Allston DIY Fest continues to evolve, unite

Eclectic collective
By PERRY EATON  |  July 20, 2012

diyfest
SOUND DECISION Last year the music of Doomstar! filled the Allston summer air, and this Saturday CreaturoS, a new trio featuring Spenser Gralla (right), perform at DIY Fest. 

Let's get real: Allston rarely deserves your respect. Nobody is to blame, nobody is mad. But with all of the students, the musicians, and the families of different backgrounds — the tremendous melting neighborhood pot just makes it too difficult to find social cohesion, a consistent scene, or even a common goal other than to "keep Allston decent." Enter DIY Fest, a pivotal part of the neighborhood's underground culture that on Saturday afternoon at Ringer Park celebrates its third year of free, all-ages, and 100 percent sober fun in the sun. This summer's festival is shaping up to be the biggest yet, and could very well earn Allston some respect, even if only for the day.

To claim that Allston DIY Fest's creation has taken a Woodstockian approach would be understandable, but inaccurate. There's more to it than a simple idea of "bands will play and people will come." The behind-the-scenes work by festival organizers will come to fruition this Saturday, but the sweat that has gone into its organization is immeasurable. Planners have worked on a volunteer basis for more than four months, not just to secure an impressive lineup of more than 25 homegrown bands, but to launch several other forms of entertainment in hopes of reaching every possible audience.

The goal of this year's fest, in the words of organizer Matt Altieri, is simple: "Come together." Altieri, a musician and independent show promoter, sees the event as a way to break walls between the various subcultures, ages, and social groups in the area. "There are so many crossovers in our community," he says. "The DIY Fest presents an opportunity to open up and notice how much it has grown."

diyfest2
Allston DIY Fest 2011 

Altieri, along with fellow organizers Kelly Baker, Ethan Long, Evan Dias, and Kristy LeMay, sees this goal as attainable, but only if it is met with open minds. "There's a certain stereotype of youth culture in Allston," says Long, who has been involved with the festival since its inception in 2010. "But it's really just another neighborhood to us, with families and professionals working nine to five." Those assumptions about "youth culture" are often tied to a misunderstanding of the term "DIY."

DIY art and music culture in Boston has come a long way in recent years, but with its growth has come a perception that it's an exclusive or rebellious scene. Altieri and company, on the other hand, believe that the term "do it yourself" is actually inclusive, embodying a spirit of encouraging the artist to share his or her work with as many as possible. What is DIY all about, after all, if not bypassing corporate mediators in order to reach an audience directly? "Creative people want others to come and take a look at what they're doing," says Altieri. "That's why we've tried to form the DIY Fest to be targeted at nobody specifically."

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