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What To See At Somerville’s ArtBeat Fest This Weekend

ArtBeat in Somerville. (Courtesy)
ArtBeat in Somerville. (Courtesy)
This article is more than 5 years old.

More than a dozen bands, plus dance troupes, a knit-in, splash pools, food and crafts. That’s this weekend’s edition of the Somerville Arts Council’s annual ArtBeat festival in Davis Square. It runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 17, at Seven Hills Park, behind the Somerville Theatre at 55 Davis Square, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 18, throughout Davis Square, including Seven Hills Park, Elm Street and Holland Street. (In case of rain, events move back a day.) Suggested donation: $3. Below is our guide to the highlights:


School of Honk: Davis Square Plaza, 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 17.

Formed last fall, Somerville’s newest street brass band is devoted to learning. It’s a sort of pick-up band that invites anyone to join them for a two-hour rehearsal each Sunday “to learn an instrument, or a rhythm, or a dance routine, or otherwise help us make music together.”


Ronald Reagan: Seven Hills Park, 7 p.m. Friday, July 17.

Prepare for ‘80s nostalgia. This saxophone duo composed of wiseguys Kelly Roberge (Quartet of Happiness, All- Of-Us Solo Quartet) and Alec Spiegelman is known for fun covers of pop hits by the likes of Michael Jackson, A-ha and (see video) Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 rendition of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”


Nuda Veritas: Seven Hills Park, 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 17.

Rebecca Kopycincski uses live looping to create lush layers of her ethereal vocals plus drum loops and spoken word tape samples.


Club d’Elf: Seven Hills Park, 9 p.m. Friday, July 17.

This groove rock band features bassist and leader Mike Rivard and drummer Dean Johnston with an ever-shifting group of jazz, DJ, rock and world music folks, in this case guitarist Duke Levine, keyboard player Paul Schultheis and DJ Mister Rourke.


Soggy Po Boys: Seven Hills Park, 1 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

Their motto: “New Orleans jazz served messy.”


Boston Hoop Troop: Elm Street Plaza between Starbucks and Chipotle Grill, 1 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

Part dance, part circus, all hula-hoop.


Kinodance: Somerville Theatre Dance Showcase, 55 Davis Square, 1 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

Founded in Boston in 1999 by dancer Alissa Cardone, filmmaker Alla Kovgan and visual artist Dedalus Wainwright, this dance troupe creates mesmerizing, projection-immersed performances at the intersection of the founders’ arts.


Bong Wish: Elm Street at Chester Street, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

As you may have guessed from the name, they play trippy/dreamy psychedelic rock.


Professor World Band: Elm Street Plaza between Starbucks and Chipotle Grill, 2 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

Dan Friedman, who is often seen busking as a one-man band in Boston’s Public Garden and Harvard Square, brings his “kid powered rotating stage” to Somerville. “All are welcome to grab a tambourine and joint the band to help generate peace waves.”


Snake Dance Theater Company: Somerville Theatre Dance Showcase, 55 Davis Square, 2 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

A Boston-based troupe specializing in Egyptian and Turkish style bellydance, Middle Eastern folk, American cabaret and Fusion bellydance.


Bullock Brothers: Seven Hills Park, 3 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

Ordained ministers Richard and George are the last original members of this group that began as six gospel singing brothers—but they’re singing their hearts out.


Gogofski: Elm Street at Chester Street, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

Balkan concert and dance tunes. “The real stuff, played the real way,” according to the arts council.


Openair Circus: Davis Square Statue Park and traffic islands, all day Saturday, July 18.

Expect stilting, juggling and clowning from this Somerville-based nonprofit that trains kids and adults in how to run away with the circus.


Greg Cook is co-founder of WBUR's ARTery. Follow him on Twitter @AestheticResear or on the Facebook.

Greg Cook Twitter Arts Reporter
Greg Cook was an arts reporter and critic for WBUR's The ARTery.

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