Rocking With The Best Experience The Thrill Of Live Music Vermont

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Welcome to Vermont, the Green Mountain State, known for its natural beauty, tranquil towns, and unique music scene. In this article, we will explore the various live music venues and events that Vermont has to offer, from renowned music festivals to small local gatherings. Living in such a serene environment can often leave music lovers feeling isolated and disconnected from the outside world. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you discover the best spots in Vermont to experience live music, connect with like-minded individuals, and immerse yourself in the state’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

If you’re a music enthusiast who wants to enjoy live performances and expand your musical taste, this article is for you. We understand that finding a suitable venue, discovering new musicians, and keeping up with music events can be challenging. We’ve done the groundwork to provide you with all the information you need to have a pleasant and memorable experience in Vermont. Along with highlighting the state’s latest music trends, we will also introduce you to classic music venues that have stood the test of time, offering an authentic experience that is unique to Vermont.

Whether you’re a resident or visitor of Vermont, discovering the local music scene can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By reading this article, you will be equipped with everything you need to know to make the most out of your visit to a Vermont music event. From small intimate concerts to larger outdoor music festivals, we’ve got you covered. Our guide includes insider tips, interviews with musicians, and in-depth reviews, providing you with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available. Get ready to discover the magic of Vermont’s live music scene!

Best Venues for Live Music in Vermont

Vermont has a rich and diverse live music scene, with venues ranging from intimate coffee shops to large event centers. Here are some of the best venues for catching live music performances in Vermont.

Flynn Theater

The Flynn Theater is a historic venue located in downtown Burlington, Vermont. It was originally built as a movie theater in 1930 and was later converted into a performing arts center in the 1980s. The Flynn Theater has a seating capacity of 1,431 and hosts a variety of live performances, including music, theater, dance, and comedy.

  • The Flynn Theater is a historic venue that has been a mainstay in the Vermont live music scene since the 1980s.
  • The venue has a seating capacity of 1,431.
  • The Flynn Theater hosts a variety of live performances, including music, theater, dance, and comedy.

The Flynn Theater has hosted many notable musicians over the years, including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and B.B. King. In addition to its live performances, the Flynn Theater also offers educational programs to local schools and community groups.


Nectar’s is a legendary music club located in downtown Burlington, Vermont. The club was founded in 1975 and has since become a staple of the Vermont music scene. Nectar’s has a capacity of 350 and hosts live music performances several nights a week.

  • Nectar’s is a legendary music club that has been a staple of the Vermont music scene since 1975.
  • The club has a capacity of 350.
  • Nectar’s hosts live music performances several nights a week.

Nectar’s is perhaps best known as the birthplace of the band Phish. The band got their start playing regular gigs at the club in the 1980s, and Nectar’s has since become a popular venue for local and touring musicians alike.

The Higher Ground

The Higher Ground is a live music venue located in South Burlington, Vermont. The venue has a capacity of 900 and hosts a variety of live music performances, including rock, hip-hop, and electronic dance music.

  • The Higher Ground is a popular live music venue located in South Burlington, Vermont.
  • The venue has a capacity of 900.
  • The Higher Ground hosts a variety of live music performances, including rock, hip-hop, and electronic dance music.

The Higher Ground has hosted many notable musicians over the years, including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Dave Matthews Band. In addition to its live music performances, the Higher Ground also hosts comedy shows and other events.

The Rusty Nail

The Rusty Nail is a live music venue located in Stowe, Vermont. The venue has a capacity of 300 and hosts a variety of live music performances, including rock, country, and blues.

  • The Rusty Nail is a popular live music venue located in Stowe, Vermont.
  • The venue has a capacity of 300.
  • The Rusty Nail hosts a variety of live music performances, including rock, country, and blues.

The Rusty Nail is known for its intimate setting and cozy atmosphere. The venue is popular among both locals and tourists, and has hosted many notable musicians over the years, including The Black Crowes and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Venue Location Capacity Genre
The Flynn Theater Burlington 1,431 Various
Nectar’s Burlington 350 Various
The Higher Ground South Burlington 900 Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM
The Rusty Nail Stowe 300 Rock, Country, Blues

In conclusion, Vermont offers a vibrant live music scene with venues that cater to a wide range of musical tastes. Whether you’re into rock, hip-hop, or electronic dance music, you’re sure to find a venue that suits your tastes. So, the next time you’re in Vermont, be sure to check out one of these fantastic live music venues.

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Discovering the Local Music Scene in Vermont

If you’re a music lover, Vermont is a great place to discover new and exciting bands, solo performers, and local music events. The state is home to several colleges and universities, which means that the area is full of young artists and musicians. The vibrant music scene in Vermont is proof that the state is one of the most underrated places for live music in the United States.

Venues for Live Music

Vermont is home to several venues where you can enjoy live music. From small bars and coffee shops to large concert halls, there are plenty of places to catch a live performance. Here are some of the best venues for live music in the state:

  1. Higher Ground
  2. Higher Ground is a music venue in South Burlington that has been around since 1998. The venue has two stages, the larger Ballroom and the smaller Showcase Lounge. Higher Ground has hosted a wide range of artists in the past, including Bob Dylan, Snoop Dogg, and The Flaming Lips.

  3. The Skinny Pancake
  4. The Skinny Pancake is a restaurant with locations throughout Vermont. The restaurant chain is renowned for its commitment to local ingredients and produce, as well as for hosting regular live music events. The Skinny Pancake has a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, and guests can enjoy music while dining on delicious crêpes and other specialties.

  5. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
  6. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts is a large concert hall and theater located in downtown Burlington. The venue hosts a wide range of music, theater, and dance performances throughout the year. The Flynn has hosted performers such as The Decemberists, The Shins, and Regina Spektor.

  7. Nectar’s
  8. Nectar’s is a music venue and restaurant located in downtown Burlington. It is known for being the birthplace of Phish, a popular jam band that formed in the 1980s. Nectar’s still hosts live music events on a regular basis, with a focus on local and regional bands.

Local Bands and Musicians

The music scene in Vermont is full of talented local musicians, many of whom have built up a following both in the state and beyond. Here are some of the best-known local bands and musicians in Vermont:

  • Grace Potter
  • Grace Potter is a singer/songwriter from Waitsfield, Vermont. She is best known for her blend of rock, folk, and pop music. Potter has released several successful albums and has toured extensively throughout the United States.

  • The DuPont Brothers
  • The DuPont Brothers are a folk duo from Burlington. Brothers Zack and Sam DuPont write and perform original songs that showcase their impressive harmonies and songwriting skills. They have released two albums and have played at various festivals and events throughout the United States.

  • The Welterweights
  • The Welterweights are a blues-rock band from Brattleboro, Vermont. The band is known for their high-energy performances and catchy songs. They have released several albums and have played at venues throughout the northeast United States.

  • Twiddle
  • Twiddle is a jam band that formed in Vermont in 2004. The band is known for their complex, improvisational music and their dedicated fan base. Twiddle has released several albums and has played at various festivals throughout the United States.

The Benefits of a Vibrant Music Scene

A vibrant music scene has many benefits for a community. Here are some of the reasons why a strong music scene is important:

Pros Cons Comparisons
  • Creates a sense of community
  • Attracts tourists and outside investment
  • Provides a platform for local artists
  • Generates jobs and revenue
  • Can be noisy or disruptive in some areas
  • Can be expensive to maintain venues and equipment
  • May lead to gentrification and displacement of local residents
  • Places with strong music scenes tend to have more social and cultural outlets than areas without a music scene
  • Music scenes can create tensions between residents and business owners over noise and traffic concerns
  • The costs of supporting a music scene can be shared by the entire community, making it possible to offer high-quality performances at affordable prices

Overall, discovering the local music scene in Vermont can be a rewarding experience for music lovers. With a wide range of venues, talented local musicians, and a community that values the arts, Vermont’s music scene is well worth exploring.

The Diversity of Music Festivals

Vermont is renowned for hosting some of the most diverse music festivals that attract a broad range of music enthusiasts. You’ll be enthralled by the variety of music genres available in the live music scene of Vermont. Here are some of the reasons why Vermont’s music festivals are undoubtedly the best:

1. Diversity of Music Genres

In Vermont, you can experience music of all genres, from traditional folk to the latest pop music. Vermont music festivals have something for every music lover, whether you prefer jazz, rock, classical, or blues. Popular festival locations include Hop Jam, Vermont reggae festival, and Burlington Discover Jazz Fest. Besides, there are numerous seasonal festivals in Vermont that feature niche music genres, such as the Burlington Salsa and Dance Festival.

2. Unique Performances and Venues

Vermont’s intimate live music scene is fostered by various unique venues that provide an unforgettable experience to music attendees. Vermont’s rustic setting is an excellent backdrop for music festivals, with performing spaces ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to old barns. The venues are unique and have played significant roles in shaping Vermont’s music culture. For example, the Higher Ground club in Burlington was listed on the BBC’s list of best small music venues in America in 2015. The rave reviews are thanks to the club’s intimate feel and its contribution to the culture of live music in Vermont.

3. Emerging Artists

Vermont’s music festivals are not just for established artists, but also a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talents. Festivals like the Grace Potter’s Grand Point North festival bring together homegrown talent and headline acts to improve the exposure of Vermont musicians. The collaboration between established and emerging musicians enhances the culture of creativity, making Vermont’s music scene a hub of music talent.

4. Community Support for Live Music

Vermont’s vibrant music scene is a product of the unwavering support of local communities towards live music. Vermonters are passionate about music and have been enthusiastic promoters of their local talents. The communities’ response has contributed to the growth and reputation of live music in the state. An excellent example is the South End Arts District of Burlington, which hosts the annual South End Art Hop; the event features more than 400 local musicians and artists.

5. Economic Impact of Music

The economic impact of music festivals in Vermont is tremendous, with significant contributions from ticket sales, food and merchandise vending, and accommodation. For instance, the Burlington Discover Jazz Fest attracts more than 40,000 visitors every year, generating over $5 million in revenue.

Pros Cons
1. Wide range of music genres 1. Some festivals may be seasonal and only offer specific types of music
2. Unique performances and venues 2. Limited seating capacity in some venues
3. Emerging artists platform 3. Tickets may be expensive for some festivals
4. Community support for live music 4. Distance between festival locations may require additional transportation costs
5. Economic benefits to the state 5. Weather may affect some outdoor festivals
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To sum up, Vermont’s music festivals offer a unique experience to all music lovers, providing a platform for emerging artists, community support, and significant economic implications. There is no doubt that Vermont’s music festivals are a must-visit destination for music enthusiasts.

The Birth of Live Music in Vermont

Vermont has a rich history when it comes to music. Music has always been an integral part of Vermont’s culture, and many European settlers’ traditions influenced Vermont’s musical culture. Whether it is the Native American melodies, African-American spirituals, the British Isles tunes or French-Canadian folk songs, Vermont’s musical history is a unique blend of many cultures.

The Early Days of Live Music in Vermont

Vemont’s earliest music ensembles were formed during the colonial period. These ensembles were called ‘Society Musick.’ They started appearing in the major towns like Windsor, Montpelier and Burlington during the early 1800s. These ensembles played popular dance music of that time and made their living performing at private events and public concerts.

The Renaissance of Live Music in Vermont

During the 1960s and 70s, Vermont witnessed a renaissance in live music. It was a time of political unrest, and people turned to music for solace. The University of Vermont (UVM) played a significant role in facilitating the rise of the music scene. In 1970, UVM ended the ban on rock concerts and opened up the campus for live performance.

The Present Day Live Music Scene in Vermont

  • Live Music Venues
  • Community Music Events
  • The Music Festivals
  • The Popularity of Bluegrass

Over the last few decades, Vermont’s music scene has blossomed into a vibrant, diverse, and eclectic community. Nowadays, Vermont offers a wide range of live musical performances that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Live Music Venues

Vermont has an impressive list of live music venues; some of them have a history of hosting significant musical events while others are fresh and emerging. The venues span from theaters and performing arts centers to bars and pubs. Below is a list of some of the best live music venues in Vermont:

Venue Name Location Description
The Higher Ground South Burlington Has a capacity to hold up to 1,000 people, welcoming local and national touring acts.
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts Burlington A 1,400-seat performing arts center that has been hosting different music genres since the 1980s.
The Rusty Nail Stowe A classic Vermont ski bar that offers live music on weekends for thousands of visitors.

Community Music Events

The community music scene in Vermont is strong and diverse, where people of all ages, backgrounds and musical interests come together. Some of Vermont’s most popular community music events are:

  • The Burlington Jazz Festival – Hosts free outdoor concerts in the heart of downtown Burlington.
  • The Barre Opera House Annual Gala – Every year, the historic Barre Opera House hosts a Gala event featuring Musical performances that raise funds for the Opera House’s restoration and programming.
  • The Festival on the Green – A free, 4-day summer event in downtown Middlebury that combines music, arts, family and community.

The Music Festivals

Vermont’s music festival scene is second to none in terms of diversity and popularity. The state boasts several well-known music festivals, including:

  • The Discover Jazz Festival – This popular 10-day event features world-renowned jazz musicians and draws thousands of visitors from all over the country.
  • The Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival – This 4-day festival is held in a picturesque location in Manchester, Vermont, and features some of the best and favorite bluegrass bands from across the country.

The Popularity of Bluegrass

Bluegrass music has always enjoyed a unique place in the hearts of the Vermonters. Vermont is home to some of the finest bluegrass musicians, including Ray Gould, known as the “Godfather of Vermont Bluegrass.” The state has several bluegrass music festivals and concerts that draw visitors from far and wide. The Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival in particular is a very popular event that showcases both traditional and modern bluegrass musicians from the country and the world.

In conclusion, Vermont’s musical history is an exciting story of how different cultures shaped and influenced one another to create a vibrant, diverse and unique music scene. The state’s present-day music scene is an eclectic mix of different genres and is enjoyed by audiences of all ages and backgrounds. From bustling big-venue shows to intimate cafe performances, Vermont’s music scene has something for everyone.

Live Music Festivals to Experience in Vermont

If you’re a music lover looking for a unique live music experience, Vermont has many festivals to offer. From bluegrass to indie rock, Vermont’s music festivals are eclectic and cater to different tastes. In this article, we will explore the top live music festivals to experience in Vermont, what to expect, and how to prepare for them.

The Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival: A Must-Have Experience

The Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival, held every August in Manchester, is a must-have experience for any bluegrass enthusiast. The festival showcases premier bluegrass acts from all over the country, and it’s an excellent opportunity to discover new talent. Some of the performers in the past included Grammy Award winners like Alison Brown, Jerry Douglas, and the Gibson Brothers.

The festival is typically four days long and offers a camping experience, which is recommended since the festival is set in a stunning natural backdrop. Bring a blanket, lawn chairs and ensure you have enough water to keep hydrated. There are also food, crafts, and merchandise stands available.

The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival: A World-Class Jazz Experience

The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival held in Burlington, Vermont, every June is another must-attend festival for music lovers. Established in 1983, this festival is a lively celebration of world-class jazz that has grown over the years to envelop a wide range of musical styles and cultures, including Latin, R&B, blues, and more.

The festival lasts ten days and features over 100 concerts at various venues throughout the city, including churches, restaurants, and even a lakeside park. Some of the notable past performers include Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Krall.

The Waking Windows Festival: A Hidden Gem of Indie Rock

The Waking Windows Festival held in early May in Winooski, Vermont, is a hidden gem for fans of indie rock. This festival is unique since it features over 150 bands playing at various venues around the town, including bars, restaurants, and art galleries. Some of the past performers include Bully, BADBADNOTGOOD, and RJD2.

The festival lasts three days and includes food, art installations, and other fun activities. Since the festival includes multiple events happening simultaneously, a detailed schedule is recommended, and wristbands must be purchased in advance.

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The Frendly Gathering: A Community-Oriented Festival

Frendly Gathering is a community-oriented festival held for the whole family every June in Windham, Vermont. This festival’s emphasis is on festivities, and it features over 25 musical acts and various other activities, including workshops on sustainability, yoga, art, and more.

The festival also offers a camping experience, and attendees are expected to act respectfully toward one another and the environment. Some of the past performers include Twiddle, Greensky Bluegrass, and Nahko and Medicine for the People.

Twilight On The Tavern Lawn: A Small Town Musical Magic

Twilight On The Tavern Lawn is an intimate, family-friendly concert series held on Wednesday nights throughout the summer in Shelburne, Vermont. It’s an excellent opportunity to discover local talent and enjoy the small-town Vermont atmosphere. The event takes place on the lawn of a historic tavern, and it’s free to attend.

The concert series is eight weeks long and features different musicians each week. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic dinners. There are also food and beverage stands available, and it’s an excellent opportunity to taste the local cuisine.

Festival Date Type of Music Duration Camping Available
Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival August Bluegrass 4 days Yes
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival June Jazz and More 10 days No
Waking Windows Festival Early May Indie Rock 3 days No
The Frendly Gathering June Multigenre 3 days Yes
Twilight On The Tavern Lawn Summer Wednesdays Local Talent 8 weeks No

To wrap up, attending a music festival can be an exhilarating and memorable experience, and Vermont’s festivals offer a diverse range of musical genres and atmospheres. It’s important to prepare accordingly, bring the necessary supplies for camping or outdoor environments and follow the festival’s rules and regulations. Whether you’re a bluegrass enthusiast or indie rock fan, Vermont’s music festivals have something for everyone.

FAQs for Live Music Vermont

What are some popular venues for live music in Vermont?

There are numerous popular venues for live music in Vermont. Higher Ground in South Burlington is a popular destination for national and local acts alike, while Nectar’s in Burlington is known for its jam bands and a lively atmosphere. Other notable venues include The Rusty Nail in Stowe, ZenBarn in Waterbury, and Red Square in Burlington.

What genres of music can I expect to hear in Vermont?

Vermont’s music scene is quite diverse, and you can expect to hear everything from bluegrass and folk to rock and jazz. Some venues also specialize in specific genres, such as Higher Ground’s focus on indie and alternative acts.

When is the best time to visit Vermont for live music?

The best time to visit Vermont for live music is during the summer months when many outdoor music festivals take place. Highlights include the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, the Stowe Tango Music Festival, and Roots on the River in Bellows Falls.

Are there any free live music events in Vermont?

Yes, there are several free live music events in Vermont. Many towns host summer concert series that feature live music, and several breweries and wineries also offer free live music on the weekends.

Do I need to buy tickets in advance for live music events in Vermont?

It depends on the event and the venue. Larger shows at Higher Ground and other popular venues often sell out in advance, so it’s a good idea to buy tickets ahead of time. Smaller shows and outdoor events may not require advance tickets.

Can I bring my kids to live music events in Vermont?

Again, it depends on the event and the venue. Many family-friendly events take place during the day, such as the Old West End Music in the Park series in Burlington. However, nighttime shows at bars and clubs may not be appropriate for children.

Are there any all-ages live music venues in Vermont?

Yes, some venues in Vermont are all-ages. Higher Ground occasionally hosts all-ages shows, and The Monkey House in Winooski specializes in all-ages shows.

What should I wear to a live music event in Vermont?

Comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended, especially if you plan to dance. Keep in mind that the weather in Vermont can change quickly, so it’s a good idea to bring layers if you’ll be outside.

Can I find live music in rural areas of Vermont?

Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to find live music in rural areas of Vermont. Local bars and restaurants often have live music, and many towns host music festivals and outdoor concerts in the summer.

What should I know about the local music scene in Vermont?

The local music scene in Vermont is vibrant and supportive of local musicians. Many venues and festivals prioritize booking local acts, and there are numerous opportunities for musicians to connect with fans and other musicians through open mics, music schools, and other events.


In conclusion, Vermont is a great destination for anyone looking to experience live music in a beautiful and welcoming setting. Whether you’re into jazz, folk, rock, or any other genre, there are plenty of venues and festivals that cater to your musical tastes. After reading this article, be sure to check out the events calendar of your favorite venues and plan a trip to catch some live music in Vermont. Bon voyage!