Beginning Saturday, October 3 with The Fiddling Thomsons, the American Independence Museum will host Concerts on the Lawn at Folsom Tavern.
A socially distanced series that will feature local musicians who are also stewards of musical culture, history, and traditional folkways, Concerts on the Lawn is part of the museum’s ongoing ‘re-imagined’ American Independence Festival.
“We are excited to host this series and bring people back to our grounds while still following all COVID-19 protocols,” said Emma Stratton, museum executive director.
At the first event, guests will enjoy Ryan Thomson, a multi-instrumentalist performer who plays the fiddle, accordion, banjo, Celtic flute, piano and pennywhistle.
“His family’s musical heritage stretches back to the pioneer days,” said the museum’s Victoria Su, who planned the series.
Ryan will be joined by his son, Brennish, who plays the fiddle and is carrying forward his family’s music traditions.
The series continues on Saturday, October 10 with Theo Martey & The Akwaaba Ensemble and concludes on October 17 with the Jordan TW Trio.
Concerts on the Lawn is presented through a grant from New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, sponsorship from Newburyport Bank, and in partnership with the Exeter Area YMCA.
Tickets range from $5 to $15 with children under 6 free. Pre-registration is required and guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs, blankets and picnics.
Home to a world-class collection of 3,000 historic artifacts, the museum is currently developing a variety of public and education programs in digital formats to encourage digital inclusion for all ages.
History is often seen as a sequence of events that resides in the past, which is only partly accurate and serves as a subtle theme that underscores the American Independence Festival on Saturday, July 13.
“Our Revolutionary history provides a unique and relevant glimpse into who we are today as Americans,” said Emma Bray, executive director of the American Independence Museum, which hosts the festival.
This theme recently caught the attention of Newburyport Bank, which presented Bray with a $5,000 check at their new branch in Exeter to sponsor the festival.
“We are so enthusiastic about this partnership and the connection between our two organizations,” said Bray. “It is clear we both value and honor the importance of history.”
Lloyd Hamm, Jr., president and CEO, Newburyport Bank, agreed and described himself as “a strong enthusiast of history.”
“I love seeing it energized and want to thank the museum for bringing history to life for the citizens of our communities,” he said.
At the American Independence Festival, visitors experience everything from traditional craft demonstrations and battle re-enactments to a beer garden, live music, games, local food, art and craft marketplace, and more.
In serving as presenting sponsor of the festival, Hamm, Jr. said he believes Newburyport Bank takes an important step to supporting the greater Exeter community.
“I so appreciate that our Bank, which is new to the Exeter community but active in the region since 1854, can share in this important opportunity for inspiration and learning,” he said.
The festival also serves to conjure within Hamm, Jr. fond memories of a childhood experience in which he participated in the 1976 bicentennial celebrations as a member of the Town of Upton, MA militia.
“For me, it was a vibrant instrument for understanding and enjoying history,” he recalled. “I remember bounding through fields of New England with my 75 caliber Brown Bess in hand, battling the British 10th or 54th regiments. It was so much fun to see the looks of awe and enjoyment on the faces of the crowds as our nation’s important history was brought to life.”
It is precisely this kind of experience that Bray said visitors can experience at the festival, which features more than 100 colonial re-enactors, most of whom stay in character throughout the day.
“The festival literally brings history to life,” she said. “We are so thankful to partner with Newburyport Bank to present this unique and engaging experience for people of all ages.”
The American Independence Festival takes place on Saturday, July 13 at the American Independence Festival from 10 am to 4 pm with the beer tent open until 6 pm.
Festival tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for ages 6 to 18; and free for children under 6, active and retired military, veterans, and Museum members.