- Army of Fun Festival
With brightly colored banners, dancers in costume and local food and drink served under tents, the Langdon Street Café stopped traffic for a two-day street music festival last weekend.
Bolstered by 30 volunteers and a $900 grant from the City of Montpelier, the café featured local artists including the Prodigal String Band, Sara Grace and the Suits and The Logistical Nightmare Orchestra, along with bigger-name bands such as The Primate Fiasco, Rusty Belle and The New Nile Orchestra.
Saturday afternoon, face-painted and barefoot kids perched on the Langdon Street Bridge listening to the sounds of Paris Bathtub, watching Jenny the Juggler and decorating T-shirts at the “Creation Station” operated by The ReStore. Vendors offered gourmet treats including kombucha (fermented green tea), pumpkin-apple soup with curry cream and Nutty Steph’s chocolate truffles.
At 5 p.m., corks were popped and beers uncapped to appease the older crowd — an estimated 600 people showed up and danced well into the morning. The rowdy, circus-like tunes of Rusty Belle topped off the affair with a 2-and-a-half-hour show inside the café — complete with a mosh pit.
Sunday afternoon’s festivities got off to a slow start because the highly anticipated, punk-bluegrass .357 String Band was delayed. Crowds gathered by late afternoon to watch the festival finale, a performance by What Cheer? Brigade, a punk-rock band that incorporates the sounds of samba, hip-hop and everything in between.
“We’ve been wanting to throw an event like this for a number of years but we just didn’t have the resources,” said event coordinator Ben Matchstick of Montpelier. He obtained permission from the city to shut down the street to accommodate both an acoustic and an electric stage. “The stage inside the café is too small to hold artists of such caliber,” he explained. “It’s great to spill out onto the streets and invite the community to join us.”
“The concept is to build community relationships,” said Meg Hammon, co-owner of the café. “We’re saying: Invest in local soup stock rather than the failing stock market.”
Hot tip: Look for the Army of Fun Festival again next fall; the Langdon Street Café hopes to make this an annual event.