Santilli Highway and the Village: the Hub of Hip in Greater Boston

By Seth Daniel

George Clinton was the headliner performer at Village Fest on Saturday, and provided the audience with the kind of excitement that only a hall-of-fame performer could. Meanwhile, those at Village Fest enjoyed the beautiful day, the breweries and the electric atmosphere.

We’ve all said this before and we’ve all covered this territory if we’ve been around Everett more than 10 minutes.

But after eating, drinking, dancing, listening, socializing and even bouncing on Santilli Highway Saturday night at Village Fest, one has to pose the question again.

Would anyone five years ago have believed that 10,000 people would be congregated on an old forgotten corner of the city to hear Rock and Roll Hall of Famers George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic play an electric set as some of the coolest breweries and distilleries in all of the Boston area served up exclusive drinks?

Would anyone have believed that someone, anyone, could have attracted 100 people to that area for anything beyond a Pop Warner football game at the park?

The answer has to be ‘no’ every time.

It’s why Saturday was one of the more special times in the city’s recent history.

Thousands of Everett residents and a handful of Everett businesses from the Village neighborhood courteously hosted an even greater number of visitors to the city courtesy of – at least primarily – Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the Wynn Boston Harbor partnership.

So many people came and had a great time in what is a new city that is changing so fast it’s hard to recognize, and certainly will be even harder after June 2019.

But if Saturday is an indication of the new direction of the City – then that is most likely a very positive thing and something to revel in. That’s because Everett has been the forgotten neighbor of the economic engine of the state, Boston, for so, so long. How many times has Boston dumped on Everett? Too many times to count.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria said it best some years ago just after Wynn received its gaming license. He said that Everett was no longer going to be the butt of Boston.

Some didn’t like that, but he was spot on.

And Everett has cache now. It has style and it has something people want – that being a good time in a fun place with good people.

Everett’s time has finally come and Saturday showed it. How many people chose to bypass Boston on a beautiful Saturday night to come to Everett instead? Or to stay in Everett if they live here?

By my count about 10,000.

No one else around us can or has done that.

Some have grumbled about the entertainment or a couple of incidents that took place in the crowd (which Everett Police handled very well by the way).

Be that as it may, it was cool for people young and old and of all stripes and walks of life to be in Everett.

That’s a pretty new thing, and it means success – the kind of success Everett has watched others achieve from a distance.

My take is we should consider Saturday a down payment on fun from Steve Wynn.

In a speech before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) about four years ago that has become nearly historic for this area, Wynn panned over and over again about the delicate science of bringing people from “over there to over here.”

On a small scale, that’s exactly what happened on Saturday night, and with the City, the business community, the residents and Wynn all rowing in the same direction, Everett’s time has come.

So many have been saying that for a while.

Saturday was all about living it out.

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