For the past 15 years, the town of Keene has hosted an annual free music festival, and it has become one of the largest free music festivals in the area.
With over 70 bands and a wide variety of music, it’s not hard to find a band to listen to for a set or two. Bands and performers that apply to the music festival are responsible for their own travel expenses and are not paid for their time performing, but that did not stop the band Lines West from showing the town of Keene what they have to offer.
Lines West has been around for about two years and are currently touring to celebrate the release of their new album, “Two of a Perfect Pair.”
Co-produced and founded by band mates John Radzin and Brian Larney, this duo has a roots pop vibe, a genre that focuses its origins in folk, blues and country music with a pop flare.
Lines West is based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but they usually find themselves performing around the New York area, according to Larney.
“We toured all summer and have been trying to expand our range,” Larney said,
“We ended up staying in Keene for the night on our way to Burlington once and thought it was just such a cool town. We saw the listing for the festival and decided that we had to apply.”
The band plays all original tunes and has been struggling for a while on what exact genre to give themselves.
“We just eat up pop music, you know the kind with that great hook,” Larney said, “But we’re mostly like roots pop, with a little bit of everything else mixed in.”
Radzin explained that the two members’ writing styles and musical influences are quite different, but when they meet in the middle it creates something great.
“We sort of each write with our own musical influences and don’t really write ‘together’ so to speak,” Radzin said, “We write separately and then collaborate our different backgrounds. I’m more of a country-based musician and Brian is pop, so we influence each other in a unique way in the ways that we write and produce.”
When asked if not being paid for their performance affected Lines West’s decision to attend or not, Larney responded with, “It was worth it to play for free because we just love playing. Yes, money is a nice bonus, but even if it’s only one or two people that like us enough to go look us up after seeing us play, then that’s enough to spread our name just a little bit further.”
Radzin said he agreed with that statement, and added that it is a lot different to perform at a festival rather than their own private shows.
Radzin explained that they usually find themselves performing in bars or night clubs, where the crowd is pretty similar each time.
“When you are at places like this you get to reach a broader spectrum of people,” Radzin said. He continued, “You know there are little kids liking it and also older people at the same time. It’s a lot of fun and all age groups could get influenced by our music. It’s nice to see how each type of crowd reacts.”
The festival’s atmosphere is positive not only for the band members, but for the audience as well. Antioch grad student and recent Keene resident, Alyssa Mailo, said that she was blown away by the diversity she witnessed.
“I just moved to Keene two weeks ago, and it is amazing to see all of the variety of bands, especially since the festival is completely free,” Mailo stated, “I heard people talking about it and I didn’t really know what to expect when I came here, but I’m really impressed. You can just walk around and every time you circulate the square there is a different band playing.”
Mailo explained that she spent a lot of time listening to Lines West because of their unique voices and almost enchanting style of music.
Lines West is continuing to spread their music to a variety of other states and to a diverse range of ages. They are still on tour and hope to come back for the Keene Music Festival in the upcoming years.
Olivia Belanger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org