What the Folk? | Seven Days Vermont

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What the Folk? 


Published July 28, 2010 at 4:47 a.m.

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.


  • The other big news this weekend is that it’s time once again for the annual Old North End Ramble in Burlington. Which can only mean that I must have something else scheduled for this Saturday and will miss the neighborhood pride/field days for roughly the fifth year in a row. And a quick check of the calendar reveals … a wedding. Sigh. What’s worse, I’ll miss yet another Decatur Street Carnival, which truly sucks for yours truly. This year’s incarnation features Y’ardy Yar, Damnation Train and — wait for it — Heloise Williams of Heloise & the Savoir Faire. That’s in addition to a BBQ, fortune telling and — wait for it again — a punk-rock hair salon. Really. And that’s just scratching the surface of the options available this year. From experimental fun at Jamba’s Junktiques, to klezmer music, to something called Hip-hop Mysterium Theatre at Old Spokes Home, to the hard-rockin’ roundup and community photo at the end of the day, it’s a great time to wander about the O.N.E. Maybe next year.
  • Benny Alert! The new(ish)ly minted Burlington Bombers Roller Derby League is throwing a benefit to benefit, um, itself this Friday at The Monkey House. I’ll admit, I’m partial to the Green Mountain Derby Dames myself. But there’s gotta be room enough in this town for another group of people crazy enough to hurl themselves around an indoor track on roller skates at high velocity, and into one another, right? Right. Plus, I’ll get behind any cause that enlists the help of local bands such as Rough Francis, Blue Button, Shepard’s Pie and DJ Disco Phantom, as has the BBRD. Also, more punny name opportunities for derby skaters are always a good thing. My current favorite: Maimie van Doren.
  • Band Name of the Week: Brewglass, playing Wednesday, July 28, at Monty’s Old Brick Tavern in Essex. OK, so it’s not a band name as much as a session. Still, I love a good pun. And I love a bad one. And this presumably drunken bluegrass night fits the bill.
  • Remember the Album Station? Once upon a time, it lived at 102.9 on your FM dial under the call letters WCLX — which is now Farm Fresh Radio. [See Lauren Ober’s July 7 story, “Rural Rock.”] Without getting too deep into the nitty gritties, in September 2009 there was some … “unpleasantness” that forced the Album Station from the airwaves. Take a look through the 7D archives online for Shay Totten’s coverage of the whole story. Sticky stuff. Anyway, it seems all’s well that ends well, and DJs Russ Kinsley, Diane Desmond and crew are now on the air at 97.9 FM WZXP. Welcome back!
  • Hear ye, hear ye! Henceforth, local new-wave-y outfit Flood in the Fizzy Factory shall be known only as the Fizz. Why? Why the hell not? They’ll be at One Federal in St. Albans this Thursday.
  • Before we move on, reggae fans, take note: Midnite, Monday, Nectar’s. ’Nuff said.
  • Listening In

    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.

  • Gigi, Maintenant
  • Das Racist, Shut Up, Dude Mixtape
  • Parlovr, Parlovr
  • The Slackers, Better Late Than Never
  • Fools Gold, Fools Gold
  • Mike Birbiglia, My Secret Public Journal Live
  • Shannon and the Clams, I Wanna Go Home
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    About The Author

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox.


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