant (AKA Poppy DaBubbly) via Facebook.

Both days of the event featured several vendors, including Sydney Chasky who sold clothes and other goods on Railroad Street.

Berkshire Busk! vendor Sydney Chasky (AKA “Schlepping Beauty”). Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

“I’m looking for all the weirdos around here, because I’m one, and I feel like the Berkshire Busk! is a great way to find them,” Chasky said. “The Berkshire Busk! Is a great way to watch and meet people, and also to listen to some great music.”

The event brought customers to restaurants all throughout the downtown area.

Customers enjoy outdoor dining at some of the many restaurants on Railroad Street during Berkshire Busk! on Friday, June 28. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

“The Berkshire Busk! Is a democratization of the cultural riches of the Berkshires,” SoCo Creamery owner Erik Bruun said. “You have a very wide variety of musicians, artists, and performers all for free for anyone who wants to see them. This is a joyful event that brings a smile to everyone’s faces. You have parents who are happy to bring their children here, and you have children who are happy to be with their friends. You have teenagers and adults who all enjoy each other’s company. And then you have older people like me who admire all of this, and who think to themselves, ‘Isn’t it wonderful to be in a place like this?’”

For more information about Berkshire Busk!, visit its website or its Facebook page.

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