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Taste organizers seek young bands for competition

By Michelle Symington

MetroWest Reminder Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD With the number of Taste events in the area dwindling, the organizers of Westside's Taste on the Common have decided to take on a new name Westside's Taste of the Valley.

Shera Cohen, public relations director for the Taste, explained that taste events in Springfield, Northampton and Hartford no longer exist. As a result, she said the West Springfield event is expanding due to interest from businesses in the areas that no longer host the event.

"We are reflecting more on the Valley than West Springfield," she said.

She said that there will be a few more restaurants at the Taste in West Springfield than last year and two new restaurants have already signed up to participate.

The list of participating businesses will be announced as the event approaches.

Also new to this year's Taste is a competition for young musicians. Westside's Taste of the Valley is looking for high school or college-aged musicians to participate in the event's first Battle of the Bands competition.

Cohen said the organizers are looking for "kids who are jamming and have their own bands."

"We want to fill the days with local talent and young talent," she said.

She added that the competition will allow the young bands to perform in front of a crowd, which she said could make them "feel flattered."

Cohen said bands who perform any genre of music are welcome to compete.

"We don't care what genre rock, punk, classical, country, a mixture it doesn't matter," she said.

Adam Tabaka of Westside's Taste, said, "We plan to host enough high school bands to include a Battle of the Bands on this year's performance schedule. I'm certain it will be a lot of fun and give the bands a chance to become recognized by a large number of people."

Prizes will be given to the top three bands selected by a panel of judges. The competition will take place June 10 and 11.

Last year, organizers of the Taste experimented with making the event four days instead of three as it has been in past years.

"It was an experiment," Cohen said. "And it was an experiment that worked."

This year's event will again be four days long and will take place June 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Cohen explained that the Taste used to take place during the first weekend of June, but it was moved to the second weekend because it conflicted with the city's high school graduation.

Any bands interested in participating in the Battle of the Bands should contact Adam Tabaka at (413) 734-1118.

Westside's Taste of the Valley is hosted by the city of West Springfield and the West Springfield Rotary Club.

For more information about the Taste, visit