Sunday, May 18, 2008

Get Out of Boston: Stearns Square CityBlock Party Concerts

(originally published by on Aug. 01 2006)

A free concert put on every Thusday Night in the summer by the Springfield Business Imporovement District starts at 7:30 pm, and runs till late. The event first happened in 1999 and has been a huge success since, drawing 4,000 to 6,000 people for each Thursday night, and has become a big draw for bikers and music lovers from NY, Conn., Eastern Mass., Rhode Island, and Vermont, in addition to Western Mass. locals. With 1,000 to 2,000 bikers riding up to spend the night listening to music, eating, drinking, and flossing, the bikes themselves have become a major draw of the event. Bike Night has become the unofficial name, and though the bands that play also aide in bringing people to the event, such as when the Yardbirds played recently on July 20th, the aesthetics of seeing thousands of bikes in all their made-up glory has brought many people downtown to the concerts to see and be seen. In addition to the many bars in the immediate vicinity that draw bikers, college kids, clubbers, and everybody in between, the night itself is, quite literally, a big party. With the ability to take drinks onto the street in a large designated swath of the block, the merriness all around is intoxicating in and of itself.

With locals who like to gawk, families looking to enjoy a pleasant evening, people there to see the bands, and bikers who want to show off their rides, the event (more like three events in one) is a hodgepodge of all kinds of people who are enjoying themselves. Bostonist was there for the first time this year to see the Yardbirds Concert, and has attended many events in the past. The number of people attending continues to grow every year, approaching 6,000 last week. The event takes place between Worthington St. and Bridge St. with every alleyway, parking lot, side street, and other available space filled with bikes, parked and riding. Vroom Vroom!

Taryn Markham, in her first year as Public Relations & Marketing Manager for SBID was surprised to see how it comes together every Thursday. She says she hears over and over from first-time attendees, "I can't believe this is Springfield." Oh, this is indeed Springfield, and we believe it.

With many shows still to be played, you have six more weeks to get on your bike and ride down.

For more information, call Taryn Markham at (413) 781-1591.