Overpass Fest Brings Life Back to Creekwalk

Syracuse musicians have a new, local venue to make tunes and connections with one another.

The Creekwalk near Café Kubal on West Water Street is now home to Overpass Fest, a weekly music gathering where Syracuse residents and visitors can now stop by for a taste of local music.

Overpass Fest was created by Syracuse resident Michael Heagerty. He assisted with the cultural development of the Connective Corridor.

Heagerty enlisted the help of local musicians to launch Overpass Fest last month.

One of those organizers, Max Puglisi, is a Syracuse resident, musician and the live music coordinator at Alto Cinco. Puglisi said Overpass Fest aims to fill the empty areas below Interstate 81 on the Creekwalk with community members. “It’s forgotten space,” Puglisi said, "even though it’s brand new.”

The Creekwalk is a pedestrian trail along Onondaga creek, stretching from Armory Square to Onondaga Lake. It was completed in 2011, but there are plans to expand the trail.

Linda Dickerson Hartsock, the previous director of Syracuse University’s Connective Corridor, said the Creekwalk was developed by the city at the same time as the Corridor and was created to complement the Corridor.

Hartsock said Overpass Fest is capitalizing on this complementary space by creating a community of local artists. “It’s just an exciting, interesting, eclectic mix of people coming together around this,” Hartsock said.

Puglisi said the Overpass Fest community is growing by the week and will help eliminate the stigma around Syracuse’s depressed economy. “Overpass Fest is one of those things that’s going to push the city into the next realm of cultural experience,” he said.

Overpass Fest is attracting the attention of non-Syracuse musicians as well. Virginia Semeghini, 26, is a singer-songwriter from Bridgeport, Connecticut. She said she was on her way to Buffalo when she stumbled upon a Facebook event for the July 27 Overpass Fest and decided to make this her first visit to Syracuse.

“I was very pleased to see how people were so united,” Semeghini said.

Even though Semeghini didn’t know anyone at Overpass Fest, a group of musicians joined in on one of her original songs. “It so beautiful to see these strangers playing together,” she said. “It was very emotional. It was so hard not to cry.”

Overpass Fest is open to all musicians. The next meetup is scheduled for Aug. 3. Musicians and spectators will meet at Café Kubal Creekwalk Commons at 5 p.m. and walk down to the path together.

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