On the Beat: Vermont Venues Start Their Long Cleanup, and the Maple Roots Festival Returns | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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On the Beat: Vermont Venues Start Their Long Cleanup, and the Maple Roots Festival Returns


Published July 19, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

Flood cleanup at Charlie-O's World Famous in Montpelier - CHRIS FARNSWORTH ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Chris Farnsworth ©️ Seven Days
  • Flood cleanup at Charlie-O's World Famous in Montpelier

Vermont music venues took a beating in last week's storms and flooding. Charlie-O's World Famous, Hugo's Bar & Grill and Bent Nails Bistro in Montpelier sustained significant damage and canceled all of their shows (see "In the Mire"). Waterbury and Barre went through the wringer, too — just check the pictures on Gusto's Facebook page to get a sense of the long road to recovery the Granite City club faces. Moogs Joint in Johnson was partially submerged in the waters, its basement flooded. There are, sadly, many more affected venues, all of which will need help to open their doors again, not just from the government and insurance companies but also from you.

Things weren't exactly rosy for music venues even before last week's disaster, given the lingering effects of the pandemic. In the short term, most of the affected businesses have launched GoFundMe campaigns to help pay for damages and the salaries of their employees, who have become emergency cleanup crews. Right now, contributing to those campaigns is the best way to help out beleaguered venues, if you can.

But once those bars, clubs and coffeehouses do reopen, it'll be time for us, the music-loving populace of Vermont, to step up and pack them. Let's show these establishments how important they are to our everyday lives and how much we care about being able to hear live music. The pandemic wasn't so long ago that I don't recall how much I missed live shows when they were gone. When the first band sets up at Charlie-O's, I'll be there with a grin on my face. I hope to see you there!

It's early in the recovery, but we've already had a handful of flood-relief benefit shows. The bighearted dudes in Guster tried not once but twice to throw a flood-relief show at Shelburne Museum last week, but the rain just wouldn't abate. However, ticket holders were given the option to donate refunds to flood-recovery efforts. Grace Potter had more luck with a live-stream benefit on Monday night. So did Nectar's, which took the lemons of the Jerry Jam fest's cancellation in Cabot and made lemonade by snatching Assembly of Dust to play an impromptu set at the Burlington club on Saturday.

The Do Good Fest also went online, with streamed sets from Plain White T's and Fastball, all benefiting the VT Flood Response and Recovery Fund. The event raised more than $433,000 in the three hours it was live. You can still donate to the fund at dogoodfest.com. The event's sponsor, National Life Group, has pledged to double the amount raised once it reaches $500,000.

No doubt, plenty more benefit shows are on the horizon — the need is great. Keep your eyes on these pages for more information on the shows and how to help get Vermont's venues back on their feet.

Michael-Louis Smith - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Michael-Louis Smith

Hey, not everything was canceled! The third annual Maple Roots Festival is still on for this Saturday, July 22, at the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier. The fest was conceived during the later days of the pandemic as a festival by musicians for musicians, and cofounder and festival director Michael-Louis Smith has once again put together a great day of music and fun. Thirteen bands will appear on two stages, including Soule Monde, Nick Cassarino, Sole Oceanna, Ray Vega and Smith's own MLS. There's a kids' music concert with Linda Bassick and Busy Morning Band for families, a beverage garden, food trucks, and (of course) maple creemees. The fest has a little something for everyone.

Even better, it'll cost you to park, but the music is free, baby! Pop over to maplerootsfest.com for the full lineup.

Eye on the Scene

Live music highlights from photographer Luke Awtry
Matthew Mercury at Despacito Bar and Kitchen - LUKE AWTRY
  • Luke Awtry
  • Matthew Mercury at Despacito Bar and Kitchen

Matthew Mercury at Despacito Bar and Kitchen, Burlington, July 13: Most of Burlington got lucky during the catastrophic flooding last week, but that doesn't mean Queen City bands were unaffected. The Montgomery Summer Sessions were set to kick off last Thursday with a rocking outdoor performance by BTV locals Matthew Mercury, but Mother Nature had other plans. Matt Hagen was scheduled to fill in on bass guitar due to regular bassist Dan Bishop's recent move to Boston, so a lot of extra work had gone into preparing for this gig. Fortunately, local connections prevailed, and the new and improved live music room at Despacito was available. Finding time for one last song at the end of the band's set, front man Ezra Oklan asked for requests. After some back-and-forth with jokers in the crowd, Matthew Mercury decided to play us out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge." As I walked to my car, my thoughts went out to all the Vermont musicians who have been affected in the past week.

On the Air

Where to tune in to Vermont music this week:

  • "Wave Cave Radio Show," Wednesday, July 19, 2 p.m., on 105.9 the Radiator: DJs Flywlker and Gingervitus spin the best of local and nonlocal hip-hop.
  • "Rocket Shop Radio Hour," Wednesday, July 19, 8 p.m., on 105.9 the Radiator: Host Tom Proctor plays local music.
  • "The Sounds of Burlington," Thursday, July 20, 9 p.m., at wbkm.org: Host Tim Lewis plays selections of local music.
  • "Cultural Bunker," Friday, July 21, 7 p.m., on 90.1 WRUV: Host Melo Grant plays local and nonlocal hip-hop.
  • "Acoustic Harmony," Saturday, July 22, 4 p.m., on 91.1 WGDR: Host Mark Michaelis plays folk and Americana music with an emphasis on Vermont artists.
  • "Local Music Spotlight," Sunday, July 23, 6:45 p.m., on 104.7 WNCS the Point: The station plays new music from Vermont artists.
  • "All the Traditions," Sunday, July 23, 7 p.m., on Vermont Public: Host Robert Resnik plays an assortment of folk music with a focus on Vermont artists.

Listening In

Playlist of Vermont Jams

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