Tuesday August 28, 2012

LENOX -- A highly publicized outdoor rock festival slated for Eastover Resort on the weekend of Sept. 15-16 faces cancellation within several days unless cash sponsors can be lined up.

Organizer Michael Sayers of Stockbridge, declaring that he's "flat broke" after spending $2,800 to launch the event, told The Eagle on Tuesday that "I'm looking for a hero" to salvage the festival, which has nearly 40 local and regional bands lined up to perform over the two-day extravaganza dubbed BerkshireStock.

But, despite efforts to line up cash sponsors, Sayers said he has not succeeded in landing the $17,000 he needs to set up an outdoor stage on the Eastover property and to pay for three 1980s headliner groups -- Skid Row, Dokken, and L.A. Guns.

Sayers suggested he could forego those bands but would still require $7,000 to pay for the cost of the outdoor stage, which would host bands from 9 a.m. until late evening on both days. Overnight camping would be encouraged on the property, which has the required state-issued permits.

"If I don't line up something by this weekend, I'll cancel the festival and release the bands so they can line up gigs elsewhere," he said.

One potential sponsor, the Berkshire Bank Foundation, declined Sayers' application because it only funds nonprofit organizations and usually not in the amount Sayers sought, said Lori Gazzillo, assistant vice president for community relations at Berkshire Bank.

Among the groups that had been eagerly anticipating the festival was T Bone Daddy, the three-man band founded by Jiminy Peak co-owner Tyler Fairbank, who's also CEO of the environmental company EOS Ventures, based in Hancock.

Fairbank described the proposed event as a "cool, fun weekend" and said he believed the festival was being "embraced" by the county's music community and its supporters.

Sayers said he and the participating bands have distributed several hundred promotional tickets, but that only a few $50 tickets, good for the two-day weekend, had actually been sold to concertgoers.

Asked if BerkshireStock had been promoted sufficiently, Sayers said that at least 2,000 posters have been displayed from Kent, Conn., to Florida, in Northern Berkshire County.

Ying Xing Wang, managing partner of Eastover Resort, has been unavailable for comment but had enthusiastically touted the event when it was first unveiled in mid-July.

Under the original proposal, Eastover and Sayers would have shared the ticket proceeds.

Sayers hoped to use the money to revive Shaggy Dog Studios in Stockbridge, where he lives as a caretaker. The studio was well-known in the 1970s and 1980s for hosting recording sessions by prominent artists such as Jimi Hendrix, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie and John Lennon.

An updated, expanded version of this report will appear in upcoming on-line and print editions of The Eagle.