“I don’t see why Newport should have all of the fun,” Shawn Barber of Goodnight Louise said into the microphone halfway through the band’s set at the Martha’s Vineyard Sound music festival on Saturday. “This is just as nice, isn’t it?”
With the sun shining, small children playing in the field and local food and craft vendors lining Waban Park, it would be tough to argue with Mr. Barber. In its first year, the music festival drew a substantial crowd of Islanders and tourists alike, many of whom brought along their families. While bands alternated and overlapped on stage, parents sat on beach chairs and picnic blankets as their kids played games and participated in arts and crafts set up throughout the park.
The music got underway just after 3 p.m. with a set from John Cruz, and continued well into the night. Local and national acts such as Alex Karalekas, Dwight & Nicole and Ben Taylor serenaded attendees with seven hours of blues, folk and rock ‘n’ roll.
In the back of the park, local artists Traeger di Pietro and Dan VanLandingham were hard at work, collaborating on a vibrant painting of a small boy walking in the park. The painting will be auctioned off next week, and all of the proceeds will go to the Island Collaborative, a non-profit that the festival is launching.
After a handful of family-friendly sets in the early afternoon, Will Evans took the stage around 5 p.m. and ramped up the energy. Although playing by himself, Mr. Evans made good use of a looping effect to create massive soundscapes. The crowd slowly built throughout the day and by the time Goodnight Louise took the stage a few hundred people lounged comfortably in the park. Goodnight Louise played a five-song set but then was called back up to the stage by Willy Mason to lay down backing music for his set. Mr. Mason continued to invite friends up to the stage, including Mr. Karalekas, who came back up for the last two songs.
DCLA and Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish played the last two sets of the night keeping the energy up and the crowd on their feet dancing.
The festival ended at 10 p.m. but attendees still had plenty of energy as they dispersed to satellite venues across Oak Bluffs and Edgartown where the show went on.