There's certainly no shortage of music to discover in Vermont, but if you're looking for an outdoor experience rooted in an appreciation for the beauty of Vermont and hand-crafted wine, check out the Snow Farm Vineyard Summer Concert Series.
The series is held on the vineyard lawn and features a different band each Thursday through the summer. Whether you're a wine lover or just enjoy good music, the concerts are definitely worth checking out!
Snow Farm Vineyard is known for award-winning wines and good music in Vermont during the summer.
Concerts Evolve Over the Years
As the Vermont music scene has evolved so has the Snow Farm summer concert series, which began in 1999 with vineyard founder Harrison Lebowitz.
Some of the first performances included the well-loved Vermont Mozart Festival and Vermont-favorite Jon Gailmor. Today, owners Dave and Julie Lane have kept the Vermont music tradition going with their own twist.
'"The concerts started low key with 50 to 100 people. A lot of folk singers and one-man-band acts, and that went along really well," Julie Lane said. "When we took over in 2012 we followed that model, stuck with the same names, and added some new ones too. At some point, it began to evolve into a bigger community gathering."
"One of the things that’s kind of cool is when the bands come, they look at the posters on the wall and realize they've been playing here for twenty years," Lane said.
Well-known performers can bring up to 2,000 people to the venue. With plenty of room to spread out on the vineyard lawn, Snow Farm is one of the few vineyards in Vermont that can host outdoor concerts of this size.
Nick Lane looks at concert posters in the winery; one for each year the concerts have taken place since 1999.
Raised on Vermont Music
For Dave and Julie Lane's sons, Nick and Alex Lane, the summer concert series was the backdrop to their childhoods.
"I'll never forget Tammy Fletcher's voice. When our Dad had beef cows in the fields, the cows would come to the fence to listen to her. It was pretty cool," Nick said, who was 12 years old when the concerts began, "In high school, we'd listen to the concerts in the bay while we were water skiing."
Nick and his family manage everything from mowing the parking lots to booking bands and securing food and craft beer vendors. Despite the work involved, the concerts are free of charge. The pay-off for the Lane family is in the connections made at the well-loved events. Nick says one of the most rewarding parts is getting to know the people.
"There's a lot of people you see year after year, and you've kind of been growing older with," Nick said. "You see people hugging and excited to be getting back together each year. It's really special."
Located next to Lake Champlain with views of the mountains, the mission of the concerts has always been to connect people to nature and each other.
"It’s always been 'come to the vineyard, gather with friends, listen to good music on the lake, and sip the wine,'" Julie said. "The wine is coming from the land, so you feel very connected to it."
It's Our "Happy Place"
Eric Jacobsen and his wife Dinah have been attending the concerts since the beginning. The Jacobsens lived in nearby Westford, Vermont for over 30 years and raised their kids there. Now residents of Tennesee, they come back to the Champlain Islands for the summer.
"Snow Farm Vineyard is a happy place for my wife and I," Eric said. "When somebody comes to visit us we always stop out there, bring a little cheese and crackers, have a couple of bottles of wine, and enjoy it there. We’re big fans of the music, it’s like a little Woodstock almost with the variety of people that come out, and it's just a real feel-good place...our happy place."
Eric Jacobsen and his wife Dinah have been attending the Snow Farm Summer Concert Series with their friends for over twenty years.
Dinah Jacobsen (center) and friends at the Snow Farm Summer Concert Series.
The Jacobsens say besides the music, their favorite thing about the concerts is that they appeal to the young and old alike. The couple says their grown kids, Corinne and Phil, enjoy the music just as much as they do.
"It’s nice to see people of all ages enjoy themselves and have a good time. My blood pressure drops about twenty points when I get there, and I haven’t even drank anything yet," Eric joked. "It’s a good vibe kind of place."
Dinah Jacobsen and her son Phil at the Snow Farm Summer Concert Series.
Corinne Jacobsen (right) at the Summer Concert Series with friends and family.
Celebrating 25 Years of Vermont Wine
Whether at the Thursday night concerts, during the grape harvest, or when the wine is being bottled, there are always tunes playing at Snow Farm.
As head winemaker Patrick Barrelet says, "You gotta know good music to make good wine."
To celebrate the role music has played in the culture of the vineyard throughout its 25-year history, Snow Farm is hosting a 25th Anniversary Music Festival on August 6, 2022. The gates open at 1 p.m. with music from 2 to 8:30 p.m. The lineup includes Buck Hollers, Better Days, Nobby Reed, and Quadra.
A suggested minimum donation of $10.00 is requested to benefit the non-profit Champlain Islanders Developing Essential Resources (CIDER). CIDER's mission is to develop and foster resources that enable the people of Grand Isle County to live in their community with dignity.
Food trucks will be on site as well with Vermont brews from Zero Gravity and 14th Star Brewery and Snow Farm Vineyard wine.
"We're excited to celebrate this milestone with our community," Nick said. "At the concerts, people often buy a bottle of our wine to bring home and enjoy later...it's like they're bottling up the memories and bringing part of the night home with them."
Long-time concert-goers Eric and Dinah Jacobsen at the Summer Concert Series at Snow Farm Vineyard.