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Williamstown Music Festival Moves to Former Church

By Stephen Dravis
11:00AM / Friday, March 07, 2014
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This year's Billstock will be held at the Williamstown Community Preschool, in the former church's sanctuary.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — It is a good bet that the Devil never felt more welcome in a former church building.
 
The Devil in the Delta will be one of the headliners when Billstock IV, Williamstown's music festival, takes over the sanctuary of the former Methodist Church on Main Street on Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8.
 
Don't worry about any satanic overtones from the 20-year-old, self-described "indi-punk-noise-pop band."
 
In fact, don't even look for the regional overtones implied by the other half of the group's name.
 
"The name Devil in the Delta would lead you to believe it's kind of zydeco," Billstock organizer Mike Williams said. "But it's not really. They're more of an indie college rock thing."
 
Two actual college bands from Williams are among the 12 scheduled to perform at the festival, which was hosted at Hops & Vines last winter but this year hops across Water Street to the former church, now owned by the Williamstown Community Preschool.
 
It is the first time the school has hosted a community event in the sanctuary, which serves as indoor playspace for WCP's preschool, after school and summer camp programs.
 
"We're really excited about sharing the space," said Christa Abel, the president of WCP's board of directors. "We think it's a great event to have in there because of the variety of people and ages who will get in and use the space.
 
"When the building was first purchased, we knew we would want to share the space with the community."
 
Abel said the school has no specific plans for other such partnerships, and it will re-evaluate the model after Billstock wraps up on Saturday.
 
In the meantime, the school is gearing up for its own musical event in the sanctuary, WCP's second annual Spring Fling fund-raiser, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 12.
 
Billstock's Williams said he is excited about the opportunity to hold the festival at the former church, which promises great acoustics for Devil in the Delta, Mommyheads, Joe Sparta and The Sneak Attack (formerly known as The Trophy Husbands) and all the other acts set to perform Friday and Saturday night.
 
"It's spacious, it's welcoming, there's great sound, and it's a really good way to inaugurate community events in that building," Williams said. "I think it's going to look great, too, on top of everything else. It's a great building.
 
"I have wanted to have Billstock there the last three years, and it's finally going to happen this year."
 
Returning audience members will recognize several of the acts as Billstock staples, but the lineup also features new names like Devil and Mommyheads.
 
"Everyone has a strong local connection," Williams said. "For the Mommyheads, the bass player lives in North Adams and works in Williamstown. His kid goes to [Williamstown Elementary School]. He's part of the fabric of the community. ... The other three members live in New York and Toronto.
 
"They've toured a lot in Europe and the United States. They're probably our biggest name. It's not their first time in Williamstown, but it's their first time at Billstock."
 
Bringing in new acts while celebrating old favorites is a big part of the Billstock mission.
 
"It's a really nice mix of old and new this year," Williams said. "The bill is pretty evenly divided between people who have been here and performed practically every year and people who have never appeared before.
 
"Some of the bands that have appeared before have slightly different lineups. Some of the new bands incorporate people from [familiar] bands."
 
Billstock starts at 7 p.m. on Friday and 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $10 for both nights, $7 for one night and $5 for students (both nights). For more information and a schedule of bands, visit billstock.wordpress.com.

Tags: billstock,   music festival,   

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