Dale Buchanan: Band Musician, Builder and Benefactor

Cynthia Whitty
Ashland Farmers Market gets a new bandstand, thanks to Benefactor Buchanan
Issue Date: 
July, 2018
Article Body: 

Dale Buchanan was fascinated the first time he saw a live band as a kid. That’s when he decided what he wanted to do. So while in high school in Arizona, he started a band and also built decks working with his contractor dad. His travelling five-piece band became a success, eventually recording albums, and travelling and performing throughout California and Hawaii. Along the way, he built a recording studio, and remodeled bars and restaurants for his gig hosts.
Buchanan settled in the L.A. area when he became the father of a baby with a bad heart. His son Scott had a heart transplant when he was only two years old. Buchanan stayed close as his son was growing up and struggled with his health. In August 2013, when Scott was only 22-years old, he died while awaiting another heart transplant. “I am grateful that he had 20 great years,” Buchanan reflected.
Life in Ashland
This West Coast musician claims that “it’s more laid back here” in Ashland. He recalls his California living as “three feet between houses” compared to the beautiful green and “great neighbors” of this small town. He and his girlfriend, who grew up in Needham, moved to Ashland seven years ago. He says he’s “happy I did. I dove right in here.” He’s a member of the Ashland Planning Board. He offers stage and music equipment rentals, and met Selectman Steve Mitchell when he approached the Dragonfly Festival a few years ago to offer his stage and services.
Last year Buchanan and Mitchell installed a solar panel on the Ashland Farmers Market (AFM) shed to improve the sound system at the summer market. That’s when Buchanan witnessed a band struggling to play in the summer rain under the music tent. “When I saw their equipment in the mud, that was it for me,” he said. Buchanan decided to build a portable, weather-proof bandstand for AFM. He built the structure in his backyard, and reassembled it at the market site, 125 Fountain St. The bandstand comes complete with a bell in a belfry on the roof to signal the opening and closing of each market day and panels to hide and protect the musicians’ cables and wires. The bandstand is dedicated to and named for his son, Scott Vincent Buchanan.
Buchanan himself will be the featured performer at the August 25 farmers market. “The Dale Show” is a unique electronic experience. He performs with his “three brothers streaming live” from distant places. His retirement plan is to take this show on the casino road.
Ashland is fortunate to have this talented musician and generous builder among us. Buchanan asks something in return from us: “If people could consider pre-planned organ donation, it could save lots of lives. It gave my son 20 great years.”