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.]