New Marlborough — Gedney Underground is a new music series on Wednesday nights dedicated to local artists. At bucolic Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, Tyler Stanton (of the local act Fallen Starlets) is in charge of booking bands. I spoke to him on Thursday.
We talked about why he will only book local bands, what it’s like to work at Gedney Farm, and why people will drive to New Marlborough to see music.
SB: You’re the booking manager and bartender for the Gedney Underground. On opening night, you were told to stay behind the bar, but I have photo evidence of you dancing. What would your boss think of this?
TS: I’m pretty sure my boss was also dancing at that point. And who would really expect me to follow the rules?
SB: Are you worried that, because you aren’t hiring big name bands, that you’ll be overlooked?
TS: At first I was faced with that conflict: booking well known bands that fill the venue and make money, versus booking local underground bands, maybe get a small group of fans, maybe break even. It comes down to having faith in the local musicians to see something of value and support it. We will fill this venue and work with the underdog to do it. I will always offer shows to local talent with the drive to succeed.
SB: So you’re taking a risk for the sake of local music.
TS: I’m taking a risk because I want this venue to succeed– not just so I can have a job, but so the musicians have a job too. Everyone on our creative team put in extra effort to make our opening night a success. Our marketing and sales manager stayed up late hand painting our sign at her house. True dedication. I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel to work with this team. Gedney Underground is purely a labor of love. The time and effort put in by everyone is astounding. And it’s not just about local music. As a business we support local vendors, breweries and farms.
SB: Gedney Farm seems to be laid back in that way. The other night at the Underground’s premiere there were a lot of employees just hanging out. Do you feel like that relaxed attitude will be felt at the concerts?
TS: Absolutely! We are much more than employees; we take pride in the work we do and consider ourselves a community. The employees hanging out were actually not scheduled to be there– they were supporting our new venture.
SB: It showed. The chef didn’t stop handing us food the whole night. You also have a varied selection of artists; last Wednesday it was the Berkshire Mountain Rambler, and this coming week will be Chris Merenda and Bruce Mandaro. The week after that is my indie rock band, Polysonic Joy. Is the eclecticism intentional?
TS: Yes. My goal in booking music is to be consistent in hiring local bands. Of course I will have bands from out of town coming in for events, but I don’t ever want to stop being a destination to enjoy hearing the starving artists in our community. The genre isn’t important.
SB: Will the Fallen Starlets ever play the Underground?
TS: Oh yeah! I’ll sneak them in. I plan on getting plenty of fun acts in there. Polysonic Joy, for example, is going to be a great time!
SB: Yeah, I was surprised to get invited to play a show in New Marlborough. It’s hard to imagine people driving all the way out there to see original music, but then I remember the Dreamaway Lodge in Becket.
TS: The Dreamaway Lodge is exactly what we had in mind. The Fallen Starlets had the good fortune to play multiple gigs there and every time we were surprised with the number of attendees.
SB: Right. The question is, how does the Dreamaway do that?
TS: Well, he [Dan Osman] has been doing that for a long time. Legends have played there. I believe the potential is there for Gedney Underground to become a part of the mecca.
SB: Will Gedney Underground become a part of the mecca of beloved music venues in Berkshire County? Find out for yourself! The music starts at 8 p.m.:
Wednesday, December 10th — Chris Merenda and Bruce Mandaro
Wednesday, December 17th – Polysonic Joy
Sunday, December 28th – To be announced
Below is a video of Chris Merenda:
And here is a video of Polysonic Joy: