PlumFest returns this weekend, weather permitting | local news

Plum Island — Depending on where Hurricane Lee decides to go, 100 bands will rock more than 50 porches and aisles Saturday as PlumFest returns for its eighth year.

The event, which raises money for the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Merrimack Valley’s music education program, features many local bands along with great talent from around the area.

“It’s the best day on Plum Island,” event director Mary Ellen Powers said.

As of Wednesday, Hurricane Lee was tracked hugging the East Coast and potentially gnawing at Massachusetts just hours before the start of PlumFest scheduled for noon.

Organizers, along with the Newbury Police Department, are closely monitoring weather conditions and will provide updates on Hurricane Lee’s path beginning Thursday morning, Powers said. More information will be released Friday morning and afternoon with a final decision made Saturday at 8 a.m

Criteria for canceling the event include high winds and heavy rain. For example, a combination of heavy rain and strong winds could flood the only road in and out of Plum Island, stranding PlumFest guests and musicians.

“The upcoming weather event is definitely a concern,” Newbury Police Chief Patty Fisher said.

Fisher also said the decision to cancel rests solely with the festival organizers since it is not a city event. That doesn’t stop her or City Marshal Mark Murray from making recommendations.

“I caution non-residents who intend to go to Plum Island during any storm to be aware that they could easily end up stranded if the Plum Island Turnpike is flooded,” Fisher said. “Our shelter options on Plum Island for non-residents on the island are Little to none.”

Fisher added that visitors often forget that Plum Island is an island.

“It is separated from the mainland by a single ingress and egress road, and in this way it floods frequently, thus completely separating the island from the mainland for unpredictable periods of time,” she said. “Wind plays a major role in how long it takes for high tide to recede, making it difficult to predict how long Mother Nature will close the Plum Island Turnpike.”

Among the many returning bands is the Pathological Outliers, who will once again play out of Ron and Diane Barrett’s house on Hutchins Road.

“It’s just a blast,” lead singer Ed Cameron said.

Cameron said his band, which has been participating in PlumFest for six or seven years, will play a roughly 90-minute set beginning at 3:30 p.m.

“We’ll go until Ron and Diane pull the plug on us,” he said.

When Cameron was asked to describe PlumFest to someone who had never experienced it before, he described it as a “low-key” event.

“But you’re going to hear some great talent,” he said.

Pathological outliers are not outliers when it comes to bands performing at a particular location. Nearly 80% of participating teams this year coordinated their appearances and set times with the homeowners, Powers said. The remaining 20% ​​of the ranges were assigned random locations.

Asked if this reality turns PlumFest into a members-only event, Powers said she wants to continue providing a stage for all musicians.

Cameron described the dynamic as “a big problem that we have to face”.

This year’s talent pool will include three or four young performers from the Newburyport and Triton school systems, Powers said. The performers will all take to the stage outside Mad Martha Restaurant.

“I’m really excited about it.” The authority said. “I hope it takes root.”

Among the younger voices singing Saturday is Eloise Kirkpatrick, 18, of Triton Regional High School.

“It’s really fun because the whole island comes to life,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick, who rocked PlumFest last year for the first time, described her music as 90s-meets-Americana. Her two-hour set will include songs by Taylor Swift, Radiohead and Mazzy Star.

Kirkpatrick said she was excited about the idea of ​​highlighting teen artists at the event.

Powers and Cameron said the festival is in keeping with the low-key nature of Plum Island, which Cameron likened to Key West, Florida.

“There’s definitely a PI vibe there for sure,” Cameron said.

Set times are staggered throughout the afternoon with each location hosting multiple bands, the idea being to not have musicians drowning out each other and to ensure the island doesn’t become too overwhelming for homeowners to participate.

“Without them, we wouldn’t have PlumFest because the private homes are the stages,” Powers said, referring to the participating homeowners.

Powers said the festival works so well because the island is populated not only by musicians and artists, but also by major music fans.

She pointed to the regular parties at the Sunset Club, Plum Island Grille and Plum Island Beachcoma, all of which host live music. There are also many beach crowds during the summer that attract a lot of talent and fans, Powers said.

“Plum Island is home to many musicians, artists and people who love music,” Powers said. “It’s a day of celebration, a celebration of the great talent on Plum Island.”

Assuming the event is ready, organizers hope people will take advantage of the free shuttle service from Plum Island Airport that runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Car sharing is also encouraged as there is a limited amount of parking on the island and, in general, street parking is not permitted. Police officers have been appointed to oversee public safety and traffic enforcement.

“It usually goes off without a hitch, and the last few years have been a great time,” Powers said.

More information about PlumFest can be found on their website:

Dave Rogers is editor of the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

(Tags for translation)Music

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