The Thing in the Spring

thingtankLast year, my wife Mary and I were awarded Civic Leaders of the Year by Stay Work Play and NHPR, for the work that we do here in Peterborough. Mary is an art teacher, and I run a record store, and together with our friends, we organize an entire weekend of music and art called The Thing in the Spring. From December to June, it’s basically an unpaid full time job. Somehow, we have continued to do it, quite enthusiastically, for the past six years. From June 5th through June 8th, we’ll be riding the wave of the seventh Thing in the Spring.

thing7main2WEBWe’re bringing 147 artists, musicians, and writers to downtown Peterborough this time around, and I’m always amazed at the people that come out; the elation. The world is a confusing place, and in a lot of cases, people are working harder for less. What we are attempting with The Thing, is to encourage people to let go for a few days; drop out, for just a moment. Remember when you were a kid, and as soon as school was over on Friday, your entire universe was transformed into a wild beast? Time ground to a halt as you negotiated the trapeze of woods and lakes and imaginations. You could make insanely detailed plans, rent a dozen movies, eat like a bear, sweat, and get filthy like only a kid can do. Think of The Thing in the Spring as a gigantic sleepover. No chores, no work. We set it up so that you can come and go as you please; no gate to lock you in, no $5 waters or $10 beers. Lots of smiles from folks of all ages. People come here from all over New England, and in some cases, America.

The Thing weekend is probably my favorite time of year. The whole time, I will be bouncing from place to place, connecting people, and listening. So much fantastic listening. I’m running around so you don’t have to, though I have to say, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. I got this high idle from my father, who is a master organizer / builder / people-person. One of things he taught me was to appreciate time. Every moment is filled with potential action and creation, you only have to give it a push. We’ve all been pushing so much in our respective fields, giving a lot without getting what we need in return. The Thing in the Spring offers a truly tangible experience of art, music, and creativity, all within the idyllic hamlet of Peterborough NH. Five amazing, all ages concerts featuring Simone Felice, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Charlie Hunter & Bobby Previte, Death Vessel, Magik Markers, Nat Baldwin, Bill Orcutt & Chris Corsano, MV & EE, and dozens more; Broke: The Affordable Arts Fair; late shows at Harlow’s & djs at Waterhouse; films from the Criterion Collection; free outdoor performances throughout the weekend; and so much more. Tickets and information at

Photo credt: Tim Gurczak

Photo credit: Tim Gurczak

Eric Gagne is President of the Glass Museum, a non-profit arts organization in Peterborough NH, which he founded with his wife, Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne. They live with their daughter and pets in Peterborough.

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