• 03/07/2019 7:15 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    They say every dilemma is an opportunity, so we’re writing you about a great opportunity growing out of a dilemma concerning PMN's plans for a Summer Gathering in 2019. 

    The dilemma, simply put: we have no viable site for a Summer Gathering in 2019.  Every site we approached (mostly camps in rural places) was either unsuitable, unavailable or unaffordable.  We are already looking to solve this issue for Summer 2020, and developing new leadership to make that happen.
    The opportunity was suggested by one of our members at the last summer gathering.  Why not join forces with other organizations doing the same work we do?  The first organization that came to mind will be familiar to many of you.

    The Labor Heritage Foundation (LHF) sponsors an annual summer gathering each June, The Great Labor Arts Exchange (GLAE).  It has been going for as long as PMN has.  It is organized by several of our members and attended by many of our members.  Last June it was the site for the annual retreat of the American Federation of Musicians Local 1000, again an organization many of our members belong to.  We’ve been in touch with LHF Director (and former PMN Steering Committee member) Elise Bryant. She is excited to have PMN be a part of their 2019 summer gathering. 

    We can look forward to: bringing our songs to their multiple round robin "arts exchanges"; presenting panels or workshops as we have at our usual summer gatherings; sponsoring one of the various song contests (voted on by attendees with cash prizes offered); convening breakout sessions for PMNers and any interested in joining us. And after GLAE ends with a breakfast feedback session on Sunday the 23rd a session all our own could be a welcome send off. 

    The dates for GLAE are June 20 -23 (Thursday to Sunday) in Silver Spring MD, just outside of Washington DC.  It’s held at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center with great facilities for plenaries and breakouts.  The Center offers private rooms and meals and LHF can help arrange home stays and indicate alternate dining sites for tighter budgets. Registration details will be sent out soon.  We will be sharing more information at the Winter Gathering.

    GLAE will bring us together with activists in the labor movement and with a diverse array of cultural workers - singers, rappers, poets, writers and visual artists.  All the arts are focused on creating progressive change.  We have a lot to offer each other.

    So mark your calendars and join us as we join The Great Labor Arts Exchange for a mutual summer gathering! Read more about the Great Labor Arts Exchange here:

    - The PMN Steering Committee

  • 02/27/2019 9:46 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    By Jasper Lapienski

    As the last of 25 participants in the first Freedom & Struggle Song Swap arrived on Saturday, February 23, 2019, Charlie King -- 2018 PMN Artist-in-Residence and host of this month's swap -- asked us to move our chairs back to accommodate everyone.

    The new, monthly song swap in Greenfield is co-sponsored by Dance Spree, a community group that I lead which hosts weekly freestyle boogies as well as workshops and other community events, such as a debate of candidates for statewide offices who belong to parties that are are excluded from the two party duopoly.  The song Swap has two main objectives: to bring home the singing of freedom songs, and to bring singers and dancers into contact with one another, encouraging crossover between the groups.

    The evening included a whole lot of Pete Seeger songs, and thanks to a loan of songbooks from Peter Blood & Annie Patterson, everyone was able to sing along. Attendees included Ben Grosscup, PMN executive director; Storm, Steering Committee member; and Rob Peck, MC of the 2018 summer concert.

    To be held on the 4th Saturday of every month, the song swap takes place at The Episcopal Church of St James & Andrew in downtown Greenfield, leading up to and into that night's freestyle dance. We hope you'll join us for both the singing and the dancing, month after month!

    For more info on the song swap go to - more on the dance go to

    Upcoming swaps: March 23 with Michael Nix; April 27 with Ben Grosscup; May 25 - still seeking facilitator.

  • 01/18/2019 4:16 AM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    Check out the workshop program for the 2019 PMN Winter Gathering in NYC on January 26 and 27! Workshop presenters and facilitators are putting on a program that represents PMN's diversity and that engages participants in the transformative power of music! 

    Read two ways!

    1.Workshop Grid  (1 Page)

    2.Workshop Descriptions  (9 pages)

  • 11/02/2018 3:45 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)


    On Sunday, October 21, 2018 the Hudson Valley Contingent of PMN held a fundraiser at the iconic music venue, The Towne Crier, in Beacon, N.Y. We were fortunate to get Hudson Valley Sally (Laurie Siegel, David Tarlo, John Fisher and Terry Cotillon); Dilson Hernandez, who will appear in the Friday concert at the PMN Winter Concert on January 25, 2019 in New York City; and Joshua Garcia. I was the opening act. Everyone put on a great performance. The show concluded with the performers singing “If I Had a Hammer” along with the audience.

    About two dozen people showed up for all or part of the show. They were an enthusiastic, listening crowd and they enjoyed all the performers. Most had not heard of PMN, so it also raised their awareness. A couple expressed interest in the Winter Gathering, so we may see them again! Phil Ciganer, the proprietor of the Towne Crier, was impressed by the talent. He asked me for contact info for Joshua and Dilson.

    The event raised $269!  Putting this concert together was enjoyable and rewarding all around. I recommend that others do it, to raise money for, and awareness of, PMN, and to have a great time!

  • 05/10/2018 1:42 AM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    Workshop Proggram (New!)

    The 2018 PMN Summer Gathering workshops take place at Camp Kinderland in Tolland, MA on Saturday and Sunday as part of a 3 day weekend from June 1-3, 2018. More at the workshop page.

    Read the program in two ways:
        Workshop Grid (1 Page)
        Full Descriptions ( Pages)

  • 02/11/2018 8:16 AM | Tom Smith (Administrator)

    PMN hosts a song swap on the 3rd Sunday of each month at Iconica Social Club, located in the parking lot behind Haymarket Cafe in downtown Northampton, MA. Contact Jasper Lapienski via e-mail or phone (413) 658-7011 if you have questions or are interested in attending. All are welcome!

    Each month's event is hosted by a PMN member or affiliated musician, with an accompanying theme (e.g., immigration, war & peace, etc.) There is no cover charge, although participants are encouraged to purchase homemade juices and pastries from Iconica. The format is an informal sharing and will develop to match the interests of those who participate. All music genres and spoken word are welcome.

  • 01/10/2018 8:11 PM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    The workshop list for the 2018 PMN Winter Gathering in Boston (Jan 26-28, 2018) is posted! We have 28 engaging and participatory workshops led by a talented, inspired, and diverse group of workshop leaders. Read about the many workshops that are happening here.

  • 12/21/2017 8:00 AM | Ben Grosscup (Administrator)

    Watch all 12 Performances on youtube!

    Last month People's Music Network sponsored the PMN Social Songs Showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, featuring 12 different acts, each performing original and timely songs that speak to issues of class oppression, US military domination, racism, the rights of immigrants and refugees, the distortions of political thought today, and hope for a better world.

    Singout! Article "Busy Times for People’s Music Network"

    Ron Olesko (host of "Traditions" on WFDU) was one of the judges. He wrote an article for Singout! that describes this particular showcase, the strengths of the songs, and the thinking of the panel of judges, which also included Jane Fallon (Award winning songwriter & author) and Ron Cooke (host of "Music They Don't Want You to Hear" on KTAL).

    The 12 Songs on a Soundcloud Playlist

    1. Crys Matthews, "Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers"
    2. David Roth, "Home of the Brave"
    3. Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches, "Get Us Out Of Fear Land"
    4. Emma's Revolution , "Still Here"
    5. Chris LaVancher, "Nostalgia"
    6. Bev Grant, "I Am A Sewing Machine"
    7. Mark Kilianski, "The Blue Sky Ain't No Friend Of Mine"
    8. Eleanor Kleiner, "Fat Cat"
    9. Dave Richardson, "We Got A Boat"
    10. Bethlehem and Sad Patrick, "Mother of Exiles"
    11. Mike Glick, "We Shall Be Free"
    12. Judy Kass, "Look at us Marching Now"
    People's Music Network would like to give a huge thank you to JB Nuttle from World One Video for providing videography services for this showcase! Thanks also to the judges, and to the 45 NERFA attendees who made song submissions for this showcase!
  • 11/04/2017 2:03 PM | Tom Smith (Administrator)

    Congratulations Charlie! 

    Charlie King, founding PMN member and Artist in Residence at the upcoming PMN Winter Gathering in Boston is the winner of the Phil Ochs Award for 2017.  The criteria includes:

    • accomplished songwriter & compelling performer
    • grounded in the folk tradition (Woody, Pete, Ronnie, Leadbelly, Buffy, Phil et al)
    • advances the spirit of Phil's music and activism
    • demonstrates a commitment to social justice and community engagement
    Here is a article from A Still Small Voice with more information. You can learn more about Charlie at his website.

    Charlie King, Winner of the 2017 Phil Ochs Award.                
  • 11/03/2017 1:58 PM | Tom Smith (Administrator)

    (Update 11/25/17: Complete and up-to-date details available at Winter Gathering Overview.)

    People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom and Struggle invites you to be part of our 2018 PMN Winter Gathering at two venues (in Cambridge & Brookline, MA) from January 26-28, 2018.


    Charlie King and Rick Burkhardt will be PMN Artists-in-Residence for the 2017 PMN Winter Gathering! Charlie is a musical storyteller and political satirist, hailed by Pete Seeger as “One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.” He is recipient of the 2017 Phil Ochs Award. Rick is is an Obie-award-winning playwright, performer, composer, and songwriter/accordionist for the Prince Myshkins, a political cabaret folk duo.


    The PMN Friday Night Concert takes place at the First Parish in Cambridge, starting at 7:30pm on January 26, 2018, which will feature PMN Artists in Residence, Charlie King and Rick Burkhardt. Other confirmed performers (so far) include Reggie Gibson, Sol Y Canto, and Windborne Singers. Concert goers are invited to come early to rehearse for a huge PMN Pick-up chorus! Details to be released soon!


    On Saturday and Sunday (January 27 & 28, 2018) at the Pierce School in Brookline, we’ll have participatory workshops and songswaps; mentoring sessions; and a Saturday night “Round Robin” – all highlighting the role of music in progressive social change. The Youth Creative Convergence will take place parallel to the adult workshops. Expect opportunities to share music, sing together, build networks, and to join efforts to bring music for progressive social change into the heart of struggles for justice and freedom today.


    Do you want to lead a workshop session as part of this exciting and inspirational weekend? Workshops at PMN are led by gathering participants. We invite you to get involved in shaping the weekend by putting forth your ideas. Propose a workshop or workshop topic you want to see included in the Gathering. Ben Grosscup ( is organizing the adult workshop program. Learn how to submit a workshop proposal.


    The Youth Creative Convergence (YCC) is back at PMN for the second year in a row! The program will include childcare and activities for ages 3-12, plus a series of workshops specifically designed to inspire and equip teens in a variety of creative endeavors (roughly ages 13-17). We're excited to engage kids and youth with elements of people’s history, interactive projects, creative challenges, games, and collaborations with elders. Jayme Winnell ( is organizing the YCC. Learn more or offer a workshop.


    We will serve Friday Dinner at the Church. We'll serve all five meals from Saturday Breakfast to Sunday Lunch in the school cafeteria. We will arrange sleeping accommodations for out-of-town guests at the homes of local volunteer hosts. Count on a welcoming community-oriented feel to the whole weekend! Boston area residents can host an out of town PMN participant, by filling out this form online.


    Online registration will be announced soon. Financial assistance is available and must be arranged in advance. Our need-based payment scale seeks the broadest participation possible while keeping PMN financially solvent. All 6 meals are included when you register. Day rates are also available.

    Tickets for the Friday concert are included for free with the Winter Gathering registration, or you will also be able to purchase concert tickets separately.


    PMN’s Matt Jones Scholarship Fund fosters a multi-racial and inter-generational artistic and political community by providing registration and partial travel stipends to young people (25 years or younger) and people of color wishing to attend a PMN gathering. Scholarship applicants may request up to $50 in travel stipends to reimburse for the cost of travel. Find information on how to apply.

    Facebook: Consider sharing the Gathering Event on Facebook, and invite your friends!

    SAVE THE DATE! PMN SUMMER GATHERING, June 1-3, 2018 (Tolland, MA)

    Our 42nd annual PMN Summer Gathering will take place in 2018 at Camp Kinderland in Tolland, MA for the second year in a row. Save the date and stay tuned for more info. Videos from the 2017 Summer Gathering are now available on the PMN Youtube Page.

    Yours in song,

    Ben Grosscup

    People's Music Network, Executive Director

©2017-2021 People's Music Network for Songs of Freedom and Struggle is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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