May 26, 2015
The month of May finds us celebrating warm weather and moving our entertainment outdoors. Part of a growing tradition in the Monadnock Region is the Up In Smoke Festival that features BBQ, beer and lots of live music, held at the Cheshire Fair Grounds on May 29-31.
The Festival’s inaugural event was held in May 2013. Monadnock Up in Smoke was founded by Geordie Fifield - owner of Joe Peanuts Wing House and a barbecue competitor himself – with some help from David Devoid. For the first year the focus was the barbecue competition with some live music and a car show. Since then Geordie and David formed a partnership and have expanded the festival. This year you will find three days of music and entertainment, a Kids Zone, demonstrations, contests, craft beers, races, shopping, fireworks, and of course, world class barbecue!
“Our goal is to create an exciting event and to do good for the community,” David told me recently. “Every year we add more entertainment, like this year’s ATV and lawn mower racing. We bring in merchants and vendors. We want to raise awareness of what the Keene area has to offer.” Each year Monadnock Up in Smoke selects charities to support. This year’s beneficiaries are the Wounded Warrior Project and Bonnie’s Basement.
Music is a big part of the festivities. There are some Keene area bands at Up in Smoke, with most of the musical acts coming from the greater New Hampshire and Boston area. “We want to offer entertainment that people haven’t seen before,” explained David. “It’s another way of adding value to the event.”
Headlining the festival is the Dusty Gray Band. This five piece band plays country, blues, rock and soul and have two CD’s to their credit. The band has performed with Blues Traveler, Willie Nelson and Randy Houser. Last year they were nominated for a New England Music Award. Here is a video of "Have N Hold" from their 2012 release I Am What You Are:
On Friday evening the Rory Scott Band brings their originals and covers of new and traditional country music to the stage. Rory has won regional and national awards for his performances, including 2012 National Male Entertainer category for New Country at the North American Country Music Association International Competition. Check out their acoustic performance of their song "Must Have Been The Moonshine", recorded at the Hard Rock in Boston.
Pulse is a four piece band that plays both rock and country music throughout New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. They open the festival on Saturday with your favorites from the 50’s – the 80’s, as well as old and new country hits.
To further your enjoyment of the music, there will be two line dancing teams on hand to perform and show you some moves. “Both teams are looking to add new members,” said David. “This would be a good opportunity for someone who is not too sure about line dancing to see a demonstration, have some fun with it, and maybe they’d be interested in picking up a new hobby.”
The Festival runs from 4:00 – 10:00PM on Friday, 11:00 - 10:00 on Saturday, and 11:00 – 5:00 on Sunday. Admission is $3.00. For more information, visit the website.