There will be beer, bands and art. What more do you need or want?

On June 2, Continuum Arts Collective presents a new music festival in what principal organizer Martin England calls “the biggest backyard in the Seacoast.” Revel in the Meadow, headlined by the roots rock Mallett Brothers Band, is a daylong, family-friendly party and gathering at Spring Hill in South Berwick that will raise money for the nonprofit arts collective, which, among other things, provides instruments to local kids to encourage music making. Spring Hill is a private function hall and recreation area on 60 acres of rolling hills.

England, who operates Continuum with his wife, Jennifer, is a musician himself – he’s the frontman for The Reconstructed, which is on the seven-band bill – and has fallen into the rhythm of attending music festivals as a fan. He appreciates a well-run festival, and hopes to take the best of what he’s experienced elsewhere and fold it into Revel in the Meadow.

Other than agreeable weather, tops on his wish list is a friendly, casual vibe where multiple generations of people can hang out together, listen to music, eat local food, drink local beer and sample local art. “It’s hard to say exactly how it will go since we haven’t done it yet, but we are trying to create a unique experience that people will remember,” England said. “We want to create an experience they’ll never forget and that they can’t get elsewhere.”

In addition to several local bands, England invited regional artists to display and sell their wares. There will be bounce houses and yard games, and kids younger than 12 get in free with a parent or guardian. England is serious about making kids feel welcome. That’s one reason the festival will end around the family-friendly hour of 7 p.m.

“Absolutely, kids are encouraged,” he said. “We believe that art and music are good for the entire family.”

That’s the central tenet of Continuum’s mission and philosophy. Adolescent artists who are not supported by their families, financially or fundamentally, likely won’t succeed in their art-making endeavors. Similarly, parents of aspiring artists who are not artists themselves may not know how to most effectively support their kids. Continuum aims to bridge that divide by helping aspiring artists acquire mentors, materials and methodologies, or a combination of all three.

“Art will allow you to be yourself and will allow you to become your best self,” England said. “Art is directly related to your identity, and that’s what we are trying to encourage.”

In that context, the Mallett Brothers Band was a brilliant choice to headline the inaugural festival, because the band represents the Continuum philosophy at its core. Will and Luke Mallett are the sons of folk singer David Mallett and were raised in Maine and Nashville with instruments in their hands. The brothers now front one of Maine’s most widely traveled bands, thanks in large part to the continuum provided by their parents in the form of instruments, encouragement and support. The Malletts will release their next CD, “Vive L’Acadie,” on June 15.

The other big name on the bill is the Suitcase Junket, a one-man band that England saw at Mountain Jam in New York in 2015. He was pretty much blown away that a single musician could sound so much like a band. His name is Matt Lorenz, and he’s from Massachusetts. He calls himself an “artist, tinkerer (and) swamp yankee” with a road-worn voice that rises “over the grind of a tube-amped dumpster guitar, and the wild double pitches of throat singing.”

Other bands on the bill are Gretchen & The Pickpockets, The Reconstructed, Tristan Omand, Young Frontier and Soggy Po’ Boys.

At last count, more than a dozen artisans had committed to show their work at the festival. Tributary Brewing Co. of Kittery will pour beers, and local restaurants will serve food.

England has high hopes for Revel in the Meadow, and he expects it will become an annual event. He has no intention of turning it into something really big, like the rock and folk festivals in New York, Texas and Rhode Island that he enjoys attending. But he’s learning from those experiences, and bringing home the best of the vibes he’s experienced at those festivals is his goal with Revel in the Meadow.

“We’re just trying to do something fun for our community,” he said. “Music is a great way to bring people of all ages together. Let’s have some fun, make some music and see what happens.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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