Free and Local Outdoor Summer Music
by: Carolyn Grodinsky, Event and Marketing Coordinator at Montpelier Alive
Summer officially kicked off last week and we’re incredibly lucky to have a vibrant music scene throughout Central Vermont... and so much of it is free! This article focuses on music in Montpelier, but to learn what’s happening throughout Central Vermont, check out the free music series in surrounding towns over the summer in the text box.
From the Statehouse, to downtown, Hubbard Park, and neighborhood streets, enjoy great sounds everywhere!
Thursdays feature both a noontime concert and an evening concert this summer in Montpelier, starting on July 13th. The popular Hunger Mountain Coop Brown Bag Concert Series and Parkpalooza return with an incredible mix of genres and musicians. Check out the websites for a listing of the weekly performers.
Fred Wilber coordinated the Hunger Mountain Coop Brown Bag Concert Series for many years and while he didn’t know when the series started, he knew they had gone on for years and years. Initially the music centered on folk musicians and singer songwriters, but he worked to stretch the boundaries of what was considered lunchtime music and added jazz, hip hop and other genres. He noted that as he diversified the music, people were listening more. Montpelier Alive’s current director, Katie Trautz, a well-known local musician, chose this year’s lineup, with music ranging from African, Cajun, jazz, indie, and swing. Enjoy lunch from a downtown restaurant or bring your own lunches each Thursday from 12 pm to 1 pm from July 13th through August 24th in Christ Church’s courtyard (64 State Street).
Hubbard Park’s evening Parkpalooza returns on Thursdays from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Tuning Forks Stage, next to the Old Shelter. The concert series runs from July 13th to August 24th. Alec Ellsworth, Montpelier’s Parks and Trees Director launched the series 6 years ago to give people an excuse to come and enjoy Hubbard Park. Over the years park staff have made improvements to the event like building a beautiful stage (all with wood from the Park), setting up the giant 100’ long slip 'n slide, and adding food vendors to every event. Park management requests concert-goers to walk or carpool whenever possible, as parking is limited. visit bit.ly/Parkapalooza.
The Capital City Band performs weekly concerts in front of the Supreme Court building on Wednesday evenings from 7 pm to 8 pm from June 21st through August 16th. Its band members range in all ages, from middle school students through retired folks.
Some are professionals, others have only been playing for a couple of years. According to a 2017 Vermont Digger article by Paul Heller, the band goes back all the way to 1837, playing concerts on the Statehouse Lawn since about 1876. Bring chairs, picnic blankets, kids, snacks, frisbees or croquet sets, even dancing shoes! All who are interested in playing are welcome, bring an instrument, chair, and music stand. You can reach the band at [email protected].
The Montpelier Jazz Project plays a backyard concert each Wednesday at the corner of Loomis and Liberty Street. The music started in 2017 when organizer Rollin Tait moved back from Britain and put an ad in Craig’s list and Front Porch Forum. The group has been playing together for about four years (now with six musicians). Concerts were originally inside, however when Covid hit, they moved outside in Rollin’s backyard. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy jazz music on Wednesdays from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm. Music continues into September, up until the cooler weather returns.
Keep your ears tuned on your evening walk as informal porch concerts pop up throughout the City, all summer long.
Mark your calendars to hear the incredible variety of music and venues all summer, with a picnic and dancing to boot!
Outside of town
Camp Meade, Middlesex - Friday and Sunday evenings Middlesex bandstand - Wednesdays at 630
Barre - Currier Park - concert starts at 6:30 and the series runs over three months (concerts start at 5:30 in September)
The Landing VT, Worcester - 1 Old Schoolhouse Common Gazebo, Marshfield Thursdays 630pm-830pm