Live @ Hillberry Jam

John and Mike, along with the usual suspects, will be playing at the annual Brightspark festival in a new location this year, so it’s got a new name! And camping!

Soundoff: Hillberry Jam set to debut this weekend

Jim Catalano, Special to
(Ed note: The original August date was postponed due to weather, and is corrected here)
The local music scene will get another mini-festival this weekend, when the Hillberry Jam debuts just over the Tompkins County line in Berkshire.

Held at Hillberry, a U-pick organic blueberry farm close to the intersection of Routes 38 and 79, the event will run from early Friday evening through noon Sunday and feature more than a dozen Ithaca bands — many of them familiar, but some lesser known.

Hillberry Jam is the brainchild of Park Doing, former leader of the Atomic Forces and currently a solo act that toured the U.S. with Guided by Voices and Europe with Johnny Dowd over the past year. Doing has organized similar events under the “Brightspark” moniker over the past decade, most of which have drawn inspiration from the ABC Café, the now-closed Collegetown restaurant that hosted hundreds of shows during its lifetime.

Many of the acts on the lineup used to perform regularly at the ABC, including Ken Hallett, who ran the place for years, and Doing himself.

“It turns out I’m a nostalgic guy — I had a lot of good experiences there, and it was where I first started playing,” Doing said in a recent interview. “Ken was the only guy who would give me a show.”

After holding Brightspark Festivals at the Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg and the Brooktondale Community Center, Doing decided to move it to Hillberry, which he visited with his young daughter a couple of years ago. He thanks owners Karin and Pat Dahlender for agreeing to host the Jam.

“They have this beautiful property, so I told them we should do a musical event out there,” Doing said. “Then they bought these additional 40 acres, with fields and hills, so now we’re going to take it to the hills of upstate New York. It’s going to be associated with their farm, and will celebrate end of their (picking) season.”

Here’s the lineup, which Doing described as “country rock with a little noise mixed in”:

Friday: 6 p.m., Ken Hallett; 7, The 86ers; 8, Angie Beeler; 9, Insolent Cur; 10, Nowzers; 11, Drew Kiddoo and the Blackouts.

Saturday: 1 p.m., PAD9; 2, Strange Heavy; 3, Cole DuMond; 3:30, Shaka; 5, DJ Dijon; 6, Park Doing; 7, Squatters; 8, Johnny Dowd; 9, Sunny Weather; 10, Ken Hallett; 11, Ithaca Beatscene

Sunday: Noon, Open Jam.

The event is free to attend, with a $25 fee if you want to camp (reserve a site through AirBnB). The festival address is 0 West Creek Road in Berkshire; the farm itself is at 785 Jewitt Hill Road in Berkshire. Bring your own food and water, but leave your dogs at home.

For more information, visit

(Just fer fun, here’s the Brightspark show from 2015.)

Live @ The 100 Club (review by MOJO and UNCUT)




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