The summer arts season is upon us. The days are now getting shorter, and it’s time for us to plan and act on our annual pilgrimages to the musical, visual and performing arts in the Green Mountains before the leaves start changing.
Too soon to think fall? The summer will pass before you know it, and the smorgasboard of events and attractions will pass along with it. It would be a waste to let it go by without a visit to at least a few of the venues, events and community halls where Vermont’s creative side is acting out.
The winter’s long nights encourage reflection, introspecting and curling up inside. Summer calls us outside to renew our spirits, staying up late with the sun to enjoy every moment of warmth.
Across the state, performers will set up in gazebos and rotundas, build stages at the edges of pastures and fields, or step onto the stage at fairgrounds and concert venues. Theater groups are already packing halls from Brattleboro to St. Albans, and Vermont’s visual artists and craftspeople kicked off summer with the Open Studio weekend in late May. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra has begun its annual tour of the state with fireworks, and multiple classical music festivals are starting up with abundant opportunity to hear world-class musicians.
Music in Vermont takes on many forms, from the banjo pickings at the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival in Tunbridge and a similar setup at Brandon’s Basin Bluegrass Festival. Hard rock, heavy metal, pop music, country acts and alternative will complement classical chamber music, orchestras, quartets, chorales and the marching bands of Fourth of July parades. The music is all around us, every weekend and most weeknights of the summer, if we look.
There is possibly no more simple pleasure than spreading a blanket on the town green, opening the picnic cooler and enjoying a concert from the bandstand while children laugh and play, and grandparents smile at the newest generation.
We love our traditions in Vermont, from Town Meeting to sugar season. The summer arts season has grown into another tradition.
Vermont has long been cast as a rural state, prized for its live-and-let-live philosophy. That image was joined by the facade of visual tourism — the autumn leaves and rural landscapes — and ski tourism. Gradually, the state has added food to that list of attractions, and more recently beer, wine and spirits. Summer recreation, which for generations has meant trips to the local swimming hole, a retreat to camp, a turn in the boat on a lake or river, or a hike through the Green Mountains, now includes hundreds of miles on two wheels.
Through it all, the state has supported vibrant local theater, music festivals, opera, bluegrass, folk, live music, visual arts, crafts and much more, through a combination of dedicated local support and volunteerism blended with summer visitors who bring money, enthusiasm and new ideas.
For such a small state, there is room for all of us here, and more than enough entertainment and arts to go around. Make sure to enjoy it while the summer lasts.