Northeast Squeeze-in at Bucksteep Manor, 1990
by Ryan Thomson
I started playing accordion around 1988 when I found a pretty little squeeze box in a pawn
shop window. It was calling my name, and the price was right. When I started my cajun
band, the Crawdad Wranglers, I couldn't find a local accordion player for the band. so I
decided to learn a bunch of cajun twosteps and zydeco tunes. After a while I became a
pretty good player and started looking around for other sources of accordion information.
This is a group picture of some attendees. I'm in front with the red and white striped shirt.
I discovered the Squeeze-In, which is a small weekend gathering of accordion, concertina,
and other squeezebox enthusiasts. It has been going for several years now, and I've
attended 3 or 4 times. This event will supply you with more information about bellows
powered reed instruments than any other I've ever heard of.
It takes place in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts at Bucksteep
Manor on 350 acres of trees and rolling hills. Accommodations range from tenting in a field,
through rustic cabins, to a private room in the Inn itself. A meal plan is optional, the food
is good, and the Inn has 3 lounges, a bar, a hot tub, a barn for performances and dances,
and lots of spaces for jamming.
Special features include: a museum of "Curious and Bizarre Squeezeboxes," (I spent many
hours there), a saturday night contra dance and concert (all participants invited to take
part), and workshops in many topics including ethnic accordion styles, squeezebox repair,
instrument lore, videos of accordion related events, and many opportunities for
hobnobbing with other enthusiasts. I particularly enjoyed a video documentary on a high
tech concertina making factory in Great Britain. Any participants can schedule and give a
workshop on a topic of their own choosing during the weekend, and the official staff does
This event usually takes place in the middle of September and is sponsored by an accordion
and concertina shop called the Button Box, which is a good source for instruments, repairs,
supplies, music, etc.
For more information visit the web site.
Written by Ryan Thomson