NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Rock The Block attracted roughly 2,500 people to a crowded Main Street throughout a picture-perfect Sunday afternoon.
The event, put together entirely by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Performing Arts Management (PAM) class, featured a plethora of performances and activities on the half-closed street.
"The students did a great job," said Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA.
Secor said the students felt an overall disconnect between the community and the college. The class decided to fix that.
Lauren "Lo" Sottile, a senior and the teaching assistant of the PAM class, said she remembered how school leaders and city officials discussed the gap between the college and the city during a Tricks of the Trade event last fall.
"The idea of a block party came up, and we tried our hardest to make it so it would have a lasting effect," Sottile said. "We wanted the whole day to be about interaction between the two groups, to make us feel like one and I think it's amazing how well it worked."
Over the course of a semester, the students met with city officials and businesses to seal the deal on the first ever off-campus PAM event.
Sixteen performances were held on the two stages — the Mohawk Stage and the Holden Street Stage. Debo Band, an 11-piece Ethiopian pop band based out of Boston, headlined the day with a two-hour set on the Holden and Main intersection as the sun sunk into the mountains.
An array of local talent also performed. The Drury Jazz Band treated an audience to some well-needed afternoon funk. A lot of MCLA groups were also on hand, including student bands and theater groups. Eagle Street Music was also represented by the band One Way Out.
Venders, massive hula hoops and various tables filled out the space between the stages. Sushi House, Jack's Hot Dog Stand and Desperados set up their operations outside.
"The businesses were amazing to work with," Sottile said. "I hope they made good money."
Sottile said at the last PAM class on Tuesday, they will discuss how to make the this event have a lasting effect on the community's and college's relationship.
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