Sunday, June 23, 2024

061113i-The-NinesHarvard Square’s Comedy Studio is taking a summer road trip to Devens, the former army base in Central Massachusetts that will be the site of an Aug. 10 arts festival called The Nines.

While an announcement of the full lineup won’t come for a week, Comedy Studio owner Rick Jenkins said Tuesday that he’s bringing a cadre of comedians to the comedy stage – to be called Stitches – for what is “really four shows of Studio comics during the day.”

There will also be music at the first-time festival, with the lineup so far including, as described by the Sentinel & Enterprise newspaper:

instrumental post-rock band Explosions in the Sky, who have played with the likes of Radiohead and the Flaming Lips; indie rock band Delta Spirit; experimental rock band Walk off the Earth; rhythm and blues artist Shuggie Otis, son of R&B and soul legend Johnny Otis; and turntablist Kid Koala, known to incorporate jazz and blues in his music and who has collaborated with the likes of Gorillaz and Deltron 3030.

The festival has room for another handful of bands and is seeking suggestions here.

There will also be art installations and vendors, said Monica Hinojos, of 3Rivers Arts, a nonprofit focused on bringing more art and cultural opportunities to communities in the Nashua, Nissitissit and Squannacook River watersheds.

Still, 3Rivers and partner Great Northeast Productions (which put on Phish’s multiday, multi-arts festivals between 1996 and 2004, in addition to such events as James Taylor and Carly Simon’s reunion concert on Martha’s Vineyard) is reaching far beyond Central Massachusetts for its audience. Cards piquing interest in The Nines were being handed out at Boston Calling, the two-day music event held in May at City Hall Plaza in Boston long before there were even musical acts to announce.

“Our mission is to bring attention to the breadth of artistic talent in our region, bring top-tier bands to our area and build on this year after year,” Hinojos said. “We want to introduce audiences to Central Massachusetts as a hub of artistic talent, and hopefully, a regular summer tour stop for their favorite bands. Our vision is for a happy side-effect of The Nines to be a cultural and economic boost for the area as well.”

The festival is planned for Willard Field, a 20-acre athletic facility in Devens, about 38 miles and an hours’ drive from Boston off Route 2. As many as 7,500 people are expected at the festival’s music stages – organizers are promising no overlapping sets – comedy tent, food offerings and beer and wine garden.

Early bird tickets costing $49 (and “Patron of the Arts” VIP tickets for $109) went on sale Friday at or by calling (800) 653-8000. Children under 10 are admitted free if accompanied by parent or guardian.