Emily Fedorko

Equinox Staff


The autumn wind carried the sound of live music and the sweet aroma of caramel apples, hand pressed cider, and fresh roasted coffee throughout campus, drawing people in to the fourth annual Harvest Fest last Sunday, Oct. 16 on Oya Hill.

Every year the Campus Ecology club puts on an all day solar-powered festival in celebration of the fall season and the Keene community. The goal is to educate people of the importance of solar power and of thriving locally, to live healthier, and support the local economy.

This student-organized festival was supported by local businesses, including Prime Roast Coffee, Keene Fresh Salad, Alyson’s Orchard, and Sunweaver with its traveling solar electric systems.  Members of Campus Ecology went to the Keene Farmers Market to bring vendors such as With Good Reason Granola, Beadin’ and Eden, and Stonewall Farm.

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“I’m having a good time, listening to the music, enjoying the day, and hopefully I sell a few pieces,” Kathy Burgess-Furnicello, owner of Beadin’ and Eden, said.

The sunny weather provided the festival with a quintessential autumn day and the sound of a wide array of student solo musicians, bands and, two headliners from northern Mass.

Kyle “Mitch” Michaud, Joey Mintel, and Erik Wirkkala of Phyishstx began the day drawing people in with their Phish covers and original jams.  Dan Kuhn, Andrew Reynolds, Joey Mintel, and Chris Meyer of The Calerpitters played an assortment of genres from Van Morrison to The Pixies and original songs.  Students and parents sang along with as The Mild Revolution, composed of Morgan Little, Matt Caputo, Tim Stone, John Hallengren, and Dan O’Rourke, played their original songs.

The festival-goers were kept entertained between bands by the eclectic musical story telling of Dragons, students Zach Schneider and Dan Jones.   As well as Just Thom, Thomas Maclennan, syncing his guitar with loop and effect pedals.

The crowd doubled in size and went wild for the fast funky sound of The Big Sway out of Agawam, Mass. This is the band’s second Harvest Fest and everyone was on their feet and dancing as soon as they hit the stage.  Pongos Groove warmed things up when the sun went down and brought the crowd back out of their dorms with their tight jams and light show provided by the Student Center event staff.

Aside from the music the other main attraction at Harvest Fest was Johnny Bolster of LocaCopia. His handmade cider press’s actual mechanism is an exercise bike that people took turns riding all day to make there own freshly pressed organic apple cider.

“These are apples that would have otherwise fallen to the ground, forgotten, but today we’re going to juice them up and enjoy the sweet nectar of the fall season,” Bolster said.

Harvest Fest came together in part through the collaboration of local businesses, the students, musicians, and clubs and organizations.  The Fair Trade Interests group asked Campus Ecology to participate in the festival to promote fair trade on campus.  Fair Trade Interest Group is trying to make Keene State a fair trade campus but they need more support to become a club first.

“The good thing about Campus Ecology working with fair trade is that the two go hand-in-hand.  Fair trade supports the idea of buying locally, paying fair wages and being socially just, but its also environmental because the products are organic,” Lisa Bryant said of the fair trade group.

After Kyle “Mitch” Michaud finished up playing in Phishstx he set up his Gathering of the Minds table to give out meditation readings and get people interested in joining a meditation club.

“Being mindful reduces stress, focuses attention, decreases anxiety and increases awareness, relaxed states, and calmness,” Michaud explained.

The Art Collective didn’t have a table to hand out flyers.  But they did build a large wall on the edge of the festivities and handed out paint for anyone to step up and get creative.

“We have constructed a wall that people can express themselves with graffiti art.  We just built it up and people are here already, it’s awesome.  If you build it they will come,” Art Collective President Sean Bowes said.  One student, Kristin Powers, added, “With the recent graffiti fiasco this is a good way to show that it’s not always bad.”

Keene State College has many diverse clubs and organizations and they all need support.

“This is one that takes what the students want and do it all so I think it’s great to show you’re appreciating everything that they do,” Kristin Powers said.

Months of planning went into bringing a fun-filled day of live music, local food and handmade products, fair trade and mindful awareness, expressive art, and good times, all powered by the sun.

“This is the forth Harvest Fest and I’ve seen it from the beginning.  This is by far the biggest the best with the most participation from campus and the club… All the work that I personally do for it and the organizing of everybody else, seeing it all come together was just really amazing,” Danielle Couture, president of Campus Ecology, said.


Emily Fedorko can be contacted at efedorko@ksc.mailcruiser.com

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