Wake Up the Earth Sounds Its Annual Alarm


Festival attendees listen to local music group JP Honk. (Source: Alex Strand (II))

By Mai Babila-Weigmann (II), Staff Writer

On May 7, Spontaneous Celebrations held their annual Wake Up the Earth festival in Jamaica Plain. It started off with a parade running from Curtis Hall to Stony Brook, where the main festival takes place each year. 

Wake Up the Earth began in 1979 because of a grassroots movement to prevent a twelve-lane extension of Interstate 95 from being built on the Southwest Corridor, a grassy area stretching from Back Bay to Forest Hills. After the movement, the festival was held at the highway’s proposed location to serve as a continuous reminder of the community’s victory. Throughout the years, Wake Up the Earth has also served as a celebration of the Jamaica Plain neighborhood and the beginning of spring. 

The festival has clearly stood the test of time, with hundreds of people attending and returning year after year. Mayaan Magaziner (II), who has attended the event for many years, remarks, “The atmosphere is lively and full of joy,” but notes, “It seemed like a smaller scale event than it has in past years.” 

Despite the negative effects of the pandemic, Wake Up the Earth is still an annual event that many people look forward to.

Just by attending the event, the vibrancy of the Boston community is evident. It showcases multiple musical performances, this year including those by JP Honk and Lovewhip. There is dancing and singing, and music is never out of earshot for those attending the event. There is also a large assortment of food including ice cream and fried dough, with food vendors at the ready in many streets. Besides this, the event is filled with dozens of shops and informational booths from various organizations. 

Wake Up the Earth is a beloved event for many Jamaica Plain residents. Esli Rosenthal (I) says, “It’s definitely a core part of JP and something a lot of people look forward to.” 

Kyler Hoogendoorn-Ecker (II) believes that the event “attracts a diverse group of people. Teenagers, younger kids, parents and older people alike all show up, as well as people from all different walks of life who live in the neighborhood. It feels like a very welcoming environment and a celebration of the beauty of community.”

No matter the age, there is something for everyone at this event. Among the stands this year are a collage-making station, instruments to play and listen to and even a cardboard slide (which is a favorite among kids). There are also face-painting stations as well as booths offering henna tattoo services and tarot readings. Wake Up the Earth warms the hearts of many and is a wonderful place for families and friends to create memories while celebrating the strength of their community.