Bristol fosters community with big festival

BRISTOL — Bristol’s Main Street will shut down to traffic this Saturday and open up to the third annual Pocock Rocks music festival and street fair.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that Saturday downtown Bristol will transform into a haven for rocking tunes, craft brews, local wines, chocolate pairings, cheese tastings, specialty foods and crafts of all kinds.

Hoping for a turn out of more than 2,000 people, the organizers at the Bristol Downtown Community Partnership (BDCP) have been working to provide lots of music, lots of local food and lots of fun for the upcoming event.

The Bobcat Café and Brewery will serve up its staple “Pocock Pilsner” and give brewery tours throughout the day. Daily Chocolate of Vergennes, Lincoln Peak Vineyard of New Haven, Middlebury’s Green Mountain Beverage (maker of Woodchuck Hard Cider) and Champlain Valley Creamery of Vergennes will join an assortment of other Vermont companies and vendors on Bristol’s streets. The Bristol farmers’ market, history booths, family activities and a dunk tank — the kind where players drop a seated person into a big tank of water by hitting a target with a ball — will also be incorporated in the festivities.

This year, Pocock Rocks — which gets its moniker from the town’s original name, “Pocock,” after 18th-century British Admiral Sir George Pocock — will set the stage for four exciting musical acts: Bread and Bones, Tammy Fletcher, The Grift and Waylon Speed.

“One of the things we’ve changed this year is that the music selection is more eclectic,” said Carol Wells, Bristol selectwoman and executive director of the BDCP.

From 11 a.m. to noon the local trio Bread and Bones will play original songs, traditional American and British numbers and a few Jazz standards. The group features Richard Ruane on vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele; Beth Duquette on vocals; and Mitch Barron on upright bass.

Award-winning soul singer Tammy Fletcher will take the stage from noon-1 p.m. Well known for her performance at New York’s Apollo Theater and her rendition of the national anthem at Boston’s Fenway Park, this Vermont diva is internationally celebrated for her transcendent voice.

The Burlington-based rock ’n’ roll band The Grift will play from 1-2 p.m. Featuring Clint Bierman on guitar and vocals; Jeff Vallone on drums, electronics and vocals; and Peter Day on bass, trumpet and vocals. The group describes its style as “eclectic Vermont rock.”

To polish off the festival from 2-3 p.m., Waylon Speed of Burlington will rock out with a blend of country-metal music. Comprised of guitarist Chad Hammaker, drummer Justin Crowther, bassist Noah Crowther and guitarist Kelly Ravin, the band will end the day with a country-rock twang.

In addition to these big guns, a young musicians stage will be located outside of the Almost Home Market on North Street.

All of this fun in the sun (organizers are keeping their fingers crossed for sun) is aimed at bringing the community together in Bristol and to invite people from afar who may have never come before.

“My big hope (for Pocock Rocks) is that lots of people will come to Bristol. Local folks can meet their friends and neighbors downtown and have a good time. People might also travel to Bristol for the first time and realize what a great little place it is,” said Wells. “We want to introduce Bristol and all its great things to the world at large.”

Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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