4752 Fest, New Bedford’s all-day music spectacular, returns this year! The first edition in 2019 was nothing short of inspiring – drawing in local music fans and bands from all over New England. The 2021 version of the festival will take place on Saturday October 23rd starting at 2:30 PM at the Fiber Optic Center loading dock. I caught up with organizer Devin Byrnes, proprietor of Destination Soups (one of the venues), and member of New Bedford dance-noise trio Picniclunch:
G: Hey Devin! Describe the magic of New Bedford’s 4752 Fest to somebody not from there but who is curious about what differentiates 4752 from the average music fest?
D: 1. The 4752 festival is a completely walkable, roaming music festival. It is set up in different venues scattered around downtown New Bedford. It is completely free and is all ages except for one venue. No two bands play at the same time, the set times are staggered, so as one band is ending, another act who might be a block or two away is set up to start their set. I wanted it to be a free flowing experience allowing the listeners to take in as much or little music as they would like.
G: There are 6 venues, including some that don’t regularly host live music – tell us a little more about each spot if you can!
D: Yes, absolutely… I would be remiss if I didn’t give a heartfelt thank you to each venue for agreeing to be a part of this, especially during these times. The venues are: the loading dock (only outside venue) at the Fiber Optic Center. They provide fiber optic technology for all sorts of businesses and the president, Ethan, not only is allowing us to kick off the event there, but he has been very generous in being a sponsor of the event, enabling us to pay the artists. Then we move to The Communal Space which is is a Bipoc led, arts cultivator space with an emphasis on community engagement and equity for all. Then we go to The Madlila, which is a store focusing on eclectic, newer and vintage clothing and accessories. Then to Destination Soups, which is my fast, casual, lunch restaurant. We move on to Paradise McFee Gallery, a really funky, vibrant working art gallery. Followed by last, but not least, No Problemo, which is one of the OG spots in the New Bedford, downtown scene. It’s a hip, delicious, Cali-Mexican place. Craig (who runs it) has been an ubermensch for years, by being one of the only spots to host original music Downtown. In my mind, these businesses highlight the eclectic make up of our Downtown.
G: The line up is a combo of homegrown NB talent and others from around the region – without giving too much away, what sort of sounds might we expect? It certainly seems like it could get loud & weird at times!
D: Yeah, I am really excited for this year’s line up. When I started booking it in July, it came together really quick and almost everyone I reached out to was on board. I think that was a reflection of how much people were really jonesing to play again. My formula for curating it is about a 50/50 split between New Bedford area based artists and artists around New England. Also, I am looking at different styles. I have some dreamy acoustic acts and some abrasive noise rock, a bit of everything. I try to focus on more underground artists that in my eye, bring something original and interesting to the table. If you come and walk around the festival, I think you will be entertained. I think to make something like this successful, you need a good amount of variety. If you really like a certain kind of music, great, but you probably don’t want to watch 13 acts playing that kind of music.
G: Your band Picniclunch just headlined our SUPAPS festival and that was a blast. You’ve done some Covid-era gigs in Providence, too. Will this be a homecoming gig for y’all? Anything else you want to plug or share related to the Fest or Picniclunch?
D: Yeah, thanks for having us up to Somerville.. that was a great day. I loved how on a really nice day, all these people were using the public park space, punk bands, people shooting hoops, kids birthdays, etc. . yeah, this will be our first show back in New Bedford in probably a few years. Like you said, Providence is pretty close and we have played 3 fairly recent shows there. When Covid hit we started recording and we hope to get back at that soon. We have almost a full album worth of new material and are really excited by the newer material.
In closing, I just want encourage everyone to come check out the festival. I don’t really know many events like it – the bill is stacked and I think our home town is pretty great.