by Michael T Jermyn
Get ready for some foot-stomping good times in Montpelier. The eighth annual Spice on Snow Winter Folk Music Festival is right around the corner and just in time to beat the cabin-fever blues. It all starts at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier on Thursday, January 25, with a 4:30 pm show by Americana act Mayfly, featuring Katie Trautz, founder of the festival.
From there the fun and entertainment hits full throttle with music, dance, storytelling, workshops, and jam sessions at multiple venues in and around Montpelier, ending on Sunday, January 28th.
Main acts this year include Toronto’s April Verch Band, which is steeped in the Acadia school of traditional music and guaranteed to get you dancing. “We were delighted that the festival directors invited us to perform at this festival,” fiddler-singer-step dancer Verch tells The Bridge. “We love sharing our passion for music and dance, so we’re really looking forward to the workshops where we’ll get to play and dance together.
”Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, and representing a new wing of Cajun and Louisiana roots music are duo Blake Miller and David Greely, who will be accompanied by Vermont’s own Green Mountain Playboys.
Rounding out the headliners this year is Brattleboro’s Scott Ainslie, who may or may notbe playing a homemade “dilley bow,” i.e., a cigar box guitar. Ainslie brings the history, roots music, and sounds of America alive. He also has published the book on delta blues legend Robert Johnson (Robert Johnson, At The Crossroads, 1992).
Not to be missed is the ultimate event of the festival, the concert showcasing all three headliners starting at 7 pm, Saturday night at the Bethany Church. It’s guaranteed to be a hootenanny.
Cajun culture is also famous for its hot, spicy food (perfect for these icy winter nights),and there will be no one going hungry this year with local chef, Bill Koucky, handling the cooking. On the menu is jambalaya with shrimp, Andouille sausage and chicken with baked kale (Friday, 6 to 7:30 pm at the City Hall Arts Center), and barbecued pork with soft rolls and other tasty entrees on Saturday, (5 to 6:30 pm, Bethany Church basement). So, make sure to bring your appetites as well as your dancing shoes.
“The idea of getting to combine these things that we love with great food,” Verch enthuses, “and to be a part of a great community that also loves these things—in the wintertime when there aren’t as many music festivals going on—is the best part of all!”
Make sure to have tickets because it’s likely to sell out ahead of time. For more information about other musicians and performers, tickets, free shows, venue locations, precise times and schedules, go to the Summit School website at summit-school.org.