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Parks as Platform

| 5 min read

For Olmsted Now, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy expands its annual free event series Summer on the Emerald Necklace into a shared resource for cross-neighborhood collaboration and community-generated public events from April through October 2022.

Each month the Conservancy will collaborate with a site partner to anchor programming with extra support: securing permits, coordinating volunteers and providing amenities like signage, presentation/performance/convening space, portable utilities and restrooms, food trucks and more. The goal is to increase park access, amplify partner capacity to welcome expanded audiences and maximize impacts of diverse public offerings using the parks as platform.


Mark your calendars! [Rain dates are the Sunday following the Saturday events.] Check for details, calls for proposals and volunteer opportunities for each event! Interested in getting involved? Contact Jen Mergel:

1. Saturday April 23, 12:30-3pm: Olmsted Park
Presented with Brookline Parks and Open Space
Following the morning’s Muddy River Clean Up (part of the Annual Earth Day Charles River Clean up and the State’s Park Serve Day), enjoy free music, tours and learning opportunities about sustainability and volunteerism in the parks.

2. Sunday May 8, 10am-3pm: Arnold Arboretum
Presented with Harvard’s Arboretum Team
Celebrate the history of the Arboretum’s 150 years—and the return of Lilac Sunday for the first time since 2019!—with a renowned collection of 408 lilacs, expert-led tours, hands-on children’s programming and more. 

3. Saturday June 11, 12-8pm: Franklin Park
Presented with Boston Arts & Music Soul Fest 
BAMS Fest triumphantly returns to Franklin Park’s Playstead for the first time since Covid-19. Experience the city’s fastest growing cultural event, founded to center and amplify Black artistry with multiple stages and artistic mediums that reflect the true diversity of Greater Boston

4. Saturday July 9, 12-4:30pm: Back Bay Fens
Presented with Fenway Porchfest 
Fenway Porchfest is a collaborative partnership among three Fenway organizations —Fenway Community Development Organization, Fenway Civic Association, and the Fenway Alliance. It is a free music festival that takes place in a wide range of diverse outdoor spaces in the Fenway, ranging from the Verb Hotel and 401 Park to Massachusetts Historical Society to the Emerald Necklace and the MFA!

5. Saturday August 20: Jamaica Pond
Presented with JP Porchfest/ Dunamis Boston 
August’s Parks as Platform will extend JP Porchfest to the park and transform the Jamaica Pond Boathouse into a lively “porch” music venue! JP Porchfest has been a pillar to the JP community since 2014, bringing together performers and local neighbors for a day of music, dance, theatre and more on porches throughout JP’s central streets.

6. Saturday September 24: Emerald Necklace Parkfest
Presented across the Necklace parks 
Frederick Law Olmsted’s Bicentennial inspires this day-long celebration of shared use, shared power and shared health along Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace linear park system. Join neighbors and friends old and new to enjoy what makes you most grateful for YOUR parks! Come together for a special program of picnicking, dancing, creating, learning, relaxing & connecting.

7. Saturday October 1: Charlesgate Park
Presented with Charlesgate Alliance 
Join the Conservancy and Charlesgate Alliance for a free, fun afternoon capping off our Parks as Platform season at the tip of Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace! Enjoy food trucks, tours with Charlesgate Alliance at 12PM and 2PM, live music Charlesgate Boulodrome petanque with free lessons, lawn games, community art by Canvas Studio and more!

Volunteer with Parks as Platform

[photo: Tyahra Angus, AfroCentered Media]

As weather for park events picks up, so does the need for many hands to make light work!
For Parks as Platform events, there are upcoming music festivals, picnics, family activities, data gathering & language translation needs, and more. Your help could bring that much more joy to the following events (and a cool T-shirt with art by Ben Jundanian awaits you!) 

BAMS Fest: Saturday June 11 (rain or shine)
Join Olmsted Now to engage park users in park history and cool activities to learn who is coming, from where and why to help BAMS Fest inform their future programs. Interested in a 4 hour shift from 1-5 or 5-9pm? Email: Jamie at
BAMS Fest still needs help with parking, event break down and more: Sign up directly HERE

Fenway Porchfest: Saturday July 9 (rain date July 10)
Join Olmsted Now to engage park users in multiple Fenway neighborhoods sites for kids games, park history, and cool activities to learn who is coming, from where and why to help Fenway Porchfest inform their future programs. Interested in a shift from 10-6pm? Email

JP Porchfest: Saturday August 20 (rain date August 21)
Join Olmsted Now to turn Jamaica Pond’s Boathouse into a “porch” and engage park users with kids games, park history, and cool activities to learn who is coming, from where and why to help JP Porchfest inform their future programs. Interested in a shift from 10-8pm? Email

Emerald Necklace Parkfest: Saturday September 24 (rain date Sunday Sept 25)
Join Olmsted Now to engage park users across the 5.5 miles of the Emerald Necklace–from Charlesgate Park through Franklin Park–for picnic setups, live music, art projects, kids’ games, dialogues and park history in many languages, and engagement activities to learn who is coming, from where and why to help the Emerald Necklace Conservancy inform their future programs. Interested in a shift from 9am-7pm? Email

Parks as Platform is organized for Olmsted Now by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and made possible in part by Focus Real Estate.