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Sunday, June 4, 2017

First Fests of Summer

Rain was in the forecast BUT it was Festival Day – the season's openers!

First up was the Cambridge Riverfest. It's changed massively since I last sold my mugs, bowls and sculptures there. There wasn’t even one potter. No glass artists either. There were a few jewelers, fabric artists, handbag and wallet crafters, some painters, a few photographers and a lot of hippy, flowing clothing purveyors.
Honestly though, there were way more food trucks and stands than craft-artist’s tables. Harrumph!

Granted, the Riverfest has the Sculpture Race (!!!) which, though smaller this year, was big fun. They also had:
* Folk and Roots Stage with performances by six different groups. 
Liberty and Earth chasing a fleeing Clownstick – AWESOME!
* Jazz, R&B, World Music Stage with four ensembles playing throughout the afternoon
* Family and Children's Stage — performances by six separate groups
* The Theater Stage hosted nine performances.
* Dance Stage with eight troupes cuttin' loose.
* There were six bands on the Rock Indie Alternative Stage. NOT all at once, mind you.
* The Cambridge Young Performers Showcase, featuring Cambridge Rindge and Latin School bands, dancers, chorus’s, New School of Music Ensembles and more.

Then there was all the interactive shit like the Mask-Making Workshop, Poetry Tent, Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project plus some big science and philosophical discussion tents. Oh yeah and there were a mess of street performers too.

I should've hung out longer, done more exploring. Granted, all the music (and theater) blows right by me. Next year though, I’ll make a point of checking out the Dance and Poetry tents. Also too, I can write to the Cambridge Arts Council and suggest they hire some damn 'terps!

The Coolidge Corner Fest, happening on the very same day this year, has changed too. It used to be this bitty little deal, seemingly an afterthought. Artists were allotted no more than a card table sized space on a tiny square of sidewalk. I didn’t enjoy selling my wares there and only worked it once.

While this is still a small fest, it’s grown – become all intentional. Unlike the Riverfest, there were no performers or interactive events. This was def a pro arts and craftperson’s exhibition though. Booths, a ton of em, were set up along one block of Babcock Street as well as in the adjacent parking lot. Yup, Brookline closed off a street for this shindig! Huzzah!

A few of the stand-out brill exhibitors included:
James Guggina
Gabrielle Schaffner
Sarah Caruso 
Guilday Glass 
Jane Simon — GodDAMN I love her work!

I SO wanted to take home a Jane Simon piece but:
  1. I live in a very small house – there’s really no more space for sculptural work unless it’s also functional. Not beautiful vase/jar functional but mug/bowl/plate/bookends/plant pot-like functional.
  2. Her prices were a bit too dear for my weak wallet.
Sarah Caruso WANT!
Maybe the booth fees were skyscraper-ish so artists needed to jack their prices? Possibly, given the obvs BIG wealth of this neighborhood, artists were able to sell their work at above standard street fair prices. Good for them! Still, I was also lusting after some James Guggina whiskey cups and a Sarah Caruso mug. I was bummed that they didn't come home with me. Still, I splurged on a Guilday Glass lightcatcher and a couple Caruso bowls. How could I resist! (Couldn’t. DUH!)


If you’re looking for a full-on arts affair – dance, theater, music as well as fine arts and craft PLUS interactive activities and events – the Cambridge Riverfest is the one to hit. Got kids? This festival is for you. Don’t got kids? This fest is still where you want to be.

Looking to view and/or buy loads of beautiful functional (or just decorative) art? The Coolidge Corner Arts Festival is your scene. It’s like the Society of Arts and Crafts shop writ large. I would’ve loved to poke around more, talked with the artists but, all too soon, the rain began.

 I melt in the rain don’cha know.

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