'Mini-Woodstock' planned for Eastover

Tuesday July 17, 2012

LENOX -- An outdoor, weekend rock festival -- BerkshireStock -- is scheduled for mid-September at Eastover Resort and could attract several thousand concertgoers and overnight campers to the property, according to organizers of the event.

The Sept. 15-16 extravaganza, with as many as 30 local and regional bands, is designed as a mini-Woodstock, said Michael Sayers, 42, who is partnering with Eastover co-owner Ying Xing Wang to host the festival.

"We've had something like this in mind for some time," said Wang, who wants to attract a youthful crowd to her renovated hotel and resort. She said all necessary permits for the event are in place and that Town Manager Gregory Federspiel and Building Commissioner William Thornton have been contacted.

"We have the blessing of the town," Wang said Monday.

Thornton agreed and added: "I hope it catches on. It would be a nice annual event."

Federspiel told The Eagle he has few details, "but whatever they propose has to be in keeping with zoning permits."

The event would become profitable if 1,900 tickets are sold, Sayers said.

Wang said she hopes for attendance ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 people, many of whom could camp overnight on the grounds.

The festival will feature electric and acoustic bands from mid-morning to mid-evening on both weekend days.

Eastover holds a 2012 town-issued entertainment license that permits live and taped music. The resort also has a 2012 innholder's license and a current state-issued license through the Tri-Town Health Department that allows overnight and recreational camping subject to state and local laws.

Lenox Senior Police Officer Timothy Sheehan said the department will post traffic-control details at both entrances to Eastover, located at 30 East St., near a residential neighborhood.

The festival's music would run from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16, Sayers said. No open flames will be allowed, though a controlled bonfire will be created on the natural amphitheater below Eastover's Heritage building. An outdoor stage will be constructed, Wang said.

Tickets cost $50, including the entire festival as well as camping privileges. Three licensed security firms are under consideration for the event.

Some proceeds from ticket sales would be used to finance a rebuilding of the storied Shaggy Dog recording studio off Route 7 (East Street) in Stockbridge.

In its heyday from 1969 through the 1970s, the studio was used by John Lennon, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Arlo Guthrie and Jimi Hendrix, among others.

Sayers, a Pittsfield native who returned to the Berkshires six months ago after living for 20 years in Tampa, Fla., and operating his Cloud 10 recording studio there, is caretaker of the Stockbridge property at 26A East St., owned by Jon Hartman.

The property now includes condos as well as the original -- but deteriorated -- Shaggy Dog studio building. It was hit by an arson fire in 1975 and then renovated. It closed about 20 years ago, according to Sayers.

West Stockbridge entrepreneur Alan Gordon Rose, who died in 1992, had owned the studio and the corporation bearing its name.

If all goes according to plan and he can obtain the necessary Stockbridge town permits, Sayers would renovate the building to create a fully functional recording studio. Otherwise, he said he might try to open a studio elsewhere in the county.

Sayers said he originally approached Stockbridge officials to use the Shaggy Dog area for his rock festival, but the site lacked the necessary zoning for such an event.

For BerkshireStock, he has booked nearly 30 original, cover and tribute bands, mostly from the Berkshires and surrounding areas. But Sayers said he now is being contacted by groups from Boston and New York City.

One of the bands, White Trash, is an eight-piece group based in New York state that offers "jazzy rock and roll," Sayers said.

He explained that after 600 tickets have been sold, he will be able to contract with three headliner bands from the ‘80s that he can't identify yet.

Proceeds from ticket sales first will go to pay the bands; then Sayers said he'll share the remaining amount with East over on a 50-50 split.

To contact Clarence Fanto:
or (413) 496-6247.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto.

If you go. . .

  • What: BerkshireStock, a two-day outdoor rock festival based on the 1969 Woodstock concept. Outdoor stage; indoor open-mike stage; volleyball, basketball courts. Full bar, food service, outdoor BBQ, art vendors, body painting, other activities.
  • Where: Eastover Resort, 430 East Street, Lenox.
  • When: Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16; amplified and acoustic music from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Overnight camping permitted; hotel rooms available.
  • How: $50 full-weekend tickets, including camping, available from Eastover at www.eastover.com, or 866-264-5139 and through organizer Michael Sayers, (413) 298-3893 or (413) 344-7866. (RV owners can contact Eastover for availability).
  • Participating bands (partial list): White Trash, Sugar Red Drive, Stairwell Sea, Clover, Hixx, Ghost of Vigoda, Mass All Day, Mountain Breeze, Reeno & AM, The Matchstick Architects, Engine Judy, Exo Vox, Kerry Moseley, Rik Reed, Blue Light Trio, Mushroom Cloud, Hydroelectric. Also: Tribute bands (Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Def Leppard, Phish).


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions