FLASHBACK: Remembering the First LarkFest

Bands for LarkFest 1981
Photo taken at Lark Beat Records of band members from the Morons, the Units and the Young Reptiles (the A.D.’s were not available for the photo shoot) to promote the first LarkFest. Also, Scot Gray from the Lumpen Proles is in the photo for some reason.

Photograph by Judy Seibert Kash

It’s the biggest free outdoor bash in Nippertown, a curb-to-curb crush of arts and crafts, food and fun, music and merriment. Yes, it’s LarkFest, and on Saturday, it’s back for its 32nd annual appearance on Albany’s Lark Street.

That’s right, LarkFest is 32 years old…

Back in 1981, when LarkFest first hit the street, there was only one stage and four bands – the Units (before they changed their name to Fear of Strangers), the Young Reptiles, the A.D.’s and the Morons – showcasing the best of Albany’s burgeoning DIY rock scene.

This year, the fest comes full circle, thanks to Al Kash and Tim Livingston. Kash played at the very first LarkFest, fueling the big beat behind not one, but two bands that day – the Units and the Young Retiles. And Livingston was the lead singer in the Morons, who closed the first LarkFest with an energetic punk-rock celebration.

At 12:30pm on Saturday at the Madison Avenue Stage, Kash and Livingston will be in the LarkFest spotlight once again, firing up a politically charged volley of equally high-energy rock with their current band, the Last Conspirators.

“I misspent a large part of my young adulthood on Lark Street,” recalls Livingston, “playing and drinking at 288 Lark, listening to the latest import vinyl at Lark Beat Records, working at People’s Choice Ice Cream, shopping at Lemme’s Market and hanging out on the steps of After the Goldrush.

“Perhaps on Saturday, we can raise some of those ghosts.”

But don’t think for a moment that the Last Conspirators will be wallowing in rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia at this year’s Lark Street party. Instead, the band – which also features guitarist Terry Plunkett and bassist Nick Bisanz – will be celebrating the release of their brand new, aptly titled album, A Celebration of Fury.

FLASHBACK: The First LarkFest Theme Song

  1. Doug White's Ghost says

    Tim Livingston once had hair?

  2. TL says

    Ha! Good one Ghost of D.W., but in fact I still do have hair. Just not on the top of my head! Perhaps your spirit can float by Larkfest and maybe I will show it to you. Then we can see which one of us has aged better… whoever you may really be… i’ll be the old, bald guy ROCKIN’ the street and leveling the land! Cheers!

  3. val haynes says

    ah….such a sweet pic and i’m wistful and missing doug and jude.

  4. Roger Green says

    I LOVED Larkfest in the early 1980s. Still have my Units and A.D.s singles.

  5. Ellen says

    The Lumpen Proles, and the Trash Knights with Jim Furlong, played at Larkfest in 1984. Still have my photos.

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