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There comes a point in the summer when even the most dedicated festival junkie begins to lose steam. With August under way, the thought of hours of traffic awaiting admission, multiple days in a tent and living among many unshowered neighbors begins to lose its luster.
The Boston area has seen its fair share of outdoor music this summer, but this Saturday, the inaugural Nines Festival in Devens is a pleasant change of pace. While many festivals strive to be WalMart events — quantity for the masses — the Nines is notable for its modesty, labeling itself a “boutique festival.”
Nines organizer Ben Jaehne explains, “We want to offer a bit of everything—music, arts, comedy, but want it to be very focused at the same time.”
Perhaps the greatest thing about the Nines is the lineup it has assembled in only its first year. The vintage soul-pop of Philly’s Dr. Dog, the gritty Americana of Delta Spirit, blues funk journeyman Shuggie Otis, or the paramount post-rock of Explosions in the Sky — there’s a selection of heavy hitters that catch the eye, but the roster in full does not disappoint.
Jaehne, who works with Great Northeastern Productions, has produced a number of enormous and successful festivals, including events for the band Phish, which have gained attendances bigger than most city populations. The Nines, he claims, is very much the opposite.
“The Nines won’t be an event where you’re swimming in people,” he says. “It is designed to not be as exhausting, from a music schedule that doesn’t overlap, to its conveniently removed location 30 miles out of Boston.”
In addition to 10 hours of music, the event will include craft installations, interactive art projects and a comedy tent curated by Harvard Square’s The Comedy Studio.
The Nines is co-presented by the 3Rivers Arts collaborative of Ayer to help give the organization a platform to extend its mission. 3Rivers hosts camps, gallery showings, masquerade balls and social networking events in order to bring artists together and “develop the creative economy.”
The Nines not only aims to draw like-minded inventive spirits, but to showcase much of the talent that the organization supports.
The festival mixes local business charm with the talent of bigger, more commercial endeavors. The result is an opportunity to experience top-notch music in an intimate setting for what Jaehne adds is, “a rare chance for the Boston area to see music under the stars.”
It may be simple, but I can’t think of a much better selling point.
Perry Eaton is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Boston music blog Allston Pudding, where he stays busy writing about new bands, booking shows around Boston, and even soundtracking local films.
This program aired on August 8, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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