This Friday, June 21st, 2019, Salem will celebrate its fourth year participating in Make Music Day. It’s been four years for us, but the festival has been around since 1982, when it started in France. The festival was imagined to bring together live music and the masses on the longest day of the year. In fact, it’s in the rules of the festival: It must be outside; it music be on June 21st – the Summer Solstice; and it must be free to spectators. Since it is always on June 21st, the days of the event change. This year, it lands on Friday!
Make Music Day has since grown into a worldwide event. Salem got on board in 2016, facilitated by the efforts of Mark Green, Douglas Hoffman, and Carlee Wright. The first year there were 20 venues and 70 performers. Last year it was up to 25 venues and approximately 110 performers. Registration is closed for this year, but last count was 30 venues and 132 artists culminating in 165 performances all around downtown Salem.
As the festival has grown, so has the all volunteer committee: Mark and Karen Green, (RiverCity Rockstar Academy); Douglas Hoffman, (also RCRA, The Space Concert Club, City of Pieces), Julie Eaton, (Salem33 -formerly Salem Weekly Music, Marc & the Horsejerks), Kaylee Bonatakis, (RCRA, Center Mass String Quartet, Marc & the HJs), Philip and Steffi Derobertis, (CCTV, Trader Joe’s), Lizzy Brock, (Marc & the HJs, formerly Tied to a Grizzly), and newcomers Megan McClure and Seaton Drebitko.
The festival is free, but it does take a lot of work and money to rent equipment, promotions, acquiring permits, and the like. Band and venue registration is already closed, but there are a few spots left. If you’d like to fill a last minute slot, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and see if they can fit you in.
There are also crowd participation events called, “Mass Appeals.” Most are show up and participate such as bucket drumming, ukulele, harmonica, guitar jam, and silent disco. You might even get to take home a musical souvenir like drum sticks, songbooks, or harmonicas – first come, first served. The showcase Mass Appeal event is called “SouzaPalooza,” led by Kayle Bonatakis. Players coordinate beforehand and come prepared to play a variety of songs by John Philip Souza. There might still be time to jump in – again, contact email@example.com.
Make Music Salem quickly catapulted to Salem’s largest outdoor musical festival. It is concentrated mostly downtown and a variety of genres are represented. Bring some chairs and post up at one stage, or roam the downtown core to get a sampling from a variety of stages. Be sure to pack a water bottle, sunscreen, and maybe a blanket and chair. And with Salem’s many eateries downtown, you won’t starve.
Take the day off work! Friday’s forecast 75 degrees. A perfect day to make music.