Open Air Open Mic resumes May 3

WESTFIELD – Live arts events are back in downtown Westfield beginning with the Poetry in the Park event May 1 and the Open Air Open Mic Night May 3, both hosted by ArtWorks Westfield.

Poetry in the Park is May 1 from 12-3 p.m. on Park Square Green. A celebration of Poetry Month, this free event is open to all.

The Open Air Open Mic Nights, which took a pandemic hiatus in 2020, take place at the pavilion on Park Square Green through July 12. Sign-ups start at 5:30 with performances starting at 6 p.m. Organizers say spectators should bring a chair or blanket, a cooler full of soft drinks and snacks and enjoy the music in the cityscape of downtown Westfield.

“Open Air Open Mic, a downtown Westfield favorite and tradition that began in the summer of 2017, is being sponsored through the generosity of donors and members of ArtWorks of Westfield in 2021,” said ArtWorks’ Bill Westerlind. “We would love to have more sponsors involved but raising funds has been a challenge so far this year despite the recent encouraging signs of a winding down of the Covid pandemic in Massachusetts.”

Westerlind said many business supporters are optimistic about the economy doing forward “but are taking a wait and see approach to event funding and sponsorship.”

Bill Westerlind of ArtWorks Westfield speaks during a past community meeting about arts and culture. (HOPE E. TREMBLAY/THEWESTFIELDNEWS))

Any businesses in a position to support community events and experiences like Open Air Open Mic should contact [email protected] or visit www.artworkdwestfield.com.

Open Air Open Mic is open to musical performers of all ages. Minors should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Westerlind said families are invited to “join us on the green each Monday evening to enjoy an evening of fun in the open air of the Green at Park Square. Lawn chairs, blankets, snacks and soft drinks are encouraged! No alcoholic beverages are allowed. Before or during the open mic, we also encourage folks to visit the many wonderful shops and eateries in downtown Westfield.”

Westerlind said many downtown businesses have struggled during the pandemic and this is a great opportunity to support them.

Open Air Open Mic is a musical event geared towards acoustic instruments, although electric guitars and keyboards can be accommodated.

“In keeping with the live instrument tradition of this open mic, singers must be accompanied by live musical performers,” Westerlind said.

Open Air Open Mic participants and spectators should follow safety guidelines.

“Community safety is an utmost priority so all CDC, state and local COVID guidelines will be followed at this event with microphones cleaned and disinfected after each performance,” said Westerlind.

After a year without live events, Westerlind said organizers are excited to be back.

“The ArtWorks Westfield team is absolutely thrilled to be able provide real world, in person art and cultural experiences for our community once again,” he said. “Although our online events during the pandemic were very successful in providing a digital platform to interact and share artistic creativity, our community is craving a return to a degree of normalcy and personal engagement.

“Open Air Open Mic is the first of our return to real world, in person cultural experiences of 2021. We have many more in the works, including Poetry in the Park poetry open mic on May 1 on the green at noon, Authors on the Green: WhipCity Wordsmiths Book Show on the Green on Sunday May 23 at 11a.m. featuring local authors, writers and publishers and the Downtown Live Friday Night Concert Series kicking off on June 18 in the performance space adjacent to Mina’s Wine & Spirits.”

Westerlind said prior to the pandemic’s arrival in early 2020, Westfield was quickly evolving into a recognized and growing arts and cultural community in western Massachusetts.

“ArtWorks Westfield is focused on picking up where we left off in early 2020 to grow the many art and cultural experiences in our city that bring together local and regional creators and our community members while attracting more visitors to the city and downtown Westfield to support our local businesses. We think of a vibrant arts and cultural community as a rising tide lifting all boats, making Westfield a more attractive place to live, work and play,” said Westerlind.

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