What Is a Ber, and Why Does It Have a Fest?

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What is a Berfest, you ask?

BER is short for Rachel Berliner, a small girl from Connecticut who knows how to throw a big party, and Berfest is the annual “ber”thday music extravaganza she throws at the end of January each year.

Ber and longtime friend Sydney Woodford started Berfest in Boston back in 2005, and this year’s fest, the eighth annual, takes place in Brooklyn, New York, Boston, Massachusetts and Danbury, Connecticut – one night in each city – starting Friday, January 27.

by Rachel Berliner and Sydney Woodford

 


 

The babes.

BER is short for Rachel Berliner, a small girl from Connecticut who knows how to throw a big party, and Berfest is the annual “ber”thday music extravaganza she throws at the end of January each year.

Ber and longtime friend Sydney Woodford started Berfest in Boston back in 2005, and this year’s fest, the eighth annual, takes place in Brooklyn, New York, Boston, Massachusetts and Danbury, Connecticut – one night in each city – starting Friday, January 27.

Berfest is originally a Boston music festival for friends, by friends. It all started in 2005 when two rock & roll babes wanted to have a kick ass birthday party (Ber’s is January 27). They took over the basement of their friends’ (The Pratt Ratts) Pratt Street apartment and asked friends from all over the country to bring their guitars and shred the night away. Friends were united, memories (or lack there of) were created and beers were annihilated.

Berfest 05′ was such a success that it was decided that Berfest would become an annual celebration.

 

 

By 2006, the festival creators (those two rockin’ babes) had moved into the original Berfest venue on Pratt Street. This meant they were able to party in their own home and make more of a mess. Some of the original bands returned to wish Ber a badass birthday while new bands joined the scene to help continue the peace, love, and chaos that is BERfest.

 

2007 was a difficult year for the annual party, as a proper basement was in short supply due to the evacuation of the legendary Pratt Street house. But hey, the rock must go on, and so it did in another Boston residence. That is until the Gestapo decided to break up the fun with their angry faces and jealous hearts. Using the excuse of a “noise complaint” the show was stopped short and the festival rockers were left to finish their Pabst to pre-recorded tunes, turning their creative festival land into a low-key gathering of frustrated artists.

 

 

2008 was a glittery disaster, but the largest success yet at the Middle East in Boston, Mass.

 

In 2009, the babes rented out the Heirloom Arts Theatre, moving the fest further south to Conn., where the stampede of faithful followers came and rocked on.

 

Berfest 2010 moved back close to it’s hometown in Somerville, Mass. at the infamous StarLab Studio, where, to everyone’s surprise, there was no heat. But  everyone raged and rocked on harder than ever until the riffs warmed the air and no one could feel their toes, which, inside their boots, were covered in wine.

 

Berfest 2011 was the first year the festival expanded to two nights – both Boston (O’Brien’s) and New York (Trash Bar), brought together by the good old faithful Fung-Wah bus and various caravans. Both nights were a huge success and included 12 bands and hundreds of fans from across the United States.

 

 

This year, BERFEST will be a three night festival. The babes continue their promise that the fest will be better, louder, and bigger than ever. They are working toward making Berfest into a Woodstock or Bonnaroo type of gathering – so spread the word. And if you have the best time ever at Berfest or have never been but really want to be a part of the fun, ask the babes if your band can play next year, they are always open to new ideas.  But remember, to ask the babes you gotta come to the show!

 


Visit the Berfest website here, and RSVP on Facebook here.

 

 

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