Summer Bandwagon Music Series brings an explosion of music

Next Stage Arts and partners introduce the 2021 Bandwagon Summer Series, taking place from May through October across Windham County. Photo provided
Next Stage Arts and partners introduce the 2021 Bandwagon Summer Series, taking place from May through October across Windham County. Photo provided

PUTNEY, Vt. – Next Stage Arts announces an outdoor, socially-distanced cultural performance series running from early May through the middle of October throughout Windham County. The series will include more than 20 performances ranging from a diverse group of musical styles, circus arts, dance, and theater that will take place in ballfields, farms, and parks throughout the area.

“The idea is to engage and inspire creative spirits of all ages as Windham County becomes the stage to celebrate the arts in a safe and socially responsible way,” says Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage Arts. “We’re building on the area’s creative and rich history, dynamic performance and arts community, while offering an exciting mix of diverse talent from near and far. Folks are eager to get out and shake off the winter and Covid. We’re excited to present this outdoor, socially distanced cultural performance series. This is something we all need right now!”

The Bandwagon Summer Series kicks off May 1, from 5-8 p.m., with a “Shake it Off, Shake it all Off” dance party hosted by Manhattan’s DJ Nickodemus, founding father of the legendary “Turntables on the Hudson” parties and the workhouse behind the “Wonderwheel” record label.

The following week, Saturday, May 8, from 6-8 p.m., at the Putney Central School, 182 Westminster Rd., the series turns to traditional Japanese drumming with Burlington’s Taiko who’ve been mesmerizing audiences with the powerful, spellbinding, and propulsive sounds of the Taiko. They’ve performed for millions including feature performances at the 100th running of the Boston Marathon.

The series moves on with passionate, Argentinian vocalist Sofia Rey, coming off a headlining spot at GlobalFest NYC, performing behind The Putney Inn Saturday, May 22 at 6 p.m. With a voice that’s been hailed for its captivating beauty and versatility by such prestigious publications as the New York Times and DownBeat Magazine, Rei’s talents fit comfortably into any number of genres.

Pumping it up a bit, the series hosts Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez with a Blues & Barbecue night with the “Beehive Queen” Saturday, May 29 at the Newfane Village Green at 6 p.m. Ohlman – the queen of blue-eyed rock n’ soul – grew up loving equally the sweetness of a Memphis horn line and the raunch of an electric guitar riff, whether played by Muddy Waters, Keith Richards, or Pop Staples, teased her blonde hair into a beehive in honor of Ronnie Spector and never looked back, picking up a guitar and forging a career as a songwriter in the process.

The series continues throughout the summer and fall. Co-presenter organizations include Twilight Music, The Stone Church, director David Stern, Landmark Trust USA, Brattleboro School of Dance, Brattleboro Development Community Corporation’s Young Professionals, Brattleboro Area Jewish Community, and Sandglass Theater.

Barr Hill and Oak Meadow are presenting sponsors. Sponsors of individual performances include Mascoma Bank, Brattleboro Savings & Loan, and The Richards Group. Media sponsors include Vermont Public Radio, Vermont PBS, VTDigger, The Commons, The Peak, BCTV, Great Eastern Radio.

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