HopeFest in Leyden to raise money for CISA, food bank

Guitarist and songwriter John Sheldon will perform at HopeFest in Leyden on Saturday, June 15.

Guitarist and songwriter John Sheldon will perform at HopeFest in Leyden on Saturday, June 15. FILE PHOTO

The inaugural HopeFest, held in Leyden in 2022. This year’s event will be held Saturday, June 15.

The inaugural HopeFest, held in Leyden in 2022. This year’s event will be held Saturday, June 15. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/MARTHA HOPEWELL

By ADA DENENFELD KELLY

For the Recorder

Published: 06-11-2024 1:05 PM

Modified: 06-11-2024 1:24 PM


LEYDEN — After the pandemic lockdown left resident Martha Hopewell longing to hear live music back in 2022, she decided her home could make an ideal concert venue.

“I thought … ‘Why not ask some friends to come up and play, and just open up my yard to the neighborhood and friends and friends of friends where I know people can come and actually feel safe and enjoy some live music?’” Hopewell recounted.

The result, HopeFest, has now become an annual event. Though Hopewell was unable to host it in 2023, the second annual event will be held on Saturday, June 15, from 4 to 8 p.m. at 174 Kately Hill Road. The rain date is Sunday, June 16.

The concert will feature music from guitarist and songwriter John Sheldon, the swing band The Catalysts, and the improvisational ensemble The Enchantivists. Hopewell asks that people bring their own lawn chairs and picnics.

There will also be yard games, including croquet, badminton and bean bag toss. There is a $10 to $25 suggested donation, and children ages 12 and under get in for free. All proceeds from the event will benefit Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

“It’s not a major … fundraiser. This is a private person, me, just doing a cool thing out on my yard, but I hope that we’ll be able to make a decent contribution to each of those organizations,” Hopewell said, referring to CISA and the food bank.

Sheldon, the guitarist and songwriter who will be performing on Saturday, emphasized the importance of combating food insecurity.

“One of the reasons I live in this valley is because of the farms and the food here,” Sheldon said, “so any chance to support anything that helps grow food and feed people, I’m interested in that.”

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Hopewell describes the event as relaxed — “just four hours hanging out on a lawn and enjoying music in a beautiful, beautiful setting.”