WINOOSKI – The Waking Windows Festival barely got its first run in three years on Friday when rap musician Sammus embodies the sentiments of many of the attendees.
“This is my first show in two years,” Samos told the audience at the start of her set. “Maybe I cry a few times.”
After one song she updated her opening notes. “I’m already crying,” said Samos. “Wonderful.”
After two years of more isolation than most of us have ever experienced, the three-day Waking Windows Festival felt like waking up all over again. The event, which brings world-famous acts and features dozens of local musicians, in its first nine years has always felt like the first big party of spring. With the festival canceled in 2020 and never planned for in 2021, this year’s all-sold-out iteration was the biggest ever.
Crowds celebrated over three wonderful days of music and the arrival of beautiful weather. Vermonters had the highest vaccination rates and lowest hospitalization rates in the country for most of the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country was almost completely shut down for the first few months after the virus arrived to avoid spreading the disease as much as possible.
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The ability to throw a party like Waking Windows was a big reason Vermont sacrificed so much early on to keep the virus at bay. The weekend was the reward for all that work.
Music can heal with Low Cut Connie
This does not mean, of course, that the party was 100% carefree. The attendees were frolicking with varying levels of vigilance against turning the festival from a scattering of joy to a supernatural tablecloth. Few of the crowds in places around Winwinsky were wearing protective masks, hoping the odds were in favor of enjoying themselves more than contracting coronavirus.
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The musicians acknowledged the heaviness of the times between moments of joy. “Everyone in this place has gone through some kind of change in the last two years” inside Winooski Roundabout, Adam Weiner of rockers Le Cut Connie — a band usually known for bringing the party, not the philosophy — told the audience Sunday at the band’s location.
“Music can heal,” Weiner said. “And we have to keep each other alive.”
Japanese breakfast, dry cleaning, playing prominent groups
With so many artists – not just musicians but comedians and writers reading their work – there were too many outstanding performances to list. But here are a few:
Burlington Band pop Provides a happy boost of adrenaline every time they perform. Friday’s show at The Monkey House was boisterous, cheerful, hot and surprisingly sweaty in the pressurized club given the unusually warm temperatures of the weekend.
Previously in Vermont and now back in their home state of Texas, psychedelic rock musicians kush A great group played Friday at Winooski Methodist Church. With its low swirling lights and hypnotic sounds, the late-night show seemed like a daydream right before bed.
Vermont Band Aqua Musa He gave one of the festival’s most captivating performances on Saturday with a captivating and emotional voice. By incorporating dance, Acqua Mossa transformed the set on a revolving stage into an artistic feast for the eyes and ears.
British rock music dry cleaning She exploded from the main outdoor stage on Saturday with post-punk riots battling for attention with sweet-sounding, serious, sober singer Florence Shaw. It was intense, bold, and imaginative—basically, it should be all music.
– Led by Michael Zoner, Japanese breakfast Playing a deceptive array that flowed easily from upbeat pop music to beautiful ballads. And how often does a humble local festival like Waking Windows host a show on one Saturday and appear the next Saturday Night Live where the Japanese breakfast is scheduled for May 21?
Indie rock brattleboro so love Ready to make an impact. Just signed to independent Captured Tracks, the intense and groovy live performance of the trio late Saturday at The Monkey House showed why this band should get more real national attention soon.
– On the contrary, the guitarist Jasmine WilliamsThe Sunday show at Winooski Methodist Church was quiet and beautiful, yet still powerful and intense. The folk musician’s ability to tap the strings on the guitar’s neck that holds it horizontally allows her to get sounds out of an instrument that many listeners didn’t know was possible.
– The last band for the entire festival, New York Rock Dancers general practice, which sparked local interest six months ago when they opened the Parquet Courts on the Raised Ground. Their fast and very fun team on Sunday night at The Monkey House finished the festival on an appropriately dazed note.
And so the group Love at The Monkey House provided one of those moments that only a small but ambitious festival like Waking Windows could provide. The crowd included two members of the Dry Kling, guitarist Tom Dawes and bass player Louis Maynard, who stood near the front of the stage after being invited by the members of “Thus Luv” to their group.
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The cymbal fell off the So Luv drums during the show, and Dawes jumped onto the stage to put it back in place; He didn’t want the group that he and Maynard enjoyed so much to derail. When So Love finished its group, two members of a young British band that got a lot of international fanfare hugged the three members of the young Vermont band that had just started making their way and told them about the amazing show they had just put on. A potential strong musical friendship arose immediately.
Sure, the music was great throughout the festival. But perhaps music is really just an excuse to create or sometimes rebuild a community.
Contact Brent Hallenbeck at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Brent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BrentHallenbeck.