Pandemic Pick: Which Outdoor Live Music Performance or Series Moved You Most? | Performing Arts | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Pandemic Pick: Which Outdoor Live Music Performance or Series Moved You Most?

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Published June 9, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated November 22, 2022 at 3:43 p.m.

Zach Nugent performing outside at Stowe Cider - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Zach Nugent performing outside at Stowe Cider

Stowe Cider

Stowe •

At different points throughout the pandemic, Vermonters have gone without certain perks — vacations, buffets, movie theaters and even hugs. Thanks to presenters such as Stowe Cider, live music hasn't always been lacking.

Located on scenic Town Farm Lane in Stowe, the cidery and taproom made the most of its outdoor space to offer live tunes in a socially distanced atmosphere up to four nights a week.

Last August alone, nearly a dozen local artists performed in the "cider garden," the beverage maker's backyard-turned-venue. Among them were formidable fiddler Patrick Ross, pop singer-songwriter Isaac French and Grateful Dead-loving rocker Zach Nugent, a frequent act.

Along with the jams, food and drink complete the good-time trifecta. Known for valuing dryness over sweetness in its beverages, Stowe Cider has both on-site consumption sales in the backyard and cider to-go from a pickup window. Its street food cart serves up delicious eats for concertgoers. Last summer's menu options included a build-your-own entrée of bread, protein, sauce and toppings.

Of course, masking, distancing and other precautions have been in place as required. Concerts have provided an outlet for music lovers nonetheless. As one Seven Days reader put it, "It almost felt normal to see music there!"

The cidery's calendar is already filling up with this season's shows, so check the website often for upcoming events.

Higher Ground Drive-In Experience: South Burlington live music venue Higher Ground teamed up with the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction to provide a creative alternative to indoor concerts. Queen City musicians including Kat Wright and Dwight & Nicole took to a freshly constructed stage to serenade drive-in audience members, who watched on a 27-foot LED video wall. (South Burlington •

Lyric Theatre: This Burlington-based theater company has kept busy throughout the health crisis, hosting an outdoor movie last July (a musical, of course) and collaborating with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra for an open-air concert as part of the Flynn's Hurly Burly series. Its standout production, though, was New Leaf — An Outdoor Musical Cabaret. "Change" was the theme of this Broadway musical revue. (Burlington •

  • File: Luke Awtry
  • KeruBo

Hurly Burly: "If people can't come to the arts, then we'll bring the arts to them," wrote Flynn artistic director Steve MacQueen in a 2020 press release. To that end, the Burlington performing arts center hosted diverse acts such as Latin jazz trumpeter Ray Vega and Afro-fusion singer KeruBo on an improvised stage affixed to a flatbed truck in August and September 2020. (Burlington •

Editor note: To choose Vermont's Pandemic All-Stars, we surveyed our readers on the people, places and programs that kept them going — and going — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Space limitations prevented us from recognizing every pick worthy of public praise.

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