Florence Night Out, May 6, 2016

12783675_1104472499603551_1638131287729634225_o (1)It’s almost spring, and most of the snow has melted, the flowers early spring blooms are coming out, and there is an air around town that spring may have finally put the last nail in the coffin of Winter 2015-2016.

Now that things are starting to warm up, it is time to get out for Florence Night Out! There has been a huge (yuuge?) outpouring of support this year from local businesses and the art community. We also got a grant from Arts Boston and listed on their calendar. From now until the event, we will be posting updates here and on our Facebook page.

See you all May 6th!



The Big Run Down

1495126_964923830225086_2160249954534603324_oFlorence Night Out is all about getting out and seeing new things with the community. It is about engaging with each other and those around us with art, music, food and fun. It is about stepping out of the normal routine and seeing what has been going on and who is here, sharing our space with us. We are happy to share this experience with you, and we hope everyone enjoys everything.

There are quite a few people to thank for making this event possible. Please be sure to check out our sponsor page and support those who support us!

Flowton Hoops will have popup performances all over town. Hula hoopers will be dancing to the music from one end of Main St to the other. Dust off your old hula hoop and join the ladies as they demonstrate a combination of dance and hooping. Some good places to look for them will be at the Porch at the Florence Civic Center where there will be music all afternoon from Ray Mason,  11422910_10206571403820588_1211266791_oEva Cappelli, Wild Cat O’Haleran, and The Mary Jane Jones.

From the the Civic Center, you can cross the street to the VFW to see Creature Machine, Carl Hopkins and Steve Piper downstairs or go upstairs to see the a cappella groups Soul Magnet and the Connotations. They are going to sound great in the chapel so be sure to see them upstairs.

The Free to be a Child Early Childhood Program will at the Florence Arts and Business Center (the FAB). This is going to be a fun installation done by children ages three to ten on the hill on the side of the FAB. It is going to be a fantastic display.

Wine and Canvas will be back at the FAB as well for some free painting sessions every half hour from 4-7pm. From there you can come downstairs to Valley Free Radio. 485729_10150707738534831_1475311269_nIf you have never been in a radio station, come on in to the only community, all volunteer-run station in the area. You can record your very own station ID that will go right on air!

The Cup and Top has a full line up of young local musicians. The Leafies You Gave Me, Wishbone Zoe, Mad Habits, and the Flame N’ Peach & the Liberated Waffles will be playing out back along with the improv group HampImprov made up of students from Heidi Haas’ improve class. Grab a spring roll or a burger before going to JJ’s Tavern for the Lefty’s Tap Takeover. Lefty’s will have samples and Mikey Sweet will be playing.

Cafe Evolution and Cooper’s Corner, down the other end of Main Street, also have plenty to enjoy. Cooper’s will be having a beer, wine, and food tasting going all day, and the Serenata Mandolin Trio will be playing from 5-6pm. Rick Murnane will be kicking off things at Cafe Evolution, then the Woman’s Songwriter Collective will be taking over the spot for the rest of the day. Carolyn Walker, Lexi Weege, Lisa Marie Ellinson, and Christa Joy will be performing together.

On the other side of town, the David Ruggles Center will be open to the public. There will be a walking tour of some of the historic locations around Florence. The Spirit of the Hills Chorus will be performing at 4:30pm, sponsored by Collective Copies.

Don’t forget about North Maple St! Pivot Media and Maple and Main will have open houses with some light snacks and of course, wine. Check out some art and enjoy the Goodnight Moons over at Pivot Media.

Whew! That is a lot going on. Check out the events page for  full listing and times. Thank you to everyone for making this a success.

Much love.


Thursday on Valley Free Radio, Cup and Top Performers

11169546_827633173993566_731864788424605176_oThis Thursday, the Valley will get a little preview of what to expect on June 20 at Cup and Top.

The Quiz Show with Josh Braska aka Whiz Quiz is on 103.3 FM Valley Free Radio from 6-9 a.m. every Thursday morning bringing local music, news of the weird, and special guests. This week, there will be a spotlight on the Cup and Top performers.

Florence Night Out and Valley Free Radio would like to thank the Cup and Top for their full and continued support of the community, the arts, and this event.

Here is the line up!

3:00pm The Leafies You Gave Me

4:00pm Wishbone Zoe

5:00pm HampImprov (improv students from Heidi Haas’ improv class, ages 8+)

6:00pm Mad Habits

7:00pm Flame N’ Peach & the Liberated Waffles

Mikey Sweet at JJ’s Tavern

mikeysweet_photo_gal_all_photo_1320449912The first time I heard Mikey Sweet was at Luthier’s in Easthampton. I was on my way home and didn’t feel quite like finishing the trip yet, so I went in to grab a Ginger Libation. It was early if you were late and late if you were old, but the place was full none the less. I saw four guys on stage and decided to give them a try.

What happened next is hard to tell. I stayed for one drink, but in that time I heard some great songs. There’s something about Americana-rock in a room full of guitars and candle light that just whispers of western Massachusetts, especially with songs about Mill River. The atmosphere at Luthier’s is homey to begin with, but Mikey’s music made all of us feel a little closer to where we were.

A few weeks later, Mikey was playing at the Iron Horse and came on my radio show. We talked about music, of course, but we also talked about some of the themes, mainly jail and our experiences in and around it. The North King is Mikey Sweet’s newest album available online where music is sold. He will also have CDs available at JJ’s Tavern on June 20th at 5:00pm for Florence Night Out.

Florence Night Out

After producing Florence Night Out for one and a half years, Donnabelle Casis decided to return focus to her own work. She handed the reigns to


Joshua Braska of Valley Free Radio in November 2014. Josh had collaborated with Donnabelle on Florence Night Out since the first one in September 2012. She had laid the foundation for the event and Josh had promoted FNO on his radio show.

Valley Free Radio supports the local music scene. Together with local musicians, artists, and businesses, VFR will continue to take the vision of creativity and community forward with Florence Night Out.

FNO Fall 2014 Highlights

FNO Artists + Performers: Free Range Cats


Free Range CatsFree Range Cats is a 5 piece band of valley veterans. The previous projects associated with these guys are impressive…… King Radio, The Drunk Stuntmen, Shokazoba, Page 6, The Lisa Palumbo Band, and an oldie but goodie (from the 90’s).. Rockin Dave and The Rent Party.
This is an instrumental-based band with a peppering of vocals in just the right spots. New Orleans, Afro beat, funk, some soul inspired bits and some simple songs that tell great stories. One minute you are moving to an upbeat, body moving jam, with chaotic yet beautiful horns and then it will quiet down to a whisper with a cool ballad.
Out front is Dave Trenholm; an exciting horn player, who has been a go to guy for years. Dave takes center stage for the first time… it’s worth the trip just hear him play. Tasteful piano and organ playing, percussion reminiscent of Fela and The Talking Heads and a bass and drum combo that lock the whole thing together. That’s right…. no guitar player folks. Though the horn stands out front, this is an ensemble and everybody shines.

Greg Eramo says: “Florence Night Out is a big deal for the neighborhood….. there’s a lot of talent behind all these doors and some great shops owned by some even greater people. FNO reminds me of an outdoor version of the Pro Brush building (Arts and Industry) open houses from when I had a studio there in the mid 90’s. I hope FNO continues to evolve and pop up many times per year. Walking out my front door to a party is always great fun.
Free Range Cats have been a band for almost 3 years and it all started in a basement just a few feet from the bike path in the center of town. Sometimes when we stop playing you can hear a few claps and a woohoo(!) coming from outside. So the idea of putting our faces to the sounds will be nice.”

93 MAIN ST. (Upton-Massamont Coldwell Banker)