Outdoor 'Vivid Rhythms' Music Festival Coming to MCLA


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) "Performing Arts Management Class" will bring the "Vivid Rhythms Festival" to the campus' academic quad on Sunday, May 1, from 2 to 9 p.m. This event will close out the 2010-11 season of MCLA Presents!  

The Festival is a day-long event that brings together visual art, music, food and celebrates the spring. The event is completely student-curated, produced, and presented by the members of the Performing Arts Management (PAM) class, led by the course's instructor, Jonathan Secor, MCLA's director of special programming.  

The public is invited to attend. Tickets to this event are $12 for general admission, $5 for MCLA faculty and staff. MCLA students attend the Festival for free. 

According to Secor, the bands performing at Vivid Rhythms Festival will be an eclectic mix of genres, ranging from reggae/pop sounds and ska to electronic, as live music is paired with a casual outdoor setting that will transform the academic quad into a space to enjoy music and art.

Headlining this event will be the Sublime cover band, Badfish. Also featured at this event will be opening acts  Full Service, The Rice Cakes, The Smoky Wambas, Spooky and the Nomads, The Wolfman Conspiracy, BAKEZ + DIXON, and MCLA student rapper Cameron and dance troupe NEXXUS.

In addition, a juried art contest open to all artists in all mediums will take place during the Festival, where contestants will be asked to portray the Vivid Rhythms Festival in their own representation. The contest will be juried by students in Secor's performing arts management class. They will select first, second and third place winners, which will be announced before the last act.

 "Everyone is really excited for this contest," said Kristen Parker '11. "We wanted artists to be working during the Festival. The contest adds a unique element to this concept."

Other visual art activities will involve local artist vendors, and a student, Anna Boisvert '11, will offer free henna tattoo art.

The headlining band, Badfish, aims to "Keep Sublime Alive" as it travels along the East Coast states and reenacts performances of the late band Sublime. Together for 10 years, Badfish has been called one of the most memorable and accurate Sublime cover bands by reviewers after a 2010 performance at The Blue Note.

"The lead singer, Pat Downes, has an absolutely amazing voice and I would go as far to say that he can sing Sublime's songs just as well as, and with as much character as Brad Nowell," said Russel Perkins of  the 2010 show at The Blue Note  in Columbia, Mo. "If you like Sublime in the slightest, you owe it to yourself to get out and see Badfish in concert."

The Rice Cakes are an indie/progressive trio that use a mix of keyboard, vocals, tape distortion and guitar to create a sound that is uniquely their own, Secor said. Based in Rhode Island, they were named Best Local Act of 2010 by the Providence Phoenix, and recently recorded their first full-length album.

"The Rice Cakes deliver a captivating combination of powerful drums, a soulful voice, and great songs," said Isaac Paris of Performer Magazine.

Full Service is a reggae-influenced, metal band of brothers that will open the Festival immediately before Badfish.  MCLA students expect that Full Service will bring a new twist to ska music.

According to Sean Claes of INsite Magazine, "It's like they are committed to changing their listeners musical oil every few months. I'd criticize them if they were coming out with generic rock. . . but these guys seem to bleed good music."

Spooky and the Nomads is a student-based band of four that have a soft acoustic style reminiscent of 1990s jam bands. Over the winter break, the band recorded a six-song demo, "Worst Birthday Ever." The band recently opened for "Dala" at MCLA Gallery 51 and has performed locally at the Elf Parlor.

The Smoky Wambas are a student/ local band that has been in existence since 2003. Student Mike Martin '11, who is known as Mike Wamba on stage, recently opened for Dala at MCLA Gallery 51.

The Wolfman Conspiracy is a self-proclaimed "power reggae" band from western Massachusetts. "The rhythms diverse arrangement of musical style is a boisterous and flamboyant caravan of power; coupled with the energy of an inherently upbeat horn section. The overall effect is engaging and a lot of fun," according to

BAKEZ + DIXON are a local electron band that consists of two members who are from the area. They recently played to a full house at the Elf Parlor.

Cameron is an MCLA student rapper who will be performing at the DJ booth at the Festival.

Nexxus is a MCLA step group who combine South African welly dancing, marching and an organized series of stomping, clapping and snapping that gives this unique group-dance a lot of personality, according to Secor. In 2009, NEXXUS won the third place prize at The People's Choice Awards at Williams College.

Tickets to the Vivid Rhythms Festival are $12 for general admission, $5 for MCLA faculty and staff.  MCLA students attend the Festival for free. For more information about the Vivid Rhythms Festival, call Secor at (413) 664-8718. For tickets, call (413) 662-5204.