A Brief History of Flywheel Inside Out

Along with the return of pandemic panic, fresh corn, and evictions, August 2021 brought us the return of Flywheel Inside Out. We produced three (!) shows: two at Forbes Library and one at John Doe Jr. Records in Greenfield under the Inside Out moniker. Although this sounds like a catchy new phase of Flywheel’s story post-Old Town Hall, it actually has a long history that dates back to 2000.

But before we get to that, we need to go back to 1998 and the founding of the Valley Arts and Music Alliance (VAMA). VAMA was Flywheel’s precursor and was started by local artists Cindy Bow and Helen Harrison, who were annoyed over the lack of quality venues that nurtured local artists and performers instead of only booking the “popular” ones who brought in money. They found other like-minded spirits and launched VAMA in the spring of 1998 as a roving booking collective. Less than a year later, they had found an empty storefront and Flywheel in Easthampton was born.

But before the storefront came to be, VAMA did shows wherever they could: small art galleries, cafés, record stores and the out of doors. As 2 Holyoke Street became our first home, the need to do shows at other venues evaporated. However, in October of 2000, an inspired collective member suggested we do a show outside in Easthampton. He said “Let’s call it Flywheel Inside Out”. OK. So it was, that on Saturday October 7 from 12-6 Flywheel hosted Rockin’ The Dead From The Nashawannuck Deck (Outdoors) @ Nasawannuck Pond. I didn’t go to the show, but my memory is that it was a Grateful Dead covers show? If you were there and can confirm, drop some science in the comments.

The name clicked and Flywheel continued to use it a handful of times throughout the years. We usually used it whenever we did an event away from “home”. Kind of like an away game.  Here is a sampling of a few Inside Out shows that we can remember:

  • Thursday January 25th, 2001 with Zeena Parkins/Nels Cline/Thurston Moore Trio and Kim Gordon/Ikue Mori/DJ Olive upstairs at Old Town Hall in Easthampton
  • Saturday October 20, 2001 with Gokh-Bi Systems (from Senegal!), Tony Vacca, & MC Soulfighter at Open Square in Holyoke
  • Saturday September 8, 2001 with The Faint, Outhud, & The Warren Commission upstairs at Old Town Hall in Easthampton
  • Saturday September 15, 2001 with Wesley Willis (RIP), Shazam, & Grand Buffet upstairs at Old Town Hall in Easthampton

Did we really sandwich two huge shows between 9/11/01? Yikes!

  • Mary Timony on stage at Old Town Hall playing guitar

    Mary Timony Town Hall upstairs. August 29, 2002

    Thursday August 29, 2002 with Le Tigre and Mary Timony upstairs at Old Town Hall in Easthampton

  • Thursday April 18, 2002 with Fugazi, TizzyCraig Colorusso, with films by Bright Rectangle (co-produced with The Old Store Collective)

There may be a few more that we can’t find right now, but that’s a good overview. Long live Flywheel Inside Out!

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