Soundbites: Nightshade Festival Returns to Williston | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Soundbites: Nightshade Festival Returns to Williston

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Sabouyouma performing at the 2018 Nightshade Festival - JORDAN ADAMS
  • Jordan Adams
  • Sabouyouma performing at the 2018 Nightshade Festival

Shady Lane

As summer begins packing itself up for the year, you'll want to get outside and soak up as much vitamin D as possible. Lucky for you, the third annual Nightshade Festival goes off this weekend, on Saturday, August 31.

Located at Williston's Red Barn Gardens, the all-day food-and-music crossover event is the brainchild of Burlington R&B singer-songwriter Guthrie Galileo, aka Guthrie Stoltzfus. A few years ago, he started hosting intimate house concerts, dubbed Nightshade Kitchen, in the living room of his Old North End apartment. Complementing a lineup of acoustic artists, Stoltzfus and other foodies would prepare a scrumptious meal for attendees. Conceptually, both elements would work in tandem to bring out the best in each other — a true feast for the senses.

After the series grew too big for his personal dwelling, Stoltzfus and co. moved their operation to the eclectic North End Studios, which allowed them to ramp up their epicurean output. Soon, Foam Brewers became its official beer sponsor — and the brewery will be on the premises during this year's fest.

For the past two years, outside vendors have made other food offerings available. This year, Stoltzfus' team is taking on everything.

"[It's] an opportunity to flesh out our team of cooks and volunteers [across] several different food stations," he says, noting the inclusion of a taco bar. (Why don't all music festivals have a taco bar?)

Nightshade Festival has a true hangout vibe. It's like a scaled-down Otis Mountain Get Down, the two-day September festival just a quick ferry ride across Lake Champlain in Elizabethtown, N.Y. And just like at Otis, Nightshade attendees are allowed to camp out.

This year, 15 bands and artists perform on two stages — three if you include a late-night, acoustic-only gathering. Stoltzfus says the closing set will "harken back to Nightshade's maiden form," with an emphasis on "focused listening."

The festival's Vermont-based contingent is as eclectic as ever: grunge-rockers Clever Girls, "acid vegan band" the Dead Shakers, singer-songwriters Trackstar and Chazzy Lake, dream-folk quartet A Box of Stars, R&B producer/singer-songwriter Princess Nostalgia, the newly reimagined folk-rock group Bear's Tapestry, soul cadre Henry Finch & the Capacity Ensemble, and "free-bleeding" indie band Julia Caesar, who make their final performance ever — as far as we know.

Each installment of Nightshade Festival seems to bring in more nonlocal bands and artists. The six out-of-town acts this year are "groups I've had my eye on for a while," says Stoltzfus, noting an intentional "effort to diversify [and] introduce some new sounds to complement locals."

Those bands include Boston-based indie-folk duo Western Den; New York City R&B crooner Jak Lizard; Hadley, Mass., psych-rockers Carinae; NYC indie-tronic four-piece Saint Mela; Cos Cob, Conn., progressive soul project Vinegar Mother; and eclectic singer-songwriter Anjimile.

I know summer doesn't officially end until Monday, September 23. But there's something poetic about this festival taking place on August 31. True, a few high-profile music and arts events are soon to follow — such as Grand Point North on Saturday and Sunday, September 14 and 15 — but, at least aesthetically, Nightshade Festival has the last word on summer 2019.

BiteTorrent

DJ A_Dog - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • DJ A_Dog

The sixth annual A_Dog Day kicks off on Saturday to celebrate, among other things, the life of Andy Williams, aka DJ A_Dog. Before his death in late 2013, Williams was an in-demand turntablist not just in the Queen City but around the country. To honor his memory and his love of all things hip-hop and skate culture, scads of local artists, skaters, break dancers, rappers and DJs present an all-day extravaganza at various locations around the city. Festivities start at the Andy A_Dog Williams Skatepark near Burlington's Waterfront Park and conclude in the wee hours at Nectar's and Club Metronome.

"Nine ... four ... eight ... one," breathes Beyoncé in the opening moments of her criminally underrated song "Get Me Bodied." The numbers denote her birthday: September 4, 1981. Can you imagine being so famous that, while you're still alive, complete strangers are wont to throw you a birthday party? Because that's just what a group of local musicians is planning for the superstar's upcoming 38th birthday next Wednesday. Nightlife impresario Moochie hosts the event, dubbed Bey Day, at Nectar's. It features performances from Ryan Sweezey, Troy Millette, Matthew Mercury, Danny & the Parts, the Pyros, the Dead Shakers, Guthrie Galileo, Nodrums, the Red Newts, Miku Daza, Honey & Soul, and Community Garden. All hail Queen Bey!

Does anyone else find it unnerving that a series of upcoming Phish shows in Colorado was the subject of scrutiny last week because of an outbreak of the plague in prairie dog colonies? According to multiple news outlets, the adorable field rodents in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge are apparently carriers of sylvatic plague, a virus caused by "the same bacteria that causes the bubonic plague," Noisey reports. The park is adjacent to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, which holds the Vermont jam band's yearly Labor Day weekend concerts Friday through Sunday, August 30 through September 1.

According to the band's official statement, released on Tuesday, August 20, efforts to eradicate the disease preclude the event from having camping and vendors, both of which are usually on-site. Who'd have thought that diseased wildlife would have such a big impact on a series of Phish shows?

Listening In

If I were a superhero, my superpower would be the ability to get songs stuck in other people's heads. Here are five songs that have been stuck in my head this week. May they also get stuck in yours. Follow sevendaysvt on Spotify for weekly playlists with tunes by artists featured in the music section.

Erlend Øye, "Every Party Has a Winner and a Loser"

Riton, "Candy"

Tame Impala, "Patience"

Rina Mushonga, "Narcisc0"

Gabriel Garzón-Montano, "Golden Wings"

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