Hopefully by now you’ve heard the buzz about Beat Fest!
The brainchild of Portsmouth Poet Laureate Mike Nelson, The New Hampshire Beat Festival brings together poets, musicians, songwriters, dancers, artists and storytellers in a single night to benefit three wonderful local NH organizations.
The three beneficiary organizations weren’t picked at random — each one of the organizations has been the site of a poetry class run by laureate Mike Nelson during the first year of his laureateship. In the case of the International Institute of New England, and organization in Manchester that serves the Granite State’s refugee and immigrant populations, Mike teamed up with New Hampshire state poet laureate Alice Fogel. At Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, which serves people in recovery from substance abuse addiction. At Chase Home for Children in Portsmouth, which houses and supports underserved and at-risk youth, Nelson combined poetry with other creative and hands-on activities like collage-making.
All of these classes, and the Beat Festival itself, serve the mantra of Nelson’s Tribe Poetry Project: Listen and be heard. As quoted in this story by Debbie Kane for The Portsmouth Magazine, Nelson said, “we all need to listen and talk to each other… I believe all our problems could be solved that way.”
In addition to the multidisciplinary performances onstage — including the incredible Beat Night Band — there will also be art from local artists on display, such as visual artist Jason Johnson. Another artist present will be refugee artist and poet Binod Rai, whose painting graces the cover of the second edition of Good Fat, a poetry zine released in March by Nelson, with support from the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Project.
Lots of local businesses have donated cool things for a big fun, evening-long raffle to increase funds raised for these three great organizations. And your ticket price comes with FREE DINNER — sandwiches from The Kitchen!
Get your tickets here — and get ’em soon! There’s only so many spots available for this seated event, and you don’t wanna be sad when you’re told at the door, “sorry, we sold out!”