Black Diamond to hold 40th anniversary show in Winchendon

The band Plunge Pool, which will headline the Black Diamond 40th anniversary music festival on May 18.

The band Plunge Pool, which will headline the Black Diamond 40th anniversary music festival on May 18. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

The band Black Diamond, which ran from 1979-1984. Pictured here are members (left to right top) Joe Chaisson and William Ladeau and (left to right bottom) Bill Saulnier and Mike Birt.

The band Black Diamond, which ran from 1979-1984. Pictured here are members (left to right top) Joe Chaisson and William Ladeau and (left to right bottom) Bill Saulnier and Mike Birt. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

By Max Bowen

Athol Daily News Editor

Published: 05-13-2024 10:45 AM

WINCHENDON – As they say, the show must go on.

William Ladeau, drummer and promoter for the rock band Black Diamond, is hosting an eight-hour music festival this Saturday, May 18, at the Snowbound Club in Winchendon. Originally meant to be a 40th reunion show for the band, which ran from 1979-1984, plans had to change when illness led to their performance being canceled.

“Nobody’s more disappointed than me,” said Ladeau. “We were going to retire the band, the banner.”

Not one to be deterred, Ladeau decided to switch gears and turn the show into one which honored the band’s 40th anniversary, as well as celebrated Armed Forces Day, which is celebrated on the third Saturday of May. He’s offered refunds to those who want them, since Black Diamond won’t be performing, but said that only two have asked for their money back. He added that over 250 tickets have been sold so far and the property has room for up to 550.

“It’s a celebration and memory of an iconic regional band that was based in Gardner,” Ladeau said.

The lineup will consist of Ron Morey, who will perform classic country; Very Kate & Ashley, an acoustic sister duo; big band performer T. Bone; Plead the 5th, who will do classic rock covers; and rock/metal band Plunge Pool, who will close out the show. Music will run from 3-10 p.m. and there will be raffle drawings for Live Nation tickets and a 50/50. Ladeau described Plunge Pool as being “very driven – they’re young, they’re hungry.”

“They are doing something I have never heard before, and they are doing it well,” he said of the band. “Anybody who loved Black Diamond is going to love this band.”

Ladeau will even bring some of that Black Diamond sound when he sits in to drum with Plead the 5th.

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“This is likely the last show I’ll book or promote,” he said. “Something inside of my brain did not allow me to cancel this event.”

Formed in 1979, the band has had eight members over the years, of which three are still alive. Ladaeu was the band’s third drummer, and joined shortly after graduating from the University of Miami. He said the band was known for playing southern rock, and released the song “Bay State Rockers.” In 1982, Ladeau said they began to break into larger clubs. He cited a number of accomplishments that the band made, including opening for Aerosmith, Bo Diddly and Joe Perry, as well as winning band competitions put on by Boston-area radio stations, WBCN and WAAF.

“We accomplished more than what most bands do their entire careers,” said Ladeau. “In that two-year period we were almost famous.”

Tickets for the show are $20 apiece, and $15 for purchases of two to seven tickets. For those who purchase eight or more, they will be $12 each. It’s recommended to bring a jacket or umbrella. All veterans, active military (including Reserves and Guard), state and local police, firefighters and EMS personnel will received a 50% discount on the day of the show. This includes immediate family members. A DD214, badge, military identification or applicable identification are needed.

Max Bowen can be reached at mbowen@atholdailynews.com or 413-930-4074.