Jim Glavin had a wonderful 60th birthday party on Saturday night. He was hoping more of his friends would show up, but the estimated 800 who attended the first Aquinnah Music Festival made Mr. Glavin’s 60th birthday magic. “I see a lot of happy people out there,” he said on Saturday night, looking over the lawn at the Aquinnah Circle.
“We may be broke tomorrow but this is quite the party. Look at this venue — ocean view, the lighthouse in the background — this is quite a party,” he said. For the first annual Aquinnah Music Festival, a fundraiser for strapped community radio station WVVY 93.7, treasurer Glavin budgeted for 1,000 or more people to break even.
Most of the attendees were twenty and early thirtysomethings, lots with kids in tow. The vestiges of Woodstock — granny dresses, military boots and long skirts, even some tie-dye — had some nicknaming the event “Woodhead.” If so, it was slightly updated with hula hoopers mixing with dancers and new parents, swaying with their kids to the 12 groups performing.
The nine-hour event drew a decidedly enthusiastic audience. “This is unbelievable. Seeing so many of my friends, people I grew up with, in one spot,” said Jack Stanwood, 23, from West Tisbury. “It’s great to have this happen. I’d love to see this every weekend. Nothing could cap off the summer like this. It’s a signature event,” he said.
“This is an awesome success. Festivals are wonderful, ego-less things,” said Tim Laursen of Vineyard Haven and vocalist and guitar player for The Billionaires, an Island band now based in L.A. While waiting to go on stage around 8 p.m., he said “We all wanted to come back for this,” of band mates Farley Glavin of Aquinnah, Joe and Seb Keefe of West Tisbury and Laura Jordan.
The festival was also a magnet for Joel Zoss whose trio has been touring with B.B. King. “We’ve been touring for more than a year but when they called me, we were glad to come,” he said.
Throughout the day, Island musicians dedicated their sets and the festival to Maynard Silva, Island musician and mentor, who died just days before. “Oh man, Maynard would have loved this,” said Bob Lee, WVVY’s music director, resplendent in an updated hippie look featuring a mesh vest and top hat.
A rich orange full moon was appearing as Mr. Glavin was called to the stage, was properly embarrassed with a lusty rendition of Happy Birthday while the Black Brook Singers assembled in the wings to complete the festival.
“This is homegrown. This is a very Island scene,” Mr. Zoss murmured.