BOOM aiming to cultivate local musicians and bands

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PITTSFIELD — A pair of area musicians hope a collaboration of performers, theatres, night clubs and media will have them in tune with a vibrant Berkshire music scene.

Sandy McKnight of Lee and Tom Conklin from Pittsfield are spearheading the formation of Berkshire Organization for Original Music — BOOM — they say will foster more opportunities for Berkshire singer/songwriters and bands to play live, record their music and generally promote local talent and their original music.

An organizational meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, 7 p.m. in the Boland Theatre at Berkshire Community College campus on West Street.

"We noticed that there is no information available to the original artist about where they can be heard and no conduit for the exchange of information," McKnight said. "Each individual original artist must do their own research whenever they create a new CD or want to get the word out about an upcoming show."

BOOM also wants to encourage more venues to take a chance on Berkshire-based artists playing their own music.

"Getting people to come to hear new music is a challenge and we feel that may dissuade venues from wanting to showcase it," Conklin noted. "One of the things we want to do is to work with non-traditional venues like colleges and other organizations they might want to host some shows."

BOOM will be under the auspices of Columbia Arts Team, an existing non-profit McKnight runs with Liv Cummins. The organization will have an advisory committee consisting of representatives from the local music industry, businesses and cultural institutions, and other interested parties. BOOM's core group will focus on handling the media, venues, songwriters/musicians community, regional and college outreach.

Part of that outreach rests with performers relying on all promotional avenues.

"Because of the changing nature of the music business, people need to be aware of how best to use social media, licensing opportunities, and other tools available to them for exposure," McKnight said.

Membership to BOOM will be open to all musicians performing or looking to create original songs and businesses willing to cultivate local original music.

Conklin says initial support for BOOM has spread beyond the Berkshire borders.

"We have some interest from musicians in the Bennington, Vt. area as well parts of Columbia County as Canaan, New Lebanon, and Chatham [N.Y.}," he said.

For more information regarding BOOM, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/boomberkshires.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413 496-6233.


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