WESTFIELD — The Downtown Live! Free concert series has ended, but organizers are extending the fun this Saturday with SummerFest Westfield, a music and arts festival.
ArtWorks Westfield President Bill Westerlind said the success of the Friday night concerts prompted him and fellow organizer Thomas Sawyer to create one more day of live music downtown. From noon to 9 p.m. Aug. 7, the Lambson Square Stage at 53 Elm St. — next to Mina’s Wine & Spirits — will be filled with local musicians and dancers.
SummerFest begins at 10 a.m. with ArtWalk Along Elm, a showcase for local artists that runs along Elm Street from School to Arnold streets until 2 p.m., where more than 15 regional artists will offer their art works for sale.
The performances kick off at noon with the Huntington Dance Centre dancers, followed by The Keepers at 1 p.m., Dan Kane Young Singers at 3 p.m., Neal Liptak & Friends Acoustic Jam at 5 p.m. and Mac’s Slowhand Band at 7 p.m.
White Lion Brewing and Legacy Craft Smokehouse will be serving local craft beer and BBQ from 3 to 9 p.m. in the performance space during the concert presentations.
SummerFest came together quickly, said Westerlind.
“The idea of extending the relatively short 2021 Downtown Live! concert series by an additional week was hatched less than three weeks ago,” he said. “Due to the overwhelming generosity of our sponsors and grants from the Westfield Cultural Council, we had some concert series funding remaining after the final show, so we decided to plow those funds back into the community with one more additional free community event called SummerFest Westfield! Art. Dance. Music.”
Westerlind said that although many families are thinking about getting back to school, they also want to soak up a bit more summer.
“August is one of those transitional months, still summertime, although folks tend to begin thinking ahead to back to school and fall, so we landed on SummerFest — a celebration of outdoor summertime fun; live music, an easy summertime stroll through some amazing local and regional art work, and for the first time in downtown Westfield, live performance dance,” he said.
ArtWorks of Westfield Inc., is a local arts and cultural organization promoting the rich and talented artistic diversity of Westfield and the surrounding communities. Membership and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. The group began as a series of public, organizational meetings and listening sessions in late 2015 to measure community interest in growing art and cultural experiences in the city, and achieved 501(c)3 tax-exempt status in late 2017.
“The community has responded favorable, and we continue to grow year over year over year,” Westerlind said. “Our mission is to create and promote the widest variety of cultural arts, literary arts, musical events and performing arts for the Westfield community, and to collaborate with businesses and invested groups to develop and maintain venues for presentations and performances,” Westerlind said. He added that “in its simplest form, we view this mission as bringing together creators community and commerce, creating a rising tide that lifts all boats. SummerFest Westfield is one form of that rising tide and realization of our mission.”
ArtWorks Westfield members believe that a thriving arts community benefits the entire community.
“Study after study shows that diverse and accessible art and cultural experiences and engagements are critical to the quality of life in any municipality, while providing important contributions to the economy,” said Westerlind. “An urban renewal group we are not. However, we are a group of dedicated citizen volunteers and artists who love this city and understand the significance and positivity of art, culture and community engagement.”
ArtWorks continues to bring people to the center of the city.
“The ArtWorks Westfield team has an affinity for downtown Westfield,” Westerlind said. “While many large cultural experiences formerly held in the downtown area have either been abandoned or moved to venues outside of the core city area, we strongly believe in a vibrant and thriving downtown area and work to bring as many cultural experiences to downtown Westfield and the Gaslight District.”
SummerFest Westfield is free to the community and offers the unique opportunity to experience many different artistic expressions and explore the beauty and vitality of downtown Westfield, said Westferlind.
“From live art demonstrations to a view of diverse and varied collection of artistic expression; from live performance dance to many forms of different musical styles and interactions, SummerFest has something for everyone,” he said.