The winters in Jamaica Plain can be very harsh, so each spring the neighborhood explodes in springtime joy at the Wake Up the Earth Festival. The event, sponsored by Spontaneous Celebrations, begins with festive DIY parades that converge on the Southwest Corridor Park near Stony Brook station for a full day of music, dance, storytelling, food, arts, and a whole lot of fun.
The festival originated from the protests that stopped the construction of I-95 through the heart of Boston in the 1960s & 70s leading to the construction of the Southwest Corridor linear park instead. Today instead of 40,000 cars a day, the Southwest Corridor moves people on trains (Amtrak, commuter rail, & Orange Line), bikes, feet, scooters, and skateboards, and one day of the year a wicked awesome party.
If the A to Z challenge extended into May, I could “live blog” the Wake Up the Earth Festival on May 7, but in the meantime you’ll have to check out some photos from the previous 7 years.
On an otherwise quiet back street near Stony Brook station stands this festive building. It was built in the 1870s as the clubhouse for the Boylston Schul-Verein, one of the many ethnic social clubs common in Jamaica Plain in the 19th century. Today it is home to Spontaneous Celebrations, a contemporary community group that brings people together for many social and activist activities. I’ve spent many hours in the building for choir practice and dance parties, and it always seems booked for rehearsals, art projects, concerts, parties, and meetings.
Spontaneous Celebrations’ signature event is The Wake Up the Earth Festival, but you’ll have to wait for my April 27th post to read about it here.
Post for “S” in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
Spring descended on Jamaica Plain this past weekend with the annual Wake Up the Earth Festival presented by Spontaneous Celebrations. This was the 35th annual festival, an event that grew out of the “highway revolt” of the 1960s & 70s when local activists opposed the construction of highway infrastructure in Jamaica Plain & Roxbury, leading to the creation of the Southwest Corridor as a system of train lines, bike paths, and parks that we enjoy today. Ironically, some people who want to create new prioritized highway infrastructure for cars marched in this year’s parade which I guess shows that this festival takes all kinds. The festival itself was home to many tents of activists of many causes, food, games, and musical performances. My family and I sang a few songs with the intergenerational chorus SingPositive, JP in preparation for our concert on May 19th. We also danced to Maaak Pelletier’s jam band the Mystical Misfits as they played Grateful Dead classics. Finally, the potato sack slide down the hillside was great fun for everyone.