HISTORY OF GARAGE BAND
GARAGE BAND is a perfect example of the Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture’s mission to bring music, dance, and visual arts to public spaces in Arlington and has become one of its signature events. It represents the culmination of the Arlington Center for the Arts’ Porchfest experience, which unfolds in neighborhoods throughout the town earlier that day. GARAGE BAND is organized with assistance from the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture’s Community Engagement Committee.
In June 2019, Garage Band featured the highly acclaimed old school funk and R&B Bittersweet Band, along with the 100-member community street band School of HONK. School of HONK has been exciting audiences since its creation as an inclusive community street band, welcoming people of all ages and abilities to play music and have fun. The diverse musicians of this ensemble bring joy and outrageous energy to the streets every time they appear in their distinctive thrifted polka dotted costuming.
The Bittersweet Band plays an irresistible blend of funk, soul, and classic R&B guaranteed to get people up on their dancing feet. With members drawn from Philadelphia, Virginia, New York and elsewhere, these talented players know how to lock in the groove. Drummer and leader Greg “PoPPa’G” Baker built up his chops backing up the Village People, touring with them during the height of their popularity. Bittersweet’s singer Tracy Howerton consistently knocks it out of the park with his outstanding lead vocals. You can read more about 2019’s Garage Band here
September 14, 2019, Garage Band capped off Arlington’s Town Day with another lively concert featuring an eclectic series of performers including Odaiko New England
taiko drummers, the Dan Fox Foxtet
, and the Latin/Caribbean powerhouse ensemble, Grupo Fantasia
Following a break during the COVID-19 pandemic, Garage Band returned in 2022 with the Boston-area Americana Roots band The Squeezebox Stompers
, known for their upbeat music, performing Cajun, Zydeco, Blues, Folk, and originals with instrumentation that includes accordion, keyboards, fiddle, saxophone, harmonica, penny whistle, guitar, bass and drums. Members of The Squeezebox Stompers have received Boston Music Awards and Songwriting Awards, and have been playing together for the past 15 years. You can visit their Facebook page here
for more information.
THE VENUE: ARLINGTON GLOBAL SERVICE STATION
Arlington Global Service Station serves as a perfect venue for the GARAGE BAND celebration. The station’s owner Abe Salhi was inspired to bring art to his establishment when he heard about his neighborhood’s designation as Arlington’s first Cultural District. He cooked up a design with Johnny Lapham, an artist and long-time client who lived just down the street, and now the station’s canopy and upper walls are embellished with colorful circles and stripes, straight out of a Dr. Seuss story. The art at the top of this page is also by Lapham. Abe Salhi was awarded “Business of the Year” in 2019 by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his innovative practice of privately sponsoring public art by engaging a local artist. Now this vibrant service station hosts a celebratory dance free-for-all!
Members of the public can help support art and performances in public spaces in Arlington by making a tax-deductible donation
to the Public Art Fund on the town website – just note your contribution is for Live Arts on the form.