9th annual Rock, Rattle and Drum Pow Wow draws crowd from all over


Photo Gallery | 2014 Rock Rattle and Drum Pow Wow This article was modified on Aug. 11, 2014 to update the location of Bowe Field. Bowe Field is located on Old Columbia Street in Adams.

ADAMS -- The air shimmered Sunday at Bowe Field.

The cause of some of that was surely the heat. But if one was to believe some of the performers at the 9th annual Rock, Rattle and Drum Pow Wow, the air also shimmered with good will and harmony.

"When you walk through here," said event co-chair Susan Jameson, "you can feel that this is a place of peace."

"Traditionally, Native American people have seen the spiritual side of the Earth," said featured performer Arvel Bird, a Southern Paiute Indian on his mother's side and a Scotsman on his father's.

An estimated 3,000 people made their way to Bowe Field on Old Columbia Street for the weekend, according to Jameson. They enjoyed intertribal and social dancing, performances by Bird, and the New York City-based Aztec Dancers.

There were more than 40 vendors surrounding the central celebration area, selling food and a wide variety of native crafts.

One of the interesting things discovered while traversing the Bowe Field grounds was that many attendees made long treks to be there.

"We drove over an hour to get here," said Stacy Hurn of Copake, N.Y.

Hurn said she enjoys several aspects of the event.

"Well, the music, for one thing," she said. "I love the drummers. I have CDs of these musicians and I listen to them all the time. It's very soothing. And of course, the colors. The colors [worn by the dancers are] great."

"This is my first Pow Wow," said Victoria Biller, 19, of Manchester, Vt. Biller was at the event with her mother, Nancy Biller, of Dorset, Vt. and boyfriend Ben Araznya, also of Manchester.

"I didn't know what to expect," said Victoria Biller. "My mom and dad have been going for years, though.

"I've enjoyed it," she said. "It's a little hot, but it's summer."

"We get people from the tri-state area and beyond," said Jameson. "But we also get people from all over the country."

Bird was clearly the featured performer of the day. But his music is not purely Native American. It has Celtic and folk influences, as well.

"Well, it's been described as ‘Braveheart' meets ‘Last of the Mohicans' -- at Woodstock," he said with a smile. "What I do is a blending both musically and historically, of cultures."

Bird plays violin, Native American flutes and Irish whistles. He does not lack for material. He has released 23 CDs, two EPs and two DVDs.

His roots have a local connection: His great-great grandfather was a Great Barrington native, John Pratt Kennedy.

He explained that the Pow Wows of the 21st century "means the same things as it always has. A healing convention of people."

To reach Derek Gentile:
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile


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