Manchester comes alive during the summer months as locals and travelers alike gather outdoors to enjoy the natural beauty of Southern Vermont. Restaurants and cafes raise their sunbrellas for outdoor dining, while shops, outlets, and boutiques open their doors wide, welcoming you in as you stroll along the sidewalk. But to truly experience and immerse yourself in Manchester’s unique community, all one has to do is attend one of the many inspiring festivals happening this summer in Manchester, VT.
Who would believe so many culturally enriching experiences could be at your fingertips in such a quaint quintessential New England Town? Whether your musical vibe leans towards the classics or perhaps you are more folk, bluegrass or rock n roll, the music festivals coming to town this summer are second to none. And if you’re into arts and theatre, don’t miss the incredible shows taking place from mid-June through August at two award-winning playhouses. Each just a short drive from the town center.
Kick off the summer festival season on June 15, with the Taconic Music Festival. This Summer’s Festival brings together internationally acclaimed musicians and Chamber Music Intensive students from across the country for four weeks of chamber-music performances and masterclasses. Music in Action brings music to schools, libraries, bookstores, art galleries, veterans’ homes, senior residences, and other non-traditional venues, while Strings for Kids offers violin, viola, and cello lessons for ages 5–18. Taconic’s resident ensemble, Taconic Chamber Players, offers a broad repertoire of Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and contemporary works, including pop, rock, and jazz arrangements. Faculty and Young Artists performances will be held live and also live-streamed from the Riley Center for the Arts at Burr and Burton Academy.
Taconic Music provides Southern Vermont communities with year-round concerts, lessons, and educational programs built upon the rich traditions of classical music. At the same time, they offer inclusive points of entry through a variety of genres for people of all ages and walks of life who value music as part of their daily lives. Click here to learn more!
If performance art is more your style, then you won’t want to miss a show at the Dorset Theatre Festival. The Festival’s summer home at the Dorset Playhouse is an intimate 298-seat theatre built from two pre-revolutionary barns. This year’s shows feature MISERY(Fri, Jun 23 – Sat, Jul 08); Still (Fri, Jul 21 – Sat, Aug 05); Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson (Fri, Aug 11 – Sat, Aug 26); and The Thanksgiving Play (Fri, Sep 01 – Sun, Sep 10).
Aside from the 4 main performances that they stage throughout the summer, they also have implemented a program called the Pipeline Series. The Pipeline Series provides writers with fully supported weeklong AEA workshops. Culminating in public staged readings, this interactive program invites audiences to become vital participants in the development of new plays and provides a first look at new plays in consideration for future productions at the Festival and beyond. Since 1929, the Playhouse building has been owned and operated by Dorset’s non-professional community theatre group, The Dorset Players, Inc.
The Pipeline Series evolved from the Festival’s acclaimed New Play Reading Series. Since 2018, the Pipeline has featured plays written by Kate Cortesi, Melissa Ross, Frank Harts, Sofia Alvarez, Matthew Paul Olmos, and Sarah T. Schwab, as well as actors including Treat Williams, Estelle Parsons, and Karen Allen. Click here to learn more!
The Manchester Music Festival engages, inspires, and grows a supportive audience for classical music, performed at the highest level of artistic excellence, and teaches exceptional young performers in the art of chamber music. In its 49th season, you will see the return of festival-favorite performers, lots of fresh faces, and new experiences for audiences to enjoy.
The season begins on June 29th with the renowned Emerson String Quartet, who are embarking on their worldwide farewell tour. The Emerson String Quartet, called “America’s greatest quartet” by Time Magazine, will be disbanding at the completion of their tour after more than four decades of performing together, and Philip Setzer will be launching a new phase of his career as the new Artistic Director of Manchester Music Festival.
Throughout the months of July and August, you won’t want to miss one of their Main Stage Concerts held in Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Arkell Pavilion or one of the Young Artists Concerts which feature the next generation of great chamber musicians. Click here to learn more.
If rock-and-roll is more of your jam, you’ll be excited to learn about Manchester’s newest music event, Dead of Summer. Experience two fun-filled days with live music, food, and craft beer, and so much more. This rain-or-shine event will take place at Hunter Park at the Northshire Civic Center on 35 beautiful acres nestled in the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont.
This summer’s current lineup includes bands such as Steely Dead, Pink Talking Fish, Bearly Dead, Saints & Liars, Misty Blues, and more! This event is family-friendly and will have locations for RV Camping and Tent Camping! Gates open at 9:00 am on Friday, July 7th with the Festival site clearing at 10 am Sunday, July 9th. Kids 10 and under are free, all children 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Visit – the Dead of Summer Music Festival to learn more and purchase tickets. Click here to learn more.
This eight-week USEF National/4*-Rated offers an all-inclusive horse show is just a 10-minute drive from Manchester Town Center. Beginning June 23 this year through mid-August, the entire family will enjoy this boutique-style competition, featuring divisions for every level of equestrian jumping, from the Short Stirrup Classic to the $40,000 weekly Grand Prix. The Vermont Summer Festival is one of the most popular horse show series in the country, according to HITS organizers. Plans for this year’s Festival include an enhanced VIP experience and additional food service options. Updates that were made last year, like the impeccable footing, will remain exceptional and when added to the new improvements will make for a memorable 2023 experience for the entire family. Click here to learn more!
Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots Festival
Another family-friendly festival offering on-site camping, returning to Manchester in its 4th year, is the Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots Festival. GMBR is a four-day music festival featuring a variety of bluegrass, roots, and Americana music from both icons of the industry and innovative up-and-coming artists. Featuring a main stage, dance tent, late-night acoustic stage, camping, kids activities, local food trucks, and Vermont craft beer and wine. Located right in town, attendees can stay at one of the many varieties of hotels, bed, and breakfast inns, or camp in the fields. The goal of the festival is to bring together all generations, in one field, with beautiful musicianship, activities, and a world-class experience that everyone can enjoy. Click here to learn more!
Southern Vermont Arts & Crafts Festival
Returning after a 4-year hiatus, we are excited to welcome back The Southern Vermont Arts & Crafts Festival. This weekend-long event in September will feature many local, regional, and Vermont artisans and offers a unique more hands-on experience, with daily craft demonstrations. The lovely setting at Riley Rink Exhibition Field will feature 125 exhibitors, each one a tented boutique, offering a plethora of handmade goods. You can find pottery, jewelry, clothing, art, graphics, leather, glass, metal, specialty foods, Vermont wines, and distilled spirits to taste and take home. As with any Craftproducers show, the ambiance will be enhanced with creative food fairs, local beers on tap, and live music filling the air. Click here to learn more!
MORE THAN JUST A DAY TRIP!
With so many unique festivals to experience, you may just want to make this more than a day trip. Couple your festival experience with an incredible outdoor adventure, a visit to a local art center or gallery, Historic tours, or simply shop at any of our many world-class designer outlets, boutique stores, and mom & pop shops around town. There is never enough time in just one day to experience all that Manchester, VT has to offer. Relax and Stay awhile at any one of our resorts, boutique hotels, charming Inns + B&Bs, modern motels or vacation rentals. The lodging options are almost endless and are made to fit your style, need, and budget. All this to make your next getaway unforgettable!
Treat yourself with a stay in the center of Manchester Village, Vermont, at The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa. This resort embodies all that is quintessential New England. The Equinox combines a rich sense of history and tradition with superb service and contemporary amenities to make for an easeful, elegant stay. Rooms and suites feature gorgeous views of the mountains, gardens, and historic village center. World-class recreational activities take you from the gently rolling hills of the par 71 Walter Travis golf course to the 914 acres of mountain trails right in their backyard, fly fishing access, and hiking opportunities at Equinox Pond.
The resort is also poised to pamper with saunas, steam baths, a fitness center, and a yoga studio, plus ten treatment rooms with an extensive menu of massages, facials, and body treatments. Click here to learn more!
EAT, DRINK AND ENJOY MANCHESTER!
Summer days in Manchester provide plenty of sunshine and warmth. Gardens are flourishing and the greens are lush and vibrant. This is the time that many locals, and visitors alike, take advantage of the gorgeous weather and enjoy dining al fresco at one of the local favorite haunts. Many of our restaurants and cafés offer patio and outdoor seating options throughout the season, with some providing incredible views of Vermont’s vistas.
One such place that offers fabulous indoor and outdoor seating is Union Underground. Stop in on your next night out to enjoy this cozy GastroPub with Vermont vibes in a rustic, industrial atmosphere. Known for its great food and drinks, as well as frequent live music and events Union Underground is a great place to relax and grab a bite. Savor fresh cuisine with ingredients provided by local farms and a variety of drafts on tap from breweries around the area. A unique experience not to miss! Click here to learn more!
Now is the time to take advantage of Vermont’s natural beauty and breathe in the fresh air, all while tasting some of the best food available in Southern Vermont. Dinner reservations are always recommended at most area eateries. For a complete list of the many restaurants and cafes, offering outdoor seating Click Here.
Whatever you’re planning for your next Manchester adventure, let us help you make the most of your trip! Learn more at ManchesterVermont.com!