November 13, 2008


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Following up the Thing in the Spring
Show Before the Snow is two days of art and music

By Dana Unger

In the small hamlet of Peterborough, a big music and arts festival is brewing. Organized by Eric Gagne, one half of the Peterborough-based acoustic folk duo Redwing Blackbird, and resident Ryan Wilson, The Show Before the Snow features two days of live music as well as Broke: The Affordable Arts Fair.

Though this isn’t the first time for this kind of festival in Peterborough, it is the first one the organizers have done this time of year.

“We did a similar one of these in the spring,” Gagne said. “Ryan and I were talking last year about doing one of these in the winter as well and thought it would be a great idea.”

Gagne is known to area locals not only for his music but also as an artist, musical organizer and booker, as well as an employee at the Peterborough branch of the Toadstool Bookshop.

“In booking shows, I’ve gotten to meet so many different people, to see who’s really around,” Gagne said. “I only work with artists that I’m really into. I was starting to spread myself pretty thin, and decided to only do stuff like this only when I could be 100 percent invested in it.”

Wanting to showcase the diversity of musical artists in New Hampshire and New England, Gagne started booking shows and festivals in the Peterborough area.

“I really like where I live, but there wasn’t really anything going on,” Gagne said. “I thought about doing stuff like this — bringing out music that is experimental and a little avant garde — and mostly, people here are pretty receptive to it.”

The Show Before the Snow will kick off on Friday, Nov. 21, at 6:30 p.m. with performances from Ampere, Daniel Striped Tiger, and Moving Pictures at Reynold’s Hall, 51 Concord St., in Peterborough.

For those interested in buying advance tickets for the two-day festival, organizers are offering something special.

“We are doing a pre-sale ticket for $15, which not only gets you into both days of the shows, but also gets you an original hand-screened poster and handmade screened ticket,” Gagne said.

 On Saturday, Nov. 22, the performances will continue with MV&EE, Larkin Grimm, and Lonesome Lake, starting at 6 p.m., at the Toadstool Bookshop, 12 Depot Square. In addition to music, the second day of the fest will feature Broke: the Affordable Arts Fair, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Peterborough Town Hall.

Broke began a few months ago with the “The Thing in the Spring,” concert, Gagne said. The fair features 50 artists, selling most of their pieces for less than $50. Organizers say the concept was born out of wanting to bring great, affordable art to the public.

“There is a little bit of everything available,” said organizer Ryan Wilson. “Paintings, pottery, prints, and illustrations — pretty much every medium you can imagine.”

True to the grassroots nature of the show, Gagne says the musicians playing the festival come with the desire to bring great music to audiences hungry for something different.

“Usually the places you go to see live music in the state are just out to make money,” he said. “When you get bigger bands, you have to charge more, and they have riders and insane contracts. I really try and work with groups that are interested in just having an attentive audience. They may not have a thousand people there, but they do have a hundred people who are really invested in hearing what they have to play.”

“We’ve really tried to get a wide range of artists for this show from all over New England,” Gagne said. “What’s great is that we are able to get people who are willing to travel to come to these shows — driving in from Maine and Vermont. They are all really engaged in the music.”

The Show Before the Snow
When: Friday, Nov. 21, and Saturday, Nov. 22

Where: Reynold’s Hall, Town Hall, and the Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough.

Tickets: $15 (in advance), $10 (per show, the day of). Send check or money order to Eric Gagne, c/o Toadstool Bookshop, 12 Depot Square, Peterborough, NH 03458. Include the number of tickets needed and the name to be held under. Tickets can also be purchased at the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough and Turn It Up in Keene. For more information, e-mail

The Music
• Ampere: Authentic punk music from Amherst.
• Daniel Striped Tiger: Indie jazz/punk foursome from Boston.
• Moving Pictures: New Hampshire folk trio showcasing dynamic orchestrations.
• MV&EE: Brattleboro rural blues and loud psychedelic rock musings.
• Larkin Grimm: Folk and psychedelic singer and songwriter.
• Lonesome Lake: Acoustic folk trio from the White Mountains.