Arts Alive, ArtsFalmouth’s annual arts festival, returns on June 17 to 19, more vibrant and livelier than ever. The free festival offers an abundance of performances under two tents on the Falmouth Library Lawn, 300 Main Street, and a bigger- and more diverse-than-ever collection of artisans and craftspeople offering their wares on Shore Street Extended and Peg Noonan Park.
This year, ArtsFalmouth, Inc. is collaborating with the Falmouth Public Schools, the Cape Cod Cape Verdean Cultural Center and Museum, No Place for Hate, AmplifyPOC Cape Cod, and other organizations and individuals to celebrate Juneteenth, which falls on June 19.
Arts Alive opens at 5 PM on Friday, June 17, with a celebration and history of Juneteenth in the large Performance Tent. Jeanne Morrison, of AmplifyPOC Cape Cod and the League of Women Voters, will tell the story of Juneteenth, and State Rep. David Vieira will portray Major General Gordon Granger, the Union Army general who read Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to the enslaved residents of Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, more than two years after that document had set free all Confederate state enslaved people. Six students from Falmouth High School will portray six Black Heroes.
The Town Dance with Paradise Rock follows from 6 to 9 PM. Born on the streets of Woods Hole in 1982, The Paradise Rock Band played all the local bars and restaurants and went on to perform across the Cape and elsewhere, including numerous times at Arts Alive. Founding member and lead singer and guitarist Craigo Carlson has kept the band rocking for over 40 years with their Cape style classic covers from the Woodstock era and beyond. Seasoned pro drummer Alex Lane holds down the beat with Malcom Child on bass. Two keyboardists, Dickie Nolan and Eric Hayden, round out the band’s signature sound, while Greg Washburn fills in on saxophone.
Paradise Rock took their name from an actual rock—Paradise Rock off Stoney Beach in Woods Hole, the local kids’ favorite spot to leap into the water. “Stoney Beach was party central when we were young,” said Carlson, “even in winter.” Even 40 years later, that party spirit survives. The band’s upbeat music and infectious (in a good way) energy will get everyone smiling, tapping their toes, and dancing.
There will be over 60 artisans, nonprofit organizations, and food vendors at Arts Alive on Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM and on Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM, plus fun activities for the family, including a Scavenger Hunt, art activities, lawn games, artists on the lawn, a raffle, and more.
Over 30 performers offer fiddle, folk, jazz, rhythm & blues, funk, country, rock, classical, contemporary, Cape Verdean, light opera, and original singer/songwriter music, plus dance, spoken word performances, and more on Saturday from 10 AM to 9 PM and on Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM.
The Sonnay Fiddlers start things off at 10 AM Saturday in the Performance Tent. These talented students of Nikki Engstrom play a spirited set of Celtic Tunes.
They are followed at 11 AM by the Trident Chamber Ensemble which performs traditional classical through modern chamber music for piano, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. In the Music Tent, Morgaihne Huntress performs her one-woman show, “Allsorts: Smorgasbord,” an exploration of diversity, chronic illness, and acceptance told in spoken word and song.
Turning Pointe Dance Studio will offer a collection of contemporary and classical dances in the Performance Tent at noon, while Tom Cook takes a creative look at Legos in the Music Tent.
At 1 PM, L’Esperance Mandolins, a group of 20 players of mandolins of every size and shape, will play classical, folk, and jazz in the Performance Tent. Their repertoire is so large that they will continue with another show at 2 PM. In the Music Tent at 1 PM, the 82nd Street Band covers Bruce Springsteen songs and other music in his style.
Cat’s Melodeon will be at the Music Tent at 2 PM, playing traditional Irish tunes and songs, while, over in Peg Noonan Park, Richard Latimer will sing folk songs.
The Dawna Hammers Band takes the stage in the Performance Tent at 3 PM, performing cool and uplifting original soft rock, country, blues, and jazz. Meanwhile, in the Music Tent, Low Pressure offers indie rock tunes, both covers and originals, and Seadog (Wayne Stuck) sings acoustic music from the 1960s to the present at Peg Noonan Park.
At 4 PM, Khadija and Troupe Mirage offer Egyptian dance in the Performance Tent, complete with colorful flowing costumes, while singer/songwriter Kathleen Healy sings originals and classic folk covers in the Music Tent.
Falmouth Academy’s International Ensemble performs classical music and more on violin, viola, cello, and piano at 5 PM in the Performance Tent. In the Music Tent, it’s the Andrew Sexton Duo with Great American standards and originals.
Puffy Elvis rocks out from 6 to 7:30 PM in the Performance Tent, where all are invited to dance. A big, old-time rock ‘n’ roll band, Puffy Elvis is a high-energy group of teachers, retired teachers, and “some people who know teachers.” They play classic rock and some new tunes.
12-Step-Boogie takes over from 7:30 to 9 PM, playing a mix of R&B, blues, and rock. The band was formed in 2015, by three talented musicians who had each suffered the effects of drug and alcohol addiction. Through sobriety and unity, they joined together to revive their dreams and their music.
On Sunday, the music begins in the Performance Tent at 11 AM with the Shining Sea Strummers, an eclectic group of ukulele players who sing old favorites and encourage audience participation. In the Music Tent, Falmouth Public School students and educators join the Steller Story Company to share their stories of immigration to honor Juneteenth.
At noon, the Falmouth Fiddlers play fiddle tunes and songs on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, Irish whistle, cello, bass, and more in the Performance Tent, while the Familiars of Cape Cod sing and play folk, fiddle, country, Irish, and popular music from the 1950s through the 1980s in the Music Tent.
Candida Rose Baptista is featured in the Performance Tent at 1 PM, singing songs of resilience, inspiration, and love, in the spirit of Juneteenth. A dynamic vocalist and songwriter, Candida Rose integrates her Cape Verdean musical roots with American jazz, producing a mixture of jazz, rhythm & blues, and gospel that she calls KabuJazz. In the Music Tent, singer/songwriter Michael Shea performs originals and jazz standards, influenced by a variety of folk and soft rock legends.
The Groovalottos, who were a big hit at the Arts Alive 2021 Town Dance in September, return to the Performance Tent at 2 PM. A six-time Grammy-nominated soul-funk jam band that is “on a mission to turn every show into a party” celebrate the release of their latest album, “Mama’s Hamper—Pure Phunk,” and dancing is encouraged. At 2 PM in the Music Tent, singer/songwriter Rose Martin sings a mix of original and cover tunes in her soulful bluesy style.
At 3 PM in the Performance Tent, it’s the Juneteenth Spoken Word with Verde and rhyme by Morgan James Peters (Mwalim, lead singer of the Groovalottos), BMor7, and more. Bird at Sea performs in the Music Tent. This soulful and inventive alt/indie duo features original vocals with piano and guitar.
The College Light Opera Company (CLOC) and its cast of 35 singers and instrumentalists takes the Performance Tent stage at 3:30 PM with a selection of songs in celebration of Juneteenth. At 4 PM, singer/songwriter Richard Keith sings and plays harmonica and guitar in the Music Tent.
Finally, rounding out a music-filled weekend, the Teaticket Elementary School Chorus sings in the Performance Tent at 4:15 PM. This lively group of third and fourth graders loves to sing together, and it shows.
Arts Alive is made possible by grants from the Mass Cultural Council, the Falmouth Cultural Council, the Woods Hole Foundation, and the Cape Cod Melody Tent, as well as donations from local businesses and individuals.