Muddy Waters at Music Inn (photo Lee Everett / FineLine)
(LENOX, Mass.) – The Music Inn will be remembered at “The Life and Times of Music Inn,” a multimedia celebration at The Mount on Friday, August 25, at 3pm, as part of the year-long Lenox 250th Celebration. The event will feature stories, video, audio tracks, memorabilia, and other Music Inn memories.
From 1950 to 1979, the Music Inn, situated just east of Tanglewood in Lenox in the former barns and outbuildings of Wheatleigh, was home to a dynamic music scene. It existed in several iterations, including the original Lenox School of Jazz, the Music Barn, the Lenox Arts Center, and as a performance venue hosting such icons of jazz, rock, blues, and American music as Louis Armstrong, Pete Seeger, David Brubeck, Muddy Waters, the Band, Arlo Guthrie, the Kinks, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, and many others.
David Rothstein, who with partners Bob and Olga Weiss took over the Music Inn in 1969, embarked on a mission in 2010 to capture the story and spirit of Music Inn that still resonates in a wide community of people who played, worked, and attended concerts there.
Emmylou Harris at Music Inn (photo Lee Everett / FineLine)
Rothstein enlisted Lee Everett, photographer/graphic designer, and Lynnette (Lucy) Najimy, multimedia producer, to research and build the Music Inn Archives Website. The website is a rich collection of articles – including the first major magazine piece to retell the entire story of Music Inn, “The Life and Times of Music Inn,” by Seth Rogovoy (writing for the original Berkshire Magazine, and lending this event its name) – stories, images, live audio recordings, and memorabilia contributed by hundreds of people connected to Music Inn. In the seven years since, there has been a steady stream of regards, stories, images, memories, and inquiries from people around the world, including media, publishers, and American music researchers.
In 2007, Ben Barenholtz, George Schuller, Benjamin Barber, Casey Meade, and others collaborated to produce Music Inn, a documentary film. The film has been highly requested and screened privately, but not yet been made available publicly.
Several Music Inn reunions and meet-ups have drawn folks from around the Berkshires and across the country. These included a Shenandoah Reunion in 2010 at Racebrook Lodge, a Good Friend Coyote concert at the Guthrie Center in 2012 (both local bands performed frequently at Music Inn), a Jay and the Americans concert at the Colonial Theatre in 2014, several lively meet-ups at Bascom Lodge and around the Berkshires, and other gatherings.
Levon Helm of the Band at Music Inn (photo Lee Everett / FineLine)
A mutual benefit for The Mount and the Music Inn Archives, “The Life and Times of Music Inn” on August 25 at The Mount will include a remembrance of Benjamin Barber, who was an active and enthusiastic contributor to the documentary film and to the Music Inn Archives until his death in 2016. His father, Philip Barber, and Barber’s wife, Stephanie, founded and ran Music Inn in the 1950s.
The August 25 event will also mark the launch of the Music Inn Book Project, which will be a physical interpretation of the digital archives including stories, clippings, memorabilia, and images from the three decades of Music Inn.
Tickets are $10 (free for The Mount members) and will mutually benefit The Mount and Music Inn Archives and its upcoming book project.