JP A to Z: W is for Wake Up the Earth #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


W is for Wake Up the Earth

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.

 

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JP A to Z: S is for Spontaneous Celebrations #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


S is for Spontaneous Celebrations

Wake Up the Earth-1

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.

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Photopost: Wake Up The Earth 2013


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.

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A peace sign and yin yang grow out of the hillside at Jamaica Pond’s Sugar Bowl.
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Peace and flowers!
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The Brendan Behan quote seems appropriate to the occassion.
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Spanish banner for the festival.
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Here comes the parade.
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The stilt walkers always impress.
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I’m pretty sure this woman participates every year.
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The theme of the year is snakes and these folks won the Best Family Costume award.
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Hula hooping is another big highlight of the festival.
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Mobile percussion unit.
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The wolf and the lamb dance in the street.
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A rocking marching band and dancing stilt walker.

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Scholars from my son’s school march.
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Getting brassy.
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The Mystical Misfits lead the dance.

More photos from the parade and festival on Universal Hub and JP Patch.

Previously: