After dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year, people have been waiting and longing to get out of the house and enjoy some fun, familiar activities. One major void over the past year was the cancellation of live music. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say they cannot wait for concerts to return to the area. Guess what? You're in luck.

Great Barrington will host a new entertainment event entitled "Berkshire Busk." This is a summer event series celebrating music and live performance on weekends July 2-Sept. 4, on the streets of downtown. This immersive arts experience will place performers (“buskers”) at an array of locations from one end of the charming small town to the other.

Berkshire Busk! builds upon the success of the outdoor dining and community response to the music that occurred last summer in downtown Great Barrington on Railroad Street, the Town Hall Gazebo and the Triplex, which will continue this year, according to its organizer.

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According to Festival Director Eugene Carr, “performers of all kinds, cooped up for over a year, are bursting with anticipation to perform in front of live audiences. And those audiences are eager to welcome them back in settings that keep everyone safe and engaged.”

The Berkshire Busk! online application for all performers is available here. Selected performers will be provided with a stipend for their participation, and solicitation for tips is also allowed -- and encouraged.

Great Barrington Town Manager Mark Pruhenski adds, “We see this festival as an innovative and creative way to help ensure that the stores and restaurants in our downtown district recover from the pandemic, and that the many new stores just opening up do so successfully.”

The project is being supported by a broad group of local political leaders, business owners and arts professionals, which can be viewed here. Lead sponsors are: Warrior Trading, Calyx Berkshire Dispensary, DépartWine and Berkshire MoneyManagement.

A full schedule of performers and locations will be updated in the late spring on the Festival website.

For more information, email: press@berkshirebusk.com, or call (413) 251-2252.

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LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.