Each year at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair, a tent is raised at the rear of the fairgrounds where Island musicians perform alongside the braying and clucking of farm animals and the whirring of carnival rides.
Every day throughout the fair, new acts take the stage and perform for any fairgoers who wish to listen.
In celebrating the 159th anniversary of the fair, a battle of the bands was initially planned where artists could enter a competition to open for the headliner, but there wasn’t enough lead time and resources to hold the event.
With this, the fair is reverting to its original festivities, which are always a highlight of the four-day event that draws folks from all around the country to the Island.
On Thursday, August 19, (the first day of the fair) from 3 to 4 pm, Island Hip Hop will perform a hip-hop dance demo, followed by a performance by David Wolff starting at 4 pm.
Rocker John O’Toole will be next to take the stage at 5 pm, then Blue Yonder takes over from 6 to 7 pm.
The last show of the night will be the Brothers McMahon, who will start at 8 and wrap up around 10 pm.
Friday, August 20, brings another slate of performances including The Convertibles playing from 4 to 5:30 pm, The Roundabouts from 6 to 7:30 pm, with The Jaywalkers closing out the night from 8 pm to 10 pm.
On Saturday, August 21, Miguel and Bailey will kick off the day starting at 4 pm, with The Dock Dance Band to follow starting at 6 pm.
At 7:30 pm, Island Hip Hop takes over again for half an hour, and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will cap the night.
On the final day of the fair, the Spirit of the Vineyard award ceremony will begin at 10 am and go for one hour. Islander Brian Athearn will receive the Spirit of the Vineyard Award this year — the award is given annually to a person who has served for one or more nonprofit organizations on the Island, and whose work has made a difference to individuals and the community as a whole.
Mark Alan Lovewell will perform from 11 am to noon, and a performance by the Beacon of Hope Gospel at 12:30 pm will conclude the fair festivities under the music tent on Sunday, August 22.
Possible additions to the event include the Vineyard Haven Band and the Island Theater Workshop.