The Vermont summer festival scene kicks off with the Discover Jazz Festival which runs May 31 to June 9. It’s really a world-class event, and jazz lovers converge here from all over the planet to hear major artists like Bobby McFerrin and Branford Marsalis. But if your dollars are tight, you can also just hang out downtown and enjoy all the free jazz that’s just happening around the city. There are also workshops and parties, and pretty much every venue in town is hopping for that 10 day period. It makes Burlington feel like the center of the musical universe and it’s really fun to be a part of it.
After Jazz Fest is over, Higher Ground has programmed some amazing concerts this summer as part of the Ben and Jerry’s Concerts on the Green at Shelburne Museum. I try to go to some of these every summer because the setting is so idyllic. You can bring a picnic and hang out on the lawn with the sun setting over the lake (sometimes right in your eyes so bring sunglasses!) This summer opens with one of my all-time favorite bands: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, on June 11. If you know their music, you know how hypnotic, quirky, exciting, and musically adventurous it is. Their CD “Here” is on heavy rotation at my house. On June 22 the iconic front man of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, appears with St. Vincent. I really feel like it is so rewarding to see performers like David Byrne whenever you can because really – who knows when they are going to tour? He’s always working on interesting projects (like his current disco musical about Imelda Marcos) so hearing him live with St. Vincent is kind of special.Natalie Neuert is the director of the UVM Lane Series, presenting live performing arts since 1954. Approximately 25 events a season are presented in several different venues: the comfortable, intimate, and acoustically superb UVM Recital Hall; the dramatic UVM Ira Allen Chapel; and the Flynn Center in downtown Burlington. Performances range from early and classical music to theatre, jazz, folk, pop, and a film series.