Arts & Leisure

Arts Beat for Aug. 19: Films and music on tap

RISING STAR KIMBERLY Townsend performs at Brandon Music on Friday, Aug. 23, at 7:30 p.m.

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is dedicated to the work of first- and second-time filmmakers. The exciting 5th annual MNFF kicks off with a Vermont Film Showcase at 10 a.m. this Thursday, Aug. 22, in Middlebury with films shown at Town Hall Theater (68 S. Pleasant Street), as well as both screens at the Marquis Theater (65 Main Street). Another group of films will show at the same locations at 1:30 p.m.
A special Opening Night Party will take place at THT with a welcome at 6:30 p.m., a film, “The Dog Doc,” at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A with director Cindy Meehl and Dr. Jacqueline Ruskin, DVM (doors open at 6 p.m.). Special Opening Night tickets required for this event.
MNFF5 has booked four venues to screen the films: historic Town Hall Theater, the recently renovated Marquis Theater, and Middlebury College’s Dana Auditorium and historic Twilight Hall. Over 100 films will be screened at MNFF5, a diverse array of features and shorts across all genres, as selected by Artistic Director Jay Craven.
More than 60 directors, producers, writers and cinematographers from around the world attended MNFF4 last August. Other distinguished guests are welcomed to the stages and offer compelling panel discussions and conversations on topics of interest to both filmmakers and the folks who come to see these films.
To round out the festival experience, multiple parties are scheduled during the event at local venues including the Opening Night Party, an exclusive Filmmakers-only champagne reception, Festival Happy Hours and enjoyable evening parties for Passholders.
Once again the day before the festival officially begins there will be a Kids and Family Day at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the Marquis Theater. The MNFF5 runs through Sunday, Aug. 25 with a closing ceremony and VTeddy Awards presentation at THT at 6:45 p.m.
For a complete schedule of all films and events, visit

Brandon Music welcomes Kimberly Townsend on Friday, Aug. 23, at 7:30 p.m.
A relatively new artist, and definitely a rising star, Townsend is already being hailed as “the real deal.” New York City-based sing/songwriter Townsend’s lyric-driven, emotive songs captivate, challenge, inspire and console. Townsend’s sound is a blend of folk, indie pop and soul, often compared to Sara Bareilles, Trevor Hall and Brandi Carlile. Through a uniquely powerful songwriting lens and strong, expansive vocals, she offers an earthy, visceral, intimate spin on telling a story through song.
Indie Pot Pie writes: “Townsend might be compared to Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson, but she has a sweeping, emotive voice all her own.”
Townsend’s songs explore vulnerability, pain, and how this life feels. She writes to heal and ground herself, and she shares this to make you feel things. Her most recent work explores the weight of getting lost and feeling stuck, and the empowering release that comes from finding one’s way again.
Townsend’s debut album, “The History and the Heart of It,” was released on Jan. 18, 2019 on all platforms and shows off her unique gift for intimate songwriting.
Tickets are $20 with a pre-concert dinner available for $25. Reservations are required for dinner and recommended for the show. Venue is BYOB. Call 802-247-4295 or e-mail [email protected] for reservations or for more information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road in Brandon.

Middlebury-based English bluesman Tom Caswell will be hosting a Blues Jam in Bristol at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at Hatch 31, located at 31 Main Street.
The jam will feature both local and statewide blues musicians and is open to anyone wanting to hear great music. This is a monthly event on the third Wednesday of the month.
If you are a musician or singer planning to take part in the jam, there will be a sign-up sheet located near the stage. The host band, The Tom Caswell Blues Band, will begin the proceedings at 8 p.m. before people are called up from the sign-up sheet to form bands and play the blues. The jam will end with the host band taking the stage once more to wrap things up.
Although the music begins at 8 p.m., an earlier arrival is advised. Admission to the jam is free.

As part of the 2019 Summer Music Series at Otter Creek Brewing, SixFoxWhiskey will be performing at 5 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 23, in OCB’s pub space.
SixFoxWhiskey is a jazzy funk-rock quintet out of Boston, Mass. With a songwriter feel and jam band chops, they’ve refined a unique sound that is reminiscent of Steely Dan, Percy Hill and the Dave Matthews Band. The group has been performing live all over the U.S., bringing dynamic arrangements, catchy melodies, and improvised jams to the stage since their inception in 2016. They have opened for bands such as Ripe and Kung Fu, and held featured slots in major festivals. SixFoxWhiskey released their debut full-length album, “6FW,” in September 2018.
OCB is located at 793 Exchange Street in Middlebury. For more information, call 802-388-0727.

The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce free summer concert series, “Music at the Riverbend,” located behind the Brandon Inn, continues this Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m., with Two Cents in the Till, a contemporary Vermont string band with shades of bluegrass and old time, noted for the authenticity of their homegrown original compositions on their 2018 debut record “Greenland.”
Join the folks who come out and relax with quality music, friends and neighbors; everyone enjoys free popcorn. Adult beverages are served up by the Brandon Inn, available in the outdoor lounge area, so you won’t miss a single note of the music. For more information, contact the Brandon Chamber at 802-247-6401 or [email protected].

The Sunday Sessions continue at Lincoln Peak Vineyard on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 2 to 4 p.m., with Linda Bassick.
A dynamic vocalist, Bassick has appeared on stage as her alter-ego “Dusty Love” in the ‘60s and ‘70s band Mellow Yellow playing acoustic and electric guitars, flute, and trombone.
Wine is available by the glass, and there will be a good selection of Vermont cheese, sausage, crackers and chocolate available. Music is rain or shine on the covered porch (we’ll move indoors if it’s pouring). Lincoln Peak Vineyard is located at 142 River Road in New Haven. More information is at

The Bristol Band Concert Season continues on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m., on the town green. Concerts are held every Wednesday evening to the Wednesday before Labor Day, Sept. 2. The Bristol Band has presented outdoor summer band concerts in the gazebo on the town green every Wednesday evening in the summer since shortly after the Civil War. Bring a lawn chair, blanket or picnic dinner and enjoy an evening of small town entertainment. It’s free.
There is often a fundraiser barbeque before each concert. Call 802-453-5885 for details.

Last but not least, the Vergennes City Band Concert series concludes at 7 p.m. next Monday, Aug. 26, on the Vergennes City Park.

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