‘Late Winter Festival’ is Sunday at Barrington Public Library


Looking for arts and culture in Barrington? Try the library this weekend.

On Sunday, March 3, the upstairs auditorium will host musical performances by Pat McGee, Pat McAloon and Bay Spring Folk. The Arts Alive! Theatrical dancers will also entertain and Barrington Community Theater will be on hand with a circus skills workshop.

It’s also free, though donations will be accepted.

Organizers believe the impressive line-up of talent will be a big draw. That’s why they’ve decided to hold two, back-to-back showings. The first takes place at at 1:30 p.m. followed by another at 3:30 p.m.

Larson Gunness, of Bay Spring Folk, said the inaugural “Late Winter Festival” is a product of collaboration among several local groups. He said the show came together following a meeting that included himself and representatives of Arts Alive!, Barrington Community Theater and The BAY Team, which is sponsoring the event.

“We sat together just to compare notes on things. Since we all know eachother and we all do different events, we sat down together just to coordinate a little bit so we wouldn’t all try to do a show on the same day,” Mr. Gunness said.

“It didn’t take long for us to decide. We talked about the serious stuff, then started with wild ideas.”

Mr. Gunness said the show represents a great mix of talent — and it’s all local.

“We’ve got great musicians. Pat McGee and Pat McAloon, they’re pros, they’re professionals. We’re just really lucky they live in town and they wanted to be part of the event.”

“We’re a good amateur band. They’re a good professional band. We have really great dancers, too. I didn’t even know Arts Alive! did dancing.”

Mr. Gunness said he feels apologetic for anyone who doesn’t get to attend and wishes there was a bigger venue for the festival. He said shows like this are one example of what a renovated Bay Spring Community Center could offer.

Not only would the Bay Spring Avenue venue hold more people, Mr. Gunness said, it has flexible hours. Instead of two performances running on a Sunday afternoon, the community center could sponsor a day-long festival.

Mr. Gunness also said this weekend’s festival is an example of the local artistic community.

Barrington recently lost points in the area of arts and culture in a GoLocalProv survey that ranked all 39 Rhode Island cities and towns.

Mr. Gunness isn’t sure where the website got its information — Local Brew regularly plans local concerts including an annual Fiddle n’ Folk Fest at Haines Park in the summer.

“That seemed bizarre to me,” he said.

“It just seemed like, there’s so much going on in this town. There’s so many people who are just quietly doing their own thing ... There’s poets, writings, tons of musicians, a thriving arts scene. It baffles me. It’s not true to think that there’s not a cultural scene here because there’s a huge cultural scene.”

Mr. Gunness said the goal of this show, however, isn’t about making a statement on Barrington’s arts scene. It’s about having fun and, if it goes well, organizers might think about having another one down the road.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.