MassGathering draws thousands at new venue

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Photo Gallery | Mass Gathering at Ski Butternut

GREAT BARRINGTON — Runners mingled with music fans at Ski Butternut over the weekend, as this year's edition of MassGathering unfolded under at times cloudy and rainy skies.

Promoter Matthew Linick estimated that more than 2,000 people congregated at Butternut over the two-day festival on Saturday and Sunday.

"It's a little tough to get a solid number," he admitted. "There are a large group of campers on the ridgeline that we haven't counted. But I think we're in the neighborhood [of 2,000]."

Great Barrington Police reported that, overall, there were no major problems. There were a handful of thunderstorms later Sunday afternoon.

This is the first time MassGathering has been in Great Barrington. In previous years, the event was held at Tanglewood in Lenox.

"Different," said Linick of the Great Barrington venue. "But the people here have been great, very accommodating. We've really enjoyed working with them,."

Each day featured two separate series of events. The morning would feature foot races, with the afternoon and evening showcasing a strong musical bill each day.

Sunday's races featured a marathon, half-marathon, 10 kilometer and five kilometer race.

By all accounts, the key factor was the early-morning heat, which was around 85 degrees by 10 a.m.

"The heat was bad," admitted Sheela Clary of West Stockbridge, who ran the five kilometer. "The first hill right out of Butternut was brutal. But after that, it was rolling hills."

Her friend, Nerissa Bardfeld of Richmond, agreed that the initial hill was a problem. She recounted that a runner in front of her threw up.

"The heat was nasty," said Allyson Arnetti of Danbury, Conn. Arnetti conceded that she didn't actually run any of the races.

"No," she said, with a laugh. "My boyfriend ran. I was just here to make sure he was okay."

Full results for all races both days can be found at www.areep.com.

On both days, there was a concert in the evening. On Saturday, Grammy-nominated Reggae virtuoso Matisyahu was the headliner. The lineup also included Rhode Island-based Deer Tick, Madaila, Strange Machines and several other bands.

"Matisyahu keeps the faith," reported Allan Davis of New York City. "He's just an amazing musician."

On Sunday night, the Gin Blossoms performed, as well as Wild Adriatic, Parsonfield and West End Blend.

There didn't seem to be a lot of crossover on Sunday, at least in a fairly small sample of interviews. The runners, for the most part, didn't stick around for the show, which ws slated to begin at 4:30.

"Probably not," said runner Davis Dillard of Albany, N.Y. when asked Sunday morning if he planned to stay for the music. "I have to get back to the family. But I'm sure it'll be great."


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