Jesterfest III Canandaigua Punk for the Commons
Jesterfest returned to Canandaigua's Commons Park at Main and Coach streets this year on June 15. It was part of the City's 100 year celebration offering "100 days of music in the park." Due to heavier than normal scheduling the show couldn't be held on it's traditional Saturday before Memorial Day but it was all good. That day was cold and rainy. June 15 was perfect, clear and in the mid 70's. While primarily a local show in previous years, this year featured four traveling bands one from Rochester, two from Buffalo and one from Eastern Pennsylvania.
Commons Park was an appropriate name for the venue because this show was all about The Commons, or public square, a place where people can gather to express themselves and share. "We don't have anything like this back home (in Pennsylvania)" said Tyler Troutman of Condition Oakland. "This is an amazing place and an amazing audience."
Tyler Troutman of Condition Oakland, Wilkes Barre PA "we don't have anything like this back home"
The audience showed the diversity of this community. Members ranged from babies in their carriages with their parents to grandparents in their 70's and 80's. People came by with their pets, arriving on foot, in cars, bikes and even skateboards. Equally notable was what this fest was not. It was not the costly corporate feeding frenzy that so many music events have become. There was no charge for admission. There were no carts selling unhealthy food or overpriced trinkets. Food and drinks were purchased from local stores. The public drinking fountain flowed with pure, free Finger Lakes water, something New York should take great pride in. Mark Miller of Buffalo, whose hiphop act Emcee MD performed, described it like this --
This was my second year at Commons Park, performing at a FREE concert to the public, for an event called Jesterfest. It's awesome that a city, especially a small suburban / rural one can be open to have all kinds of music and other kinds of productions using a space like this. We have areas to do stuff like this; they are rarely used. LaSalle Park in Buffalo NY use to have The Van's Warped Tour, and Edgefest, and other big concerts, but now it goes unused and empty. It all depends who owns the area, but usually nothing ever happens with any of the resources that are there. It's good to know that the people who oversee this area, are open-minded, and care about their community and are in the processes, help “give back” to this community by letting others use it to express their ideas, talents, and passions. Commons Park is a “fits just right” area for people to gather, and is perfect because it's in the center of town. You can't ask for better than free, outdoor events, especially when they are introducing new ideas, mixed with keeping it local ideals. It's an excellent place to be, and it's honestly a place I look forward to performing every spring/summer, and hope to do many more!
Of course this is The Commons it is owned by The People! Let's keep it that way!
The music was diverse as the crowd. There were acoustic guitars, folk, pop punk, surf, metal, rap, jazz and blues. Canandaigua's The Bricks caputred this spirit perfectly. Although they played the first two Jesterfests as a five piece, this year they showed up with an additional five piece horn section. They opened with an original hiphop-ska song that would bring fond memories to any fan of Mad Conductor. A couple of jazzy blues songs followed a cover of the Beastie Boys "Root Down," then ended with some amazing effects on a cover of Peter Frampton's "Do You Feel Like We Do."
Noah Richelsen of The Bricks - Hip Hop with Horns
Armageddon drummer Tim Potenza, 11, of Buffalo gets some technical help from his dad.
This was Surf-punk band Chica and the Wolves first show outside of their native Rochester. They had this to say:
I personally enjoyed the diversity of people. They were exposed to many different varities of music. It was nice to see people old and young coming and going. Just being able to get a glimpse to see what a local music scene is about. Playing music and having fun. Doing your own thing. Playing in Canandaigua outside of my own city is always a fun time. - John W Kiss III of Chica and the Wolves
Eric Glende, also of Chica and the Wolves has past ties to Canandaigua.
It was my first year being involved with Jesterfest. It was hands down a good experience. There were a lot of people I have never met and the kindness that they showed in dealing with tech difficulties was extremely comforting and friendly. During our first song a guitar string broke and immediately another musician gave me his guitar to use without hesitation. It made me realize what's going on there. It was completely positive for this local music scene. The location was absolutely beautiful. I spent a lot of time in Canandaigua when I was younger. It was good to have such a good experience coming back and doing something I love. - Eric Glende of Chica and the Wolves
This show like its predecessors were created and promoted by Jeff Berry, who currently plays drums in the band Tyranitar. He had this to say --
It worked out exactly like I wanted if not better. The beautiful diversity of the music attracted a beautiful diversity of people. I would like to think the commons are becoming somewhat of an icon to the music scene and all the musicians who have been involved in it. I want Jesterfest to continue to grow every year, and this year so many people helped that to continue on its path and I am very grateful. Especially to Tim Braley. Huge shout out to to him. Jesterfest would have come to a screeching halt this year without him, and i look forward to hearing him play next year. Every year I feel the city can get a little bit happier on that day. Jesterfest will continue to grow and evolve as I see fit, and it got to where it is now because of the generosity, cooperation, and love of the musicians taking part in it, and not because of the hatred, criticism, and selfishness I have been exposed to. The musicians who showed me both of these know who they are, respectively.
Tim Braley of Rochester supplied and ran the sound system. His band Gin and Bonnets was unable to play due to scheduling problems. Look for them next year at Jesterfest IV
As always, pets enjoyed the show too
If anything was missing this year it was The Jester, the song the event takes it's name from. Matt Hurlburt, who performed the song was elsewhere, attending the birth of his first son, Leif. If this trend continues we should expect Matt and Leif to be singing it together sometime around Jesterfest XX.
Links to previous Jesterfests
More photos in gallery