"Are you unfreakable?" asks the psychedelic, hand-lettered poster advertising Blastfest III (March 20th) at the Cambridge YMCA in Central Square. It’s a twelve hour event from 11 a.m. — 11 p.m. that will feature over two dozen artists. The cost is $5 – $10 on a sliding scale, but not even the most broke-ass hippy will be turned away from this groovy, feel-good equinox event.
Blastfest isn’t associated with us here at Blast Magazine, although we kind of wish it was. Rather, it’s an annual event organized by Whitehaus Family Record, the indier-than-indy Jamaica Plain label with a charmingly crunchy DIY aesthetic. Perhaps best known for their "hoots" — artistic salons where guests are invited to share their various talents with a supportive audience — the Whitehaus is a cool local phenomenon respected for its cooperative and highly non-businesslike approach to art, music, poetry, and all things creative.
Blastfest III will be hosted by Simone Beaubien, a notable performance poet who some know from the Cantab Lounge. The line up includes Ambitious Tugboat, Apollo Sunshine, Avi Jacob, Concord Ballet Orchestra Players, Debbie and the Bullets, Duck That, the Girlfriends, Gregory J. Mullen, James Lindsay, the Meadowlarks, Needy Visions, Shai Erlichman, Tulsa, Turtle Ambulance, the Woodrow Wilsons and other interesting artists who like to experiment. At the same time, the venue will be hosting Boston Zine Fair 2010, an event facilitated by Papercut Zine Library in Somerville to celebrate independent media and self-publishing.
The all-ages gathering will also be a record release party for Whitehaus Family Record, a 27-track double album which is the first vinyl release from this prolific group of affiliated artists and friends. Morgan Shaker, prominent among the Whitehaus group for his skills at organizing and promoting events, calls the album "just a picture of the musical culture as we see itâ€¦kind of a stamp of a day in our world."
Shaker is also an articulate spokesman for the "yes wave" philosophy that pervades the music and lives of the Whitehaus artists. He encourages the idea that art and music can be a cooperative activity, but also indicates that observers aren’t just people on the sidelines. He says, "anyone who goes to a show, or wants to talk about this stuff, or comes to a hoot, or comes to any Whitehaus thing — that emotional connection happens to each and every person who was there, so the story becomes as much about the person who is showing up."
The Summer of Love may have happened years before you were born, but counter-cultural events like Blastfest III continue to offer an alternative model of thinking, doing and being that all but the most cynical can appreciate. Stop in, read a zine, get a hug, eat a PB&J, hear startlingly original live music and expand your mind.