The Spice on Snow Winter Music Festival is a four-day celebration of roots and folk music, January 23rd -26th 2020. The festival features outstanding Cajun and Old-Time musicians from Louisiana and Southern Appalachia, together with premier touring folk musicians and regional performers. There are concerts, dances, workshops, family events, jam sessions and free performances city-wide in Montpelier, Vermont.
There will be forty musicians performing thirty events at fourteen venues throughout downtown, with concerts, dances, workshops, jam sessions, sing-alongs, family programs, and a community dinner. To celebrate our 10th anniversary, the festival is bringing two acclaimed headliners, as well as an all-star cast of local performers. The Summit School is also holding a raffle featuring a Gold Tone banjo signed by the Macarthur Genius Award and Grammy winning musician Rhiannon Giddens. Giddens is the co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, in which she plays banjo and fiddle. Giddens has performed for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, appeared on The Late Show, Austin City Limits, Later…with Jools Holland, and both CBS Saturday and Sunday Morning, and dueted with country superstar Eric Church on his powerful anti-racism song “Kill a Word” (including performing the song on The Tonight Show and the CMA Awards, among other programs). In 2017, Giddens was awarded a Macarthur Genius Award and she has also received the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Singer of the Year and the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo. The Summit School is honored to have her support!
2020 Spice on Snow headliners include Molsky Mountain Drifters (with Grammy-Nominated fiddler Bruce Molsky), and The Old Fashioned Aces (from Louisiana). In 2019, Amelia Briere of the Aces won best female vocalist of the year at the Le Cajun Awards in Louisiana. The accordionist, Blake Miller, founded the popular young Cajun band The Pine Leaf Boys and became a member of the premiere Louisiana roots Band The Red Stick Ramblers. He has also served stints in just about every other cajun/creole band of note including Balfa Toujours, Les Malfecteurs and Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole bringing his strong cultural identity and accomplished musicianship to the world. He now plays with the world traveled Revelers, singing and playing his own songs on fiddle and accordion.
Molsky’s Mountain Drifters features Bruce Molsky, a Grammy-nominated artist on fiddle, banjo, guitar and song. Molsky is also Berklee College of Music’s Visiting Scholar in the American Roots Program. He is joined by Allison de Groot on banjo, who combines wide ranging virtuosity and passion for old-time music, and Boston-based Stash Wyslouch, who is one of bluegrass’s great young genre-bending pioneers.
In addition to these incredible artists, the festival will highlight performances by The Moon Shells (Old-time from Western Massachusetts), and Matt Downer (from Tennessee). Other Vermont-based performers include Young Tradition Youth Commission Ensemble, Chaque Fois, Kick em Jenny, Two Cents in the Till, Old Sky, Last Train to Zinkov, Mark Legrand and Turning Stile. Many of the festival events are free or low cost, with a special focus on family friendly events throughout the day on Saturday.
This event is funded in part by a grant award from Montpelier Alive, with funds from the Montpelier Downtown Improvement District. Spice on Snow festival is also funded by many area businesses and foundations, including Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, and community members, who are listed on our website. We are grateful for the volunteers and donors who make this festival possible each year!
The Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture is a non-profit folk music school located in Montpelier, Vermont. We host ongoing classes, workshops, and concerts year-round. Summit School’s main events include Spice on Snow, adult music classes, Trad Camp for kids, and Old Time on the Onion, a summer traditional music gathering.