Montpellier’s popular Spice on Snow festival, organized and run by the Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture, had to go virtual last February as a result of the COVID pandemic. He disappointed a lot of loyal fans.
To compensate for this truncated event, Summit School is offering a one-day live event, the Summer Spice Celebration, on Saturday, August 27, to be held in Hubbard Park in Montpellier. Summer Spice will add a dash of music to the dwindling summer schedule of events that has given the town a decidedly musical flavor this year.
As Summit School Principal Katie Trautz explained, “The Spice on Snow Music Festival is a multi-day winter celebration of roots and contemporary folk music in downtown Montpellier. The festival started over ten years ago when Summit School saw an opportunity to bring some vibrancy to Montpellier during the darkest and coldest months of the year. The music festival was a huge success and has become one of the most popular community events of the year, drawing over 1,000 people downtown each year.
The Summer Spice Celebration, Trautz says, “will feature winter festival headliners including Sammy Lynd and Nadine Landry of the internationally acclaimed Foghorn Stringband. Also featured is Jake Blount, a rising star in the banjo world. During the day’s events, performers will give workshops, perform for a square dance with local caller Jennifer Johnson and perform on the Tuning Forks stage.
The appeal of this festival, beyond spending a day enjoying the park and the weather, Trautz said, is that “people who want to learn early music on their instrument and people who love folk music and roots will definitely enjoy the entertainment and workshops.”
The festival will take place at Hubbard Park Old Shelter and Tuning Forks Stage.
“We’re hoping hundreds of people will join us, the more the better,” Trautz said.
Featured artists Lynd and Landry, residents of Quebec City, play early and Cajun music on fiddle and guitar. They have been touring for decades and are familiar to Spice on Snow fans as they have performed in Montpellier before.
Trautz described Blount as “a promising national banjo player who recently performed at the prestigious Newport Folk Festival”. Blount’s specialty is the black and indigenous roots of early music.
Johnson has called many square dances for Summit School in the past. “She’s got a really good feel for old-school calls,” Trautz said. Johnson once hosted a series of square dances at the now defunct Black Door restaurant in Montpellier.
“We hope families will picnic and enjoy the music,” Trautz said. “We will have a La Bonne Crêpe food truck specializing in crepes.”
While Trautz said this festival is a one-time event, she said, “We are hoping and planning for a Spice on Snow for 2023.” The only caveat concerns the limitations that the pandemic could bring to performance halls next February.
The festival is expected to come rain or shine unless there is a severe storm, but workshops will take place regardless as they are to be held in the old shelter.