Photo by Sean Law
Tell me Beck, what's it like being the "Gal In Charge"?
Stressful, but worth it! I get to throw a big party every year!
What got you into the Rockabilly scene?
The Music! I'm kind of a lone wolf, always have been, so I never really feel like I'm part of any "scene" really... I just go to a lot of shows, and weekenders because I dig music.
What do you personally like about it?
The Music! All the clothes, and car shows and all that other stuff is fun... I love digging around for vintage treasures and driving around looking for old diners, but really.. the music is what's most important to me. Clothes rip, cars die, diners get demolished... but a good song in your head will be there for your entire life.
You collect records, what do you collect?
Mostly old country LPs and 45s. And Exotica too. I'm also trying to collect all the "Hawaiian" albums released by country artists... Snow in Hawaii, Aloha from Tennessee Ernie Ford, Song of the Islands, by Marty Robbins...
What are some of your all time favorite bands or artists?
Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Gordon Terry, Skeets McDonald, Jimmie Skinner, Justin Tubb, Goldie Hill, Hank Williams, Jimmy and Johnny, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, Homer and Jethro... I'm leaving a bunch out! I gravitate towards 40-60s country mostly, it seems.
Do you have any current favorite bands or artists worldwide?
There's a ton of great bands out there now! I'm just gonna say: all the bands I've booked over the years.
What are some of your favorite songs?
Oh boy! That's tough one! I really dig "Girl From Ipanema" (The Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto version), "If You Can't Bite, Don't Growl," by Tommy Collins, "The New Raunchy" by Webb Pierce. "Service with a Smile" by Gordon Terry. "My Uncle Used to Love me But She Died" by Roger Miller. "Alone with You" by Faron Young. "Root Beer" by George Jones. "Fuss and Fight" by Skeets McDonald. "Pan American" by Hank Williams. A while back I had "Tupelo Country Jail" stuck in my head for weeks! There's so many songs I love!
Tell us a bit about yourself, for example how do you make your
dime? How about your other ventures?
I'm a graphic designer to pay my bills, I put on shows to pay my soul.
Year three of the Shake Up is just around the corner. Are you
holding your sanity together?
Yeah, for the most part. I try and get everything done by the beginning of September, so that the few weeks before the Shake-Up are pretty much "calm before the storm." Or "calm before the shindig," to be more accurate.
What brought you to put this weekender together?
There wasn't a proper weekender up in New England, so I thought I'd try and make one happen! I had been booking regular shows for years, and I've wanted to book a multi-day larger event for quite a while, but was always hesitant... it's a scary thing to sign that venue contract and plunk that deposit down! I finally just decided there would never be a "perfect time" to decide to do it.. so I just dove in.
How did you locate this ideal location?
I looked at about a dozen other hotels, but none of the other ones I looked at had everything I needed.. either they had a great pool, but not a good ballroom, or a great ballroom, but not a big enough parking lot, or not enough space for everything I wanted to do. A few hotels didn't even take me seriously, to be honest. I think it's tough for people to really believe someone when they say, "I need ALL your hotel rooms, and ALL your available rental space for 4 days." But, the Sturbridge Host Hotel had everything I needed, and great additional things, like Cedar Lake, and the surrounding town, which is beautiful and full of great restaurants and antique shops. And luckily, they took me seriously that first year!
The Shake Up is a fantastic weekender and has for sure been a lot
of work. Have you had to make any sacrifices to make it possible?
Yep... lack of sleep, I'm now broke, my house is full of merch, all the regular sacrifices you'd imagine. I don't really think of it as sacrificing anything though... I enjoy putting the Shake-Up on so much, that I don't mind.
Have you run into any major challenges organizing it? Do you have
help putting it on?
Challenges? Just my budget really.. I feel limited by my budget almost daily. There's so much I want to do that I just can't right now, because the event is still so new, that my budget won't allow it. I have a small staff at the Shake-Up while it's happening.. Security, ticket booth workers, that sort of thing, but throughout the year, I do everything myself. I guess eventually, I'll have to have some help throughout the year, but for now I can handle everything myself, and prefer it that way. I don't want to trust anything to anyone else if I can help it! That might not be the best way to run things, but I'm a control freak I guess.
How do you select your bands?
I just book bands that I like. I put together a lineup every year that I'd want to see if I was going to a weekender. Luckily, it's worked so far!
It seems to be growing. Is this in your opinion an indication
that the east coast scene is experiencing a revival or do you feel it
is due to other influences?
I HOPE there is a revival brewing. There are a few new bands popping up around here, so hopefully that's the start of more good times and good music happening around here.
What is your vision for the New England Shake Up?
The main thing is I just want every year to have a really great line-up, of both live bands and DJs. That's what it's all about!
Tell us, what's new this year?
We've got live music as well as DJs, at the Pool Party this year... I'm excited about that! The Shopping Lounge has outgrown the room it was in for the first two years, so it's moving to a larger room, closer to the ballroom. There's a campfire sing-along on Friday night, out by the lake this year. Every year I tweak things to make everything run smoother, and so that everyone has the best possible time.
What sets the Shake Up apart from other weekenders? What makes it
Well, I try and keep things as music-based as I can... I don't have a lot of other things at the Shake-Up. Sure, there's a car show, and a shopping Lounge, but other than that... it's all music. I think that's a bit different nowadays... All that other stuff like pin-up contests and burlesque is fine for other events, but The Shake-Up really is about the music.
Is there anything that you would like to add about yourself or
this great event?
Support Music! Go see live music! Buy albums and merch! Get excited! Tell your friends!