We’ll just come right out and say it—not everyone is fond of music that you often find at breweries. Nicely put, a lot of people (ahem) would prefer some more diverse options than are typically presented, since they may not be into Irish stepdancing, and certainly do not appreciate the cover band variety of entertainment.
And so upon inspection of this year’s HarpoonFest lineup—a roster that includes the Silks, Aubrey Haddard, Oompa, and several others that are high on our radar—we thought about how fortunate we are to have such a unique annual extravaganza. Not just for the beer, which this year will include such treats as Big Squeeze, Georgia Peach, and others, but for a summer kickoff every year that sounds as much like Massachusetts as it tastes.
As it turns out, the scout behind the multiband festivities is musician Will Dailey, a longtime force on the New England music scene. Though more known for his songwriting than his show-booking skills, Dailey sees the HarpoonFest collaboration as a way he can pay it forward.
“I’ve been doing the festival lineup for 10 years,” he told the Dig. “First I played it, then I started getting my friends to play it, and now it’s this big thing.
“More and more companies are making the effort and realizing the benefit [of including local talent], but Harpoon has been doing it for a long time for artists like myself and my friends.”
This year’s two-day blowout features 18 acts, including Jenny Dee and the Delinquents, Dwight and Nicole, and Band of Their Own (BOTO), a Boston supergroup with Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, Jen Trynin of Cujo, Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses, and Gail Greenwood of Belly and L7.
“This is like their coming-out party,” Dailey said of BOTO.
As for the up-and-comers on the bill …
“It’s important for artists to get that one extra lifeline,” Dailey said. “I know what it’s like to be an artist around here and you need that call. Hell, I still need that call. But to be a part of something where you’re the person who gets to make that call, that feels better than just helping yourself out. Helping out only yourself feels awful.”
Dailey continued, “There are some acts that Harpoon likes and I always like and they’re going to be on there every year, and then there’s stuff from me just being around town and checking things out, keeping it all on my radar. Artists like Cliff Notez and Oompa, I’ve seen them perform and they’re amazing.
“Really, I’m booking the show that I want to see.”
HARPOONFEST. FRI 5.17–SAT 5.18 AT HARPOON BREWERY, 306 NORTHERN AVE., BOSTON. MORE INFO AT HARPOONFEST2019.SPLASHTHAT.COM/WEB.