The non-stop sound of singing and various instruments lined downtown Keene for 12 hours this past Saturday as many bands and artists came together for the fifteenth annual Keene Music Festival. The genres varied all down Main Street and no matter the type of music you listen to, there was something there for you.
It takes many individuals to put together this large event, including not only volunteer staff and performers, but also many businesses that donate as well. The festival occurs on Labor Day weekend every year.
Pablo Spliceman is a member of the volunteer staff and a local business owner. He said he became involved with the festival back in 2001, when one of his closest friends had put on the very first festival. Spliceman has continued helping ever since.
“We start organizing in January or February, and it’s mostly volunteer work,” Spliceman said.
He continued, “We pretty much pay for just sound people and it ends up being thousands of dollars. We have so much fun and we’re all passionate about it so sometimes we forget to even ask for the money.” He then explained, “There are people at every stage asking for donations for the Keene Music Event. Some companies donate money every year, but it’s mostly just putting letters out and asking for money.”
According to Spliceman, bands do not usually make money anyway, so there is a real commitment for them to travel from all over to come here and play. He had mentioned that there is a submission process for the bands, but that it is nothing too strenuous.
The audience downtown ranged in many different age groups.
“The saddest thing is that it’s really hard to get college students here. There used to be a stage on the Keene State campus and no one would show up,” Spliceman explained.
While rollerblading down Main Street Saturday afternoon, sophomore and business management major Jake Paquin said that he was there to see what music Keene had to offer.
“I’m not familiar with any of the bands, I just came to see what was going on and what’s playing,” Paquin said. He explained,“I actually heard the music playing and came down to see what was happening. I like that there are a lot of different stations and a wide variety of music.”
The variety of music draws people from
all over the U.S to Keene for this event. Singer and songwriter, Alice Limoges, traveled from New York to perform with her band at the festival. Limoges originally from Maine, now attends SUNY (State University of New York) which is where she met the members of her band, Alice Limoges.
When asked how Limoges heard of this event she said, “I was looking for places that our band could play and get the word out about our music and Keene Music Festival was one of the things that popped up, so we decided to apply and perform.” She also mentioned that the band drove up Saturday morning and were really excited about the positive energy of the town and the people that were there to support the musicians.
Keene State Music Festival has been a tradition held in downtown Keene for the past 15 years. It is an event that continues to bring artists together year after year.
Emma Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org