Raucous musical joy on Circuit Avenue


Every September, once the quiet of the off-season begins to descend, an annual celebration brings color, music, and revelry to the town of Oak Bluffs. The Best Fest is a riotous, joyful celebration of the end of summer on Saturday, Sept. 8.

This weekend, for the ninth year in a row, Best Fest organizer Rob Myers will be bringing a slew of musicians to town to benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Radio, WVVY, 96.7 LPFM. The fun begins in Ocean Park with a concert by local musicians Isaac Taylor, Siren Mayhew, the Outskirts, and the Pinkletinks, and concludes with more bands playing at the Loft. However, the highlight of the festival every year is a New Orleans–style parade up Circuit Avenue featuring the Extraordinary Rendition Band (ERB) from Providence, R.I. Although their roots may be in NOLA, the 50-piece brass band embodies the spirit of a gypsy caravan.

The ERB is a ragtag outfit made up of musicians representing all backgrounds and levels of experience. The members dress all in red, tending to favor the theatrical, and are inventive in their looks. Along with traditional brass instruments and drums, there are always plenty of tambourine shakers, dancers, and more. Bystanders often become part of the parade, joining in the celebration as it makes its way slowly up the street. The musical selection favored by the band ranges widely, but everything is lively and upbeat. Describing their approach as “guerrilla style” performances, the ERB’s aim is to entertain and inspire. Their mission/value statement reads in part, “We believe that the power of music may be more effective and powerful than weapons, arguments, or war.”

Another line from that statement sort of sums up the ERB experience: “We interrupt your regularly scheduled life with spontaneous moments of raucous musical joy.”

The Best Fest is a celebration not to be missed.

Free concert at the Ocean Park bandstand from 4 to 8 pm, Saturday, Sept. 8. Circuit Avenue parade 8 to 9 pm. Music at the Loft from 9 on featuring the Space Invaders, the Brothers McMahon, and the Philly D Project.