PUTNEY — An outdoor and socially distanced performance series kicks off this weekend.
The Bandwagon Summer Series, organized by Next Stage Arts in Putney, begins Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. with a “Shake it Off, Shake it all Off” Dance Party hosted by Manhattan’s DJ Nickodemus, founding father of the “Turntables on the Hudson” parties and the workhouse behind the “Wonderwheel” record label. The series continues through the middle of October, with more than 20 performances of music, circus arts, dance and theater. The shows will take place in ballfields, farms and parks in Windham County.
“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,” Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage Arts, said. “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 series continues May 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Putney Central School, 182 Westminster Road, with traditional Japanese drumming from Burlington Taiko. Burlington Taiko has performed for millions, including at the 100th running of the Boston Marathon.
The series moves on with Argentinian vocalist Sofia Rey, coming off a headlining spot at GlobalFest NYC, performing behind The Putney Inn on May 22 at 6 p.m. With a voice that’s been hailed for its captivating beauty and versatility by 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” on May 29 at the Newfane Village Green at 6 p.m. Ohlman — the queen of blue-eyed rock n’ soul — is the current, longtime vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band, whose latest CD, The Deep End, was honored on five national Top Ten lists.
The series continues throughout the summer and fall with performances by Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, June 4 at 6 p.m. at Cooper Field; Yemen Blues (co-presented with The Stone Church) on June 13 at 6 p.m.; A Year of Frog and Toad, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, June 25 through July 4; Brooklyn Rider on July 17; Sammy Rae & The Friends, July 30; Gili Yalo & the Anbessa Orchestra, Aug. 7; Rev. Sekou & The Freedom Fighters, Aug. 12; Cheryl Wheeler, Aug. 13; Arun Ramamurthy, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at Naulakha; Bread & Puppet Theater; Cantrip Sept 11; Kat Wright, Sept. 17 and Nimble Arts, also planned for September.
Co-presenting 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 and Great Eastern Radio.
More information and updates are online at nextstagearts.org.
Social distancing guidelines
While waiting in the box office line, please maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from patrons in front and behind you.
Face masks must be worn from your car until you reach your socially distanced “pod” in the field, and also when you use the rest rooms.
Your seating pod is limited to a maximum of six people (you and up to five of your friends and family members). Please bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.
While dancing to the music, please remain in your pod.
Please adhere to exit instructions after the concert, and take any trash out with you.