Live From Rutland… It's Friday Night Live!

Cider Magazine July, 2012

Live From Rutland… It's Friday Night Live!

If you are looking for some great local activities this summer full of great live music and entertainment, food and the wares of many local merchants, then Rutland's sixth annual "Friday Night Live" is the place to be. Originally created through a partnership between the Creative Economy organization and the Downtown Rutland Partnership in 2008, Friday Night Live has grown to offer some of Rutland's best and runs every Friday night from 6 to 10 p.m. through August 10.

Photo courtesy of Downtown Rutland Partnership

"The grass root organization Creative Economy originally sparked the initiative to create this open-air marketplace concept six years ago," Executive Director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership Mike Coppinger said. "Then, after the first year as co-collaborators, they turned the baton over to us so-to-speak, and we have continued to grow the event over the last five years."

Walk through this "commerce-meets-culture" atmosphere and you will find a variety of local merchants offering everything from clothes and jewelry - to gift ideas and a wonderful array of food from local restaurants and vendors - to some of the most diverse music lineups and comedy the area as to offer. Also included in this years' schedule - on August 3 and 4th - will be Downtown Rutland's "Sidewalk Sale and Food Festival."

After the first five years of hosting the event, the Downtown partnership took some time to re-evaluate the proceedings over this past winter, and have made some positive changes to ensure that the program continues to evolve and improve. "We are very excited about the new ideas and improvements, including more family-orientated and interactive activities."

Of course, another big draw is the incredible line up of local music appearing throughout the summer, featuring a variety of genres for people of all ages to enjoy. From rock-and-roll and blues, to country, bluegrass and classical, there's a little bit of everything for everyone.

In fact, being a DJ himself, Coppinger takes great pride in the vast music variety that Friday Night Live offers, often venturing out himself to scout potential bands to book for the festivities.

"With most of the music, we try to promote and give exposure to the wonderful local talent in the area," Coppinger said. "But we've also brought in some music from outside the state as well, to treat the locals with other types of music as well. We have two stages, the early stage kicks off at 7 p.m. and the main, feature stage at 8:30."

Other additions include more games for the kids and interactive activities from The Wonderful Kids' Museum and Secret Circus. "We've brought in more activities for teens and 'tweens because we realize they are our future customers and hopefully, our future business owners, therefore, accommodating the kids is also a very important aspect for us."

There are also increased food options this year - with over 20 restaurants and vendors participating - but not just from downtown restaurants, but others from around and even outside of Rutland, such as Mama T's Country Kitchen and Rebecca's Kitchen from Castleton. To coincide with the events, many downtown merchants are also extending their store hours to accommodate shoppers.

Of course, Friday Night Live would not be possible without the contributions of several local sponsors including Berkshire Bank, The Vermont Country Store, Price Chopper, VELCO, Casella, Bud Light, Foley Distribution, The Rutland Herald, Stewarts Shops, Gus's Tobacco Shop, VSECU and of course, all in cooperation with the Creative Economy Initiative.

The Friday Night Live music and entertainment line up for July and August, which runs from 6 to 10 p.m., are as follows:
Aug 3, 4 - Stafford All-Stars, The Bobby Dick Show
Aug 10 - Drum Journey of the Earth, .Tavern Battle of the Bands Winner,
Money Shott