When it comes to music, Vermonters are spoiled this time of year. In addition to big waterfront festivals, practically every village green in the state comes alive with the sound of music in the summer. You can lay out your picnic blanket and catch some great tunes nearly any day of the week.
Need help keeping track of it all? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite family-friendly summer concert series below. Bonus: They’re all free!
Check out our calendar section, in print or online here, to find more.
From African djembe drumming to high-energy barbershop quartets, this town-green tradition has music to suit every taste. Sit back and relax with a bag lunch at this weekday concert series. You’ll hear folk duets from Hungrytown, Appalachian relics from Dana and Susan Robinson, and pounding beats from Sayon Camara & Landaya Ensemble, among others.
Summer nights are made for barbecuing. You could haul out the charcoal at home ... or you could let someone else fire up the grill at Burger Night. Families can explore the gardens and fields before settling in for live entertainment booked by children’s musician Chris Dorman. Some of the highlights: Round Mountain, Hard Scrabble and Lila Mae & the Cartwheels.
Nationally touring bands make a local appearance at Killington’s popular five-week concert series. Held at the Roaring Brook Umbrella Bars & Deck at Killington Resort, the series offers beverages, light fare from the grill and breathtaking views of the mountains. Bring a lawn chair or beach blanket to soak in the scenery and tunes. The band lineup will be announced soon; check the website for details.
Next time you head to the Church Street Marketplace, set aside time for this twice-weekly series in nearby City Hall Park. Pack a picnic lunch and prepare to be entertained — acts range from juggling to jazz and circus arts to swing. Don’t miss music and kid-friendly comedy from the Hokum Brothers on August 2.
The lush square in front of Williston’s Majestic 10 movie theater transforms into a concert venue every Thursday evening. Stop into the newly opened Yogurt City for frozen treats, then enjoy the sweets over cover songs and classic rock from bands such as SturCrazie and the Rhythm Rockets.
Appalachian music was born on back porches. Music on the Porch, organized by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, takes that tradition and runs with it. The concert series is held in the town’s historic train station. Kids will love learning about the venue’s choo-choo history, and parents will enjoy blues by Dave Keller and Americana from Mark LeGrand, among others.
There’s plenty to keep kiddos entertained at this town tradition in its 18th year. Families can bring a picnic dinner or hit up the concession stand, visit the farm animals and dance on the lawn. Musical acts include 1930s ballads and blues from the Janice Dompke Duo, and a father/son acoustic Neil Young tribute from Ragged Glory. The series goes out with a bang of fireworks on July 31. (Rain date: August 7.)
The growing grapes on the vines may still be sour, but the atmosphere is decidedly sweet at Snow Farm’s always-packed Thursday night concerts. Band such as the Starline Rhythms Boys and Blues for Breakfast rock out on the lawn as listeners lounge on picnic blankets or play impromptu games of Frisbee and kickball. Pizza Papillo serves up delicious flatbreads, and wine and beer are available for purchase.
Chris Dorman & the Whistle Pigs, the Young Tradition Showcase and Vermont Joy Parade are among the musical highlights at this homegrown hootenanny. City Market leads kids in weekly “Make It From Scratch” activities, from fresh-churned butter to dried apple rings. Local restaurants such as American Flatbread, Bluebird Barbecue and the Skinny Pancake serve up proper dinners. And for mom or dad, there’s Citizen Cider and Zero Gravity brews, too.
In conjunction with the “Connecting the Drops” public art project, the Let It Rain Stormwater Program and ArtsRiot host this concert series in the heart of downtown Burlington. Bands such as Alpenglow, Great Western and Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band steal the stage as listeners learn about the health of Lake Champlain. Make sure to stop by Kids VT’s table while you’re there — you can try out our new video game, Runoff.
This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.