GUILFORD — A well-established Brattleboro music venue is bringing a new festival to Southern Vermont.
On June 3 at the Guilford Fairgrounds, 163 Fairground Road, The Stone Church is partnering with Urgent Message Music to present Field Day, a Vermont-made festival celebrating the New England music scene.
The lineup will be: Inner Wave, Lady Lamb, Sunflower Bean, Thus Love, Gift, Topsy, Robber Robber, Native Sun, Prune, Greg Freeman, Dari Bay, Tilden, Carinae and Lily Seabird.
“When it came time to choose the lineup for the bands, part of it was really easy because honestly ... there is just an absolutely staggering amount of talent in these bands coming out of Western Massachusetts, Southern Vermont, Burlington,” said Erin Scaggs, program director and community outreach coordinator for The Stone Church, and one of the organizers of Field Day.
Nina (pronounced “Nine-nuh”) Cates and Zack James of Robber Robber both grew up in Brattleboro and witnessed the local music scene evolve over time.
“It’s a really great group of people. I love what they’re doing for the community down there,” said Cates, now of Burlington. “It feels like it’s definitely more of a destination for people to come for music than it ever has been, at least, while we were growing up.”
Cates, 24, as well as James were previously part of the indie-rock band The Snaz.
In Robber Robber, the songs often combine heavy guitars with softer-sounding vocals, and build tension through shifting dynamics, making for high-energy live shows.
“Oftentimes when it gets like, heavier, it feels a little bit more to me like an emotional release,” Cates said. “I like to balance those with more restrained parts as well. We’ve been thinking about that a lot for the new record.”
The songs on the band’s EP “Caldera,” Cates said, drew inspiration from social interactions and dynamics. In school, Cates studied psychology and studio art, the former bleeding into her lyrics.
“I feel like mental states and feeling present or feeling detached ... I feel like that always influences a lot of my music,” she said.
Cates is familiar with the Guilford Fairgrounds from attending the Guilford Fair while growing up. She looks forward to experiencing the setting in a new way, with musicians in her circle. Many of the bands in the lineup are friends and some even share musicians — Cates plays bass in Dari Bay and Lily Seabird.
“Thus Love and Gift are good friends of ours as well,” Cates said. “So I’m super excited. I feel like it’s very relevant to my last year to be playing with this huge selection of bands and very relevant to my life, next to Brattleboro, where I grew up.”
Scaggs noted that a lot of bands in the lineup — hailing from Burlington, Western Mass., Brattleboro and New York City — know each other and have played together before.
“So there’s a huge sense among them that they’re about to play this festival with all their best friends,” Scaggs said.
Coming from New York is Aly Spaltro, who performs as Lady Lamb. Her new boxset, “In The Mammoth Nothing Of The Night,” comes out Aug. 18.
Her guitar-driven songs explore a broad range of tempo and sound, with lyrics that explore everything from everyday moments to wild, dream-like imagery. For example, “Spat Out Spit” on her 2015 album “After” begins with the narrator sitting on a train and seeing another passenger yawn. Spaltro sings, “And though this sight is common, I am abruptly mesmerized. And it strikes me in this moment for the first time in my life, how strange we all are ... ”
The song explodes into a chorus where the singer asks, “Was I born wild? Have I been asleep this whole damn time dreaming up a life? Will I awake to find that I’m deep in the woods and I’m snarling on all fours?”
She said she gets many of her lyrical ideas while in motion, either driving or walking, often listening to other music.
“I’ll walk like 10 miles in a day if I can. Oftentimes, when I’m doing that, I’ll listen to music, and just my mind is really, I guess, it’s really porous when I’m walking and listening to music, so oftentimes, different lines of lyrics will come to me based on what I’m listening to,” Spaltro said.
Her inspiration comes not so much from the content of the songs she hears as from the word choice. For example, a singer will sing a word, and that word will remind Spaltro of another word that rhymes or comes to her through free association, and she’ll continue with that rhyme scheme.
“Because I write a lot from experience, I weave in my own experience into that poetry,” she said.
Clearly, her fans can relate. A 2015 video of Spaltro performing her song “Bird Balloons” at the House of Blues in Boston gives off a rocking and edgy though intimate vibe, like a bunch of friends got together to sing a song they all knew. The audience call out as the song builds, and shout along with the visceral line, “My hair grew long so I (expletive) cut it” — shortly before the song culminates in a moment of maniacal laughter.
“Bird Balloons” is off her 2013 album “Ripely Pine.” Spaltro is now compiling a collaborative book of fan-submitted stories loosely connected to the 10-year-old album.
“It’s very visceral for people, I think, more than anything I’ve made,” Spaltro said. “Hearing stories about what people are connected to through that album, it gave me the idea to put a book together, a collaborative book where I am sourcing fan submissions of stories, personal stories from their life with the record as just sort of the backdrop of their story.”
Among the submissions, she said she has received many moving coming-out stories. One listener wrote of his mother coming out to their homophobic family, and the rest of the family no longer coming to family functions — except his mother’s mother.
“It’s like an ode to his grandmother who was a really wonderful, accepting woman,” she said. “She just put her foot down and was like, ‘Christmas is at my house. You either show up, or you don’t. But everybody’s welcome.’”
Spaltro said she has to read the submissions in small chunks due to the emotional impact. She likened the flavor of the book to “Humans of New York” — “you realize in reading all these stories from people from all walks of life that we’re not so different, you know?”
Field Day runs from noon to 10 p.m. June 3 at the Guilford Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds will also be the site of field games such as a Slip ’N Slide, disc golf, a three-legged race, and “other sort of super nostalgic ad wholesome field day games,” Scaggs said.
Tickets for $34.99 and parking passes for $10 can be purchased at fielddayvt.com.