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By : Shamus Hill

7 min read

For quite some time now, Boston Calling has grasped the spot as Massachusetts’ premiere music festival. Despite bringing some of the world’s most profound acts to the Boston area, residents and local music aficionados alike have expressed discontent towards the festival’s lack of local inclusivity. Though they’ve made profound advancements in this regard over the years, this discourse has shined a light on a need for something fresh, something that’s both for us and by us. This is where Fields Corner native, Cousin Stizz, comes in. After years of paving the way for Massachusetts Hip-Hop acts as a main source of inspiration, Stizz is curating his biggest project yet. Last month, he announced the very first edition of Commonwealth Fest, a two-day music festival that aims to put New England culture on a pedestal.

Slated for the weekend of September 16th and 17th, Commonwealth Fest will take place in Medfield, Massachusetts at the Bellforge Arts Center – approximately 30 miles Southwest of Boston. Not only will Commonwealth Fest highlight some of Massachusetts’ best up-and-comers, but Stizz will be bringing along some national acts as well. Cousin Stizz himself will be headlining the festival, and will be bringing along friends Buddy, Kenny Mason, and Tony Shnow – three of the most exciting names in Hip-Hop music right now. As far as local acts go, Commonwealth Fest will be blessed with performances by Michael Christmas, BoriRock, Jiles, Avenue, Kei, Clark D, Nay $peaks, Tyler Loyal, and Nino Francis.

Michael Christmas is a charismatic rapper whose polished discography has garnered national acclaim. Working with the likes of Logic and Mac Miller, Christmas has cemented himself as one of the area’s most sought-after acts. BoriRock is an enigma. Crafting fine-tuned rap music rooted in authenticity, Bori has grown into one of the hardest working creatives in the state, releasing four full-length projects already this year. Jiles is a member of the prospering collective, Van Buren Records. Originally from Brockton, Jiles’ raw delivery of well-tooled verses has driven many rap fans his way. Avenue has long-proven to be one of the most capable MC’s in Boston. Making a name for himself by colliding smooth raps atop even smoother instrumentation, Avenue’s style of music is unparalleled. Kei is perhaps the most exciting artist in New England right now. The Boston rapper is an electric performer, and her high-energy musical catalog will surely result in one of Commonwealth Fest’s liveliest sets. Clark D is yet another Boston native, and recently dropped an eclectic project titled ‘CLARKDPROPAGANDA’. He’s had himself a solid year, and will likely be performing the project at the festival. Nay $peaks is a rapper from Mattapan, and was featured in last month’s Massachusetts Minute column. She’s a poet in every sense, and her recent album ‘Nayborhood Healer’ is exceptional. Tyler Loyal is a genre-bending artist from Boston, who fuses elements of Hip-Hop and R&B together to create something special. Nino Francis is a Dominican-American artist from Providence, who makes delectable R&B tracks. His 2022 release of ‘AMARGO’ was one of the best to exit New England in recent memory.

Not only will attendees witness these performers do their thing, but local DJ’s will be providing sounds as well. Tasked with DJing the event will be: SuperSmashBroz, Alondrugs, Jenno, and Snax. Day 1 will consist of musical performances, while Day 2 will feature the SPREAD LOVE FUNCTION – a one-day party curated by Stay Silent. With so much in store, this event will certainly go down as one of the most important in Massachusetts in recent memory. It’s definitely not one that fans of Massachusetts music will want to miss. Be sure to grab your tickets now by heading over to

Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #161 September 2023


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