Summer Guide: Live music flourishes outside this summer



The area’s biggest outdoor free summer music series, Middlebury’s Festival on-the-Green, returned after a pandemic hiatus last year. But not entirely: There were no lunchtime performances and the street dance was nixed.

This year it’s all coming back — plus some new opportunities to sway and dance and sing along under the Vermont summer sky straight through to October.

In one of the new offerings, Town Hall Theater is partnering with Lincoln Peak Vineyard for the World Music + Wine Series on four Friday nights among the grapevines in New Haven. The wine will be local, the food vendors will showcase international flavors, and kids ages 12 and under get in free (adults are $18 at the door or $15 in advance).

Performers include the Chilean singer-songwriter Pascuala Ilabaca; an eclectic group of world-class musicians from Zimbabwe, Chile, Haiti and Brazil called Mukana; and Costa Rican multi-instrumentalist Maiz “Brujo” Vargas Sandoval and his Afro-Latino Orchestra.

“THT is thrilled to shine a spotlight on a diversity of cultures and voices,” THT Executive Director Lisa Mitchell said. “This partnership with powerful artists, their music and stories, in a perfect pastoral setting, will make summer sing.”

The performances will take place once a month on Friday evenings — what a great way to end the week and start the weekend. Come to the Lincoln Peak Vineyard on River Road just off Route 7 in New Haven for a picnic or purchase food from a food truck. Come early enough to get settled before music starts at 6 p.m.

The new Midd Summer Market, every Thursday night through early October, is bringing live music, food trucks and vendors of all sorts to the new Triangle Park in downtown Middlebury, from 3-7 p.m.

The market kicked off in May, and the early vibe is very positive. It’s wonderful to hear the lilting sounds of live music floating through downtown and the murmur of people hanging out together outside.

Midd Summer Market before it even started was proving a hot ticket with vendors. Vendor spaces are sold out for a few of the 20 market dates.

The West Cornwall Backyard Concert Series returns this year with bands playing under a tent on a sprawling field on Sunday nights — for free (although donations are welcome). Look for announcements of who is performing in the calendar of the weekly Addison Independent and on

In Bristol, last summer’s popular Fridays in the Park event this summer is transformed to Music Mondays. Head to the Bristol town green each Monday at 5 p.m. (starting June 13) for al fresco dining and bar from 3 Squares Café, lu•lu Ice Cream, Crooked Ladle Catering, Pavlov’s Dogs and South Mountain Crepes. Stay for the live music from 6-8 p.m.

The Bristol Band, which has been making music since 1870, will play in the gazebo on the town green every Wednesday at 7 p.m. starting June 15 through August. Likewise, the Vergennes City Band will take up its Monday night shows under the Susan O’Daniel Bandstand starting June 27.


Festival-on-the-Green this year is back to six days of performances, July 10-15 — at noon, 7 and 8:30 p.m. — and the big street dance on July 16. Festival goers will catch old-time mountain music, Americana, Québécois fiddle and step-dancing, a Charlie Baran cover band (Honduran music), spirituals and freedom songs, acoustic pop, funk and reggae.

The “Brown Bag” lunchtime performances include a magic show by Tom Verner, a mime called Mimealot, a concert by the Middlebury Community Music Center’s steel drum camp band and more. For the grand finale on Saturday night, Main Street will be closed to traffic, the Vermont Jazz Ensemble will set up outside the post office, and folks will dance the night away out on the street.

Bristol Rec’s Free Summer Music series returns to the pavilion Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m. from July 17 through August 21. Performers (so far) include The Tsunamibots vs. The Brand New Luddites, Atom and the Orbits and the Vermont Youth Orchestra.

Blueberry Hill Inn’s Community Pizza Nights return on Thursday nights and will bring live music to the hills of Goshen (plus wood-fired pizza available for purchase and picnicking) on various nights throughout the summer. Bloodroot Gap will kick things off on June 9; other acts include Jaded Ravins, Brett Hughes and Matt Flinner, Bread and Bones, Patti Casey & Colin McCaffrey and more.

And for those seeking a big, ol’ concert experience very close to home, Ciderstock Music Festival is returning after two years to the big stage behind Woodchuck in Middlebury on Aug. 20. Join thousands of music fans to listen to an afternoon and evening of great music, eat delicious food, and sip on refreshing cider in Woodchuck Hard Cider’s backyard,

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