Tanglewood drops deal with Josh Billings Runaground

For the editor:

I am writing to express my extreme disappointment and anger at Tanglewood’s decision to renege on its longstanding agreement with the Josh Billings Runaground to host the Bash and allow parking on its grounds. Also, of course, the finish line was traditionally at Tanglewood Main Gate.

As a former manager of The Josh for four years, I understand how integral The Bash is to the whole Josh experience. It’s a chance for contestants to swap stories, picnic, listen to the band, receive their awards, and generally come together, encouraged and supported by family and friends.

In doing so, Tanglewood has put the town of Stockbridge in an untenable position. Gould Meadows became the proposed alternate parking area. In case of inclement weather, this beautiful public space entrusted to the Conservation Commission for everyone’s enjoyment (an increasingly rare habitat for ground-nesting birds) with its newly restored vista thanks to funding from the Community Preservation Act and of the hundreds of hours of volunteer work, could be ruined by stuck cars and subsequent ruts. The additional need for large tow trucks would add to the destruction. The cost of repairing the pitch is expected to be borne by Josh, taking funds intended for United Way of the Berkshires for the works.

Tanglewood advertises itself as being in Lenox, when in fact 90% of the campus is in Stockbridge. They depend on the services of Stockbridge, but they do not pay any taxes, nor do they pay “in lieu of”. As evidenced by the traffic jams entering the area on a big concert night, and by the sound that rivals the Indy 500 passing by my old house, a good portion of the spectators don’t actually frequent our local businesses. They come and they go. Their volunteers used to enjoy the valuable benefits of attending concerts and getting free tickets for their efforts to share with their families and friends. This is no longer the case. And ticket prices now exceed the average wallet.

So won’t Tanglewood be home to the many local high school and college graduates anymore? Or will they continue to host the highly lucrative marriage business?

For so many years, Tanglewood has been a good community partner. This is a very sad turn of events.

Sally Underwood Miller


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