Allston festival is truly a free for all
Musicians, artists find inspiration in the DIY spirit
A bike-generated amplified music stage will be just one of the attractions at the second annual Allston DIY Fest, which runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow in Ringer Park. Twelve local bands will play on the stage, 10 acoustic acts will perform in a separate area of the park, and there’s time planned for open jamming, when anyone can participate.
But it’s not just about music. This year, the fest gives equal emphasis to other do-it-yourself media. All artists and artisans are welcome to display their creations wherever they can find space in the park. The festival also features a free market, where no money is exchanged: People can bring things they don’t need and take things they like. And workshops and skillshares will teach everything from fixing flat bike tires to “radical self-defense training.’’
Chris Longenecker, 24, a 2009 Suffolk University graduate, is one of the many people who helped organize the festival.
Q. What’s your role in the festival planning?
A. [I’m] one of many people who put in as much time and effort as they were interested in and capable of doing. There’s no organization doing this, there’s no hierarchy, there’s no bosses. [Everyone involved] is handing out fliers, telling people about open planning meetings and open discussions, and a lot of our decisions got made at those meetings. Of course there are people who put hundreds of hours into this project and other folks who have maybe just heard about it yesterday, but at those meetings, those two voices would be equal to one another. It’s an example of a nonhierarchical organizational structure. . . . I’m just doing the best I can with as much time and energy I have to put into it.
Q. What does DIY mean to you?
A. In the context of this event DIY means doing it yourself, which is what the acronym actually stands for, with whatever resources you have available to you. What we did is set up an event that cost no money - you know, it cost us no money to put on, and it costs nobody any money to attend. . . . To us, it was about building social connections between the music community in Boston, the arts community in Boston, the activist and political communities in Boston, and bringing together a lot of people whose lifestyles are not about making money or having fame or being important. They’re just about doing what they can with the resources they have available to them for just the joy of doing it, or because they know that it’s the right thing to do.
Q. What’s the purpose of the event?
A. There’s two primary purposes. One is that it’s just a celebration of a lot of different [DIY] communities in Boston that are doing really great things - not to get money or not to get recognition, but just because they enjoy doing them or they’re the right thing to do. . . . It’s also a way for those other folks who may not be involved in any of those communities to come and see what they’re all about and see other ways of living that don’t involve a heavy focus on money or consumerism.
Q. What’s the history of the festival?
A. [Last year,] we just wanted people to come and we wanted it to be spontaneous, which was great, it was a tremendous success. The most important thing that came out of it was a lot of connection. You know, the arts, music, and activist scenes in Boston really converged, and that work has carried on over the course of the year.
This year’s event is much larger and much more organized with much more infrastructure. [We’re] maintaining the spontaneity of the year before, where anybody can come and bring whatever they want. I think this year’s event will be the same thing, it will be a lot of different things that are happening in Boston that are brought together under the common banner of “Hey, we do this for the sake of doing it, we don’t like money.’’
Anna Marden can be reached at email@example.com.