Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cheaps: EarthFest, Free Hug Day & record swap

Oh yes, Thursday brings us our weekly Cheap Thrills column in the Boston Herald. On tap this week: EarthFest's Saturday shitshow, free hugs all around Downtown Crossing and a cool record swap in JP on Sunday. And yes, there is a Suede reference.

Radio 92.9 EarthFest

Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell off Storrow Drive; all-ages, FREE
It’s fitting that Saturday’s Radio 92.9 EarthFest megaconcert at the Hatch Shell also falls on World Goth Day - the forecast calls for cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70s. The festivities draw more than 100,000 annually to the banks of the Charles River and pump out a whole lot of environmental awareness. Even the bands are recycled, as this year’s concert features ’90s alt-rock worship: Catch Collective Soul, Marcy Playground and the Gin Blossoms, who have undergone a sort of hipster renaissance. Seriously, you can’t find anyone to bash the Gin Blossoms these days (“Hey Jealousy” held up remarkably well). Wade in EarthFest’s sea of “green” product vendors and local nonprofit environmental organizations. There’s also the interactive Kids Planet, for those who weren’t even born before Marcy Playground experienced a blip of relevancy.

Free Hugs Day in Boston

Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., launching at the Park Street MBTA station and spreading toward Downtown Crossing and Park Street; all-ages, FREE
The Free Hug Campaign is a social movement started in Australia in 2004 meant to endorse random acts of kindness. Now these free-huggers are bringing their unsolicited grabby-back to Boston in a daylong event that has almost 550 Facebook RSVPs. Cheap Thrills is skeptical, however, and we’re promoting this not as an endorsement of giving or receiving free hugs, but as a people-watching opportunity to see what happens when the hug parade randomly approaches a group of Bostonians in the heart of Downtown Crossing.
Info:, search “free hugs Boston” on Facebook events

JP Vinyl Yard Sale & Record Swap

Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 630 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain; all-ages, FREE
Hopefully the momentum caused by Record Store Day a few weeks ago carries over into this weekend, when Jamaica Plain hosts another vinyl yard sale and record swap. Dust off the Technics and spin the black circle at the get-together that boasts thousands of records for sale or trade from multiple sellers around the region. Maybe Cheap Thrills will finally find that ultra-rare white-label Suede “Be My God” 12-inch off RML Records we’ve been looking for since 1990. But if not, there’s certain to be tons of other rock, punk, psych, pop and “file under other” gems to fill the day with crate-digging goodness. And really nothing beats wasting a few hours outdoors on a spring Sunday going through a fat stack of $1 bins. And just in case Mother Nature still listens to CDs, the rain date is June 6.
Info:, search “JP Record Swap” on Facebook events

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