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JP Rocker Rick Berlin Talks Up The JP Music Fest

The Aug. 20 event is bringing in sponsors and lining up acts.

The upcoming Jamaica Plain Music festival actually got its start in Cambridge. Longtime JP resident Rick Berlin, who has spent decades fronting rock bands, supporting the arts and working as a waiter at , was listening to music at the Lizard Lounge.

“A friend of mine there said,‘Why isn’t there a JP music Festival?’ ” recalled Berlin over coffee at earlier this week. “And the light bulb that had never gone on did go on. I thought, ‘This is ridiculous; there’s so much talent here in JP.’ ”

He brought the idea to , music booker at the , who in turn contacted Randace Rauscher Moore, a longtime events planner (she also happens to be executive director of JP Centre/South Main Streets, though this project is separate).

The ball started rolling. A core group of eight has been meeting every Saturday since December, ironing out all of the details for the , which will be held on two stages at Pine Bank, by the corner of Perkins Street and the Jamaicaway, on Aug. 20 from 1-7 p.m.

“In my mind it’ll be like a mom and pop corner store music festival,” said Berlin, who will be performing with the . “The rule of thumb is that every act has to have at least one person that lives or works in JP. We’ve had over a hundred applications so far, but there will only be about 20 slots.

“It’s been really tough to choose bands,” he added. “We want a range of ethnicity, gender and genre, all of it showing a nice spectrum of what this town is like. So we’ll have jazz,rock, folk, salsa, rap.”

Berlin described his vision of the event.

“It’s at a big, hollowed-out grassy bowl where people toboggan in the winter,” he said. “At the top is a flat area where’s there’s an old baseball diamond. That’s where the festival will be, with the backs of the two stages facing the pond.”

Though no one, from planners to performers, is getting paid to put on the festival, there are still money concerns, most of it concerning rental of the stage and sound equipment. Sponsors already onboard include , Whole Foods, Daddy’s Junky Music, and the in West Roxbury.

There’s no plan for any additional parking, but bike racks will be set up, and Berlin seemed to be as excited about the festival’s “secret squirrel” logo as he is about the event.

“It’s the albino squirrel, and it was designed by Justin McCarthy,” he said. “There’s an albino squirrel down at the pond. I know a lot of people who have actually seen it, but I haven’t yet.”

For more information on the Jamaica Plain Music Festival, visit www.jpmusicfestival.com.

[Editor's note: In the original post, the crossstreet was given as the Riverway.]

Steve Garfield July 23, 2011 at 11:11 AM
The albino squirrel is dead. Here's a picture of it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevegarfield/3062274002/
Andrea Cherez July 23, 2011 at 02:56 PM
The albino squirrel passed away about a year ago, peacefully, basically of advanced age. It was witnessed by one of many fans, a park ranger who was making the daily loop around the pond. A lot of us were real torn up to hear about the loss of our pond "mascot". A big thanks to Justin McCarthy for keeping the memory of the albino squirrel alive!! She still rocks!
Chris Helms (Editor) July 23, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Thank you, Steve. The Squirrel is Dead. Long Live the Squirrel!
John July 23, 2011 at 10:51 PM
I just posted a couple of pics of the late, great, legendary albino squirrel.
Chris Helms (Editor) July 24, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Thanks, John! I "featured" one of them so folks could see more easily.
Juliette Hannan July 24, 2011 at 10:14 PM
There was more than one of the albino squirrels. I wonder if they're all gone?
Andrea Cherez July 24, 2011 at 11:15 PM
There were two; long ago, the other moved around to the west side of the pond and took up residence on the grounds of Hellenic College. About a year or so ago, I heard he was still there. Anyone have more recent news?
T. McDuffy July 25, 2011 at 01:37 AM
Expect to see less squirrel diversity as the area gentrifies.
John July 25, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Yea, only those well-off squirrels, no more squirrels of color or immigrant rodents. They'll probably be upgrading the oaks to black walnut trees too. ;-)
Bill July 25, 2011 at 03:57 AM
Sounds about right, they likely had to move to Roslindale after being priced out of their trees around here. They gray are here to stay, all the rest go away!
Andrea Cherez July 25, 2011 at 04:41 AM
That's enough, guys. Don't drag our dear symbol into another tedious round of the ongoing community squabble of 2011, even in jest. Let's find bigger nuts to...whatever.
Maura July 25, 2011 at 02:41 PM
I had forgotten about the albino squirrel (and did see it a few times!) and am happy to be reminded of it in this unique way. And 3 cheers for the JP music fest.

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