Snow and moe. bring crowds to Killington
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | March 24,2013
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Members of the band moe. gravitated to on-stage heaters as they performed through the snow and chilly temperatures at a free concert Saturday at the Killington Ski Resort. The band took off its ski boots but wore ski clothing and hats and used hand warmers.
KILLINGTON — Whether the draw was the intermittent snow or the music of the snoe.down festival, young people flocked to Bear Mountain on Saturday where a free concert by moe. headlined the day’s events.
Along with opening band Eastbound Jesus, moe. played on the outdoor stage at Bear Mountain during the day and returned for a ticketed show at the Spartan Arena in Rutland with opening act Strangefolk.
The band has developed a following of fans who will travel to hear them play and enjoy the festival experience.
Saturday morning, Kyle Fisher, Brenna Coulson and Nora Wynter, all Vermonters, set up a tailgate in the parking lot to wait for friends so they could socialize while waiting for the concert.
Fisher, who said he’s probably been to 20 moe. shows, said he came to Killington more to see the band again than to visit a music festival.
“The thing is, I’m not really into other jam (bands) like Phish or anything like that,” he said. “I think Phish and other bands like that are really pretentious and moe.’s atmosphere is more family-oriented. Between this festival and the one they do in New York, you always have a good, safe feeling when you’re there.”
Coulson said she was new to the experience, having only been introduced to their music over the summer but has since become a “big fan.”
“They have a really good feel about them. They’re a great jam band,” she said.
Before Saturday’s free concerts started, Jeff Alexander, events and sponsorship manager for Killington Resort, said the festival was already a strong event with good attendance since it opened Thursday.
He agreed that it was hard to tell whether it was the music or the slopes that were the strongest draw Saturday. Either way, he said, people seemed to be having fun.
Benjamin Jaehne, vice-president of Great Northeast Productions, which produced the festival, said there was “great energy” on the event’s return to Killington. The snoe.down event last came to the area in 2011.
“moe. is just really, really happy to be here,” Jaehne said. “They said from the stage (Friday) night, to the whole audience, they said, ‘We’re going to put in our contract with the producer, that they’re going to have to provide a foot and half of snow the week of the show every year for us.’”
While snow was still blowing around Saturday, Jaehne said the band members didn’t mind.
“This is a band that enjoys skiing,” he said. “They play in Colorado just so they can go skiing and this is their winter stop on the East Coast.”
Some people take their enjoyment of moe. very seriously. There was an area between the stage and the sound and light controls for fans like Michael Salvo, of Burlington, to set up their recording equipment. Salvo said he had been to almost 200 moe. concerts, traveling as far as California to see them.
“You get a different experience every night,” Salvo said. “That’s how it started out and over 10 years of seeing them, it’s become a community thing where I definitely have a large group of friends, who I wouldn’t have otherwise, that I’ve met from seeing them over the years in so many different places.”
He added, “Really, it’s a spectacular thing. It’s so much fun.”
Hannah Weller, a Green Mountain College student, said she came out Saturday with a group of friends from the college and her home state of Pennsylvania to hear moe. She said that like Salvo, she enjoyed the community aspect of the band and said Killington should do more music festivals.
Her friend, Kali Rosenberry, a Penn State student, said it had been a weekend of music and skiing, which she called “two really good natural highs.”