The 4th annual Byfield Music and Arts Festival went off this past weekend, bringing back regulars like headliner Ryan Montbleau, accompanied on the bill by the likes of Soul Rebel Project, Cold Engines, Liz Frame and the Kickers and Liz Bills. BMAF also had Sarah Blacker, James Paone and Be Imagine Studios making their second appearances. Notable newcomers on the bill this year were Percy Hill and Soule Monde.
Saturday's festival began in a quick rain shower during the early morning opening performances by Hound and Be Imagine. The two main stages had their canvas walls up in preparation for a little bit of water. But by noon the sidewalls were down as the rain had stopped and the sun was out for the rest of the day, causing many unprepared festies to catch a burn. Despite the early rain, the daytime crowd appeared to be much larger than in past years. Many people had setup shop early, enjoying the show with lawn chairs and coolers under pop tents.
According to Dave Drouin, the Cold Engines frontman, "Byfield fest is getting better and better. They just keep dialing it in more and more. The sound is top notch, as is the talent and execution." Cold Engines has been brought back to BMAF for three consecutive years. For their next festival, they will be headlining Maine's Hempstock Fest in August.
Sarah Blacker was back again after performing at Byfield's inaugural festival. This time she had with her The New England Groove Association. Sarah is a trooper. She arrived at Byfield with a boot cast on each foot. And she lists her favorite festival experience as having played in 110 degree temperatures at Boston's Outside the Box Festival. Nothing will slow this woman down. She has a full plate this summer, filled with shows throughout New England. And to cap the festival season off, she is traveling to Pennsylvania to play the MyRuralRadio.com Fall Music Festival.
Percy Hill reunited in 2017. It is only fitting that this New Hampshire band would perform in their first BMAF this year. But no Byfield Music and Arts Festival would be complete without Ryan Montbleau or Soul Rebel Project. Both have performed at all four annual events, with Montbleau brought back as headliner this year for the second time. SRP was one of the most energetic bands of the day, with their East Coast reggae rock. They brought it! While Montbleau's performance seemed more intimate than in years past. He mostly played guitar while seated, with the crowd gathering in close as the sun was going down. It was a laid back finish to a mostly relaxing day.
Soul Rebel Project covering Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike
About the author: In addition to Vokuhila, LLC, Jesse L. Medford is the owner of Pour at the Shore, LLC and a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. He also has a full-time telecommunications management job, volunteers with a few charities and owns a handful of other businesses. Jesse lives in Lakeville, MA with his wife and two teenage children.
As a journalist, Jesse has been written for many publications. Mostly for sports writing, with a heavy emphasis towards NASCAR articles. Jesse also has a passion for the music industry. He worked his first concert in 1999 at Marilyn Manson's Beautiful Monsters Tour. The highlight of that night was getting to see the entire Manson performance without interruption. In addition to security, Jesse has been a vendor at numerous music festivals and has moved up into an executive ownership role and talent buyer. Jesse holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from Bridgewater State University.