What the Folk?
Miss Tess & the BonTon Parade
Should you find yourself at this weekend’s Champlain Valley Folk Festival — and I highly suggest you do at some point between Friday and Sunday — you’ll likely notice that something ain’t quite right. Namely, that you’re in Burlington.
For the vast majority of its 27-year existence, the fest has resided in the bucolic idyll of Kingsland Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh. But, due to circumstances beyond their control, CVFF organizers were forced to move the folk fest over to B-town’s Waterfront Park this year. And just what were those circumstances, you ask?
Number one was weather. The fest has been a virtual washout for the last two years running because, well, this is Vermont and it rains. A lot. And our finicky weather makes outdoor fests genuinely risky, financially. I blame WPTZ meteorologist Tom Messner.
The other big issue was growing concern over the festival’s impact on the grounds of the park itself because — drum roll, please! — Furthur is scheduled to play this year.
OK, I’m lying. Furthur isn’t playing. But I had you for a sec, right?
The truth is that damage to the grounds had become a legit concern — in part because of the weather, actually. But the festival’s increasing renown also played a factor in the decision. Ultimately, the CVFF needed to find a pretty home with the infrastructure to keep folks dry if it rained, and to handle increased traffic. That left only one option: Shelburne Museum.
I’ll stop now.
In addition to its well-covered tents all along Waterfront Park, the CVFF will take advantage of indoor stages in nearby Main Street Landing. All of which increases the likelihood that each show will go on as planned and, just as importantly, that people will show up. And they should. This year’s lineup is as star-studded as any in recent memory, and includes Anaïs Mitchell, Bow Thayer, Moira Smiley and VOCO, Tidal Wave, Bill Sims Jr. & Mark LaVoie, and Miss Tess & the Bon Ton Parade, among many other great acts of local, regional, national and international renown.
For more info and a full schedule of performances and workshops, visit www.cvfest.org.
Let’s Do the Time Warp Again
This Saturday, two local bands who trace their roots back to the Reagan administration take the stage at Nectar’s: the Cuts and the Switch. The former were one of the most decorated Queen City bands of the era, twice snagging “Best Band in Vermont” honors from the late, great Vanguard Press, in addition to some national love from Billboard magazine. The Cuts’ music has appeared on TV and in movies — most recently, Steve Martin’s Novocaine. Also, the power-pop trio claims to have gotten “their asses kicked by Phish in a battle of the bands.” But really, who didn’t back then?
The Switch were scene contemporaries and certifiable road warriors, most active locally and regionally in the late 1980s. They would seek their fortunes on the left coast for a time, performing as Uncle Pecos, before returning to the Queen City. And there they have continued playing together sporadically. Saturday’s show — in support of a band called Midnight Spaghetti — will be their first B-town gig in five years, and one of just a handful since the 2002 release of their career retrospective Remember The Switch.
According to Cuts guitarist Frank Egan, his band is back in the studio working on new material, in addition to a documentary about the band members’ nearly 30-year relationship. So, methinks this won’t be the last we hear from them.
And last but not least is this week’s totally self-indulgent new column segment, tentatively titled “Listening In.” If you missed last week’s column, a number of readers have recently suggested including a non-7D-specific section of the column listing some bands and albums I dug into recreationally that week. So I decided to try it. Why? Just because, that’s why. Also, I thought it might be fun. At least for me. And, as usual, I was right. Ahem.
Anyhoo, here’s a random sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, 8-track player, etc., this week.