[Originally published in the Rutland Herald on 3/24/11]
Dust off your dancing shoes, Rutland; Snoe.down is back. The winter music and sports festival returns to the area this weekend with three days of eclectic live music and outdoor recreation.
The festival, which drew almost 5,000 people to the area last March, promises to repeat its success boasting almost a dozen bands at five venues throughout Rutland and Killington.
Headlining the weekend will be moe., the Buffalo-based rock band and veterans of the jamband scene, who will take the stage at Spartan Arena in Rutland Town on Friday and Saturday nights.
“The folks at the mountain were great. We really felt welcomed,” he said. “The atmosphere was awesome. … The fans had an awesome time.”
Snoe.down was first conceived in 2006, in Lake Placid, N.Y. According, to Schnier, the concept was a simple one: finding a way to put on a festival in the wintertime.
“(We) wanted to get all our fans together in one place and combine it with a weekend of skiing and winter sports,” Schnier said.
The festival departed Lake Placid in 2008, and after a year’s hiatus found a home in Rutland in 2010. With access to skiing, riding and other winter recreation as well as an adequately sized concert venue, Schnier said that the Rutland-Killington area is a perfect location.
For the band, access to the slopes is an important aspect of the weekend.
“It’s a priority for me to get some turns in,” Schnier said, adding that he skied to the stage for last year’s afternoon outdoor show at Bear Mountain.
“I played in my boots,” he said.
Schnier will once again get to ski onstage when moe. plays another free outdoor set at Bear Mountain on Saturday. Singer-songwriter Ryan Montbleau and his band will open the afternoon show starting at 12:30 p.m. moe. will take the stage at 2 p.m.
Also on Saturday, Bear Mountain will play host to the Monster Energy K-Town Showdown Rail Jam. According to Killington Events Manager Matt Porter, “spectators will be able to watch the competitors battle it out in the OL Rail Park, which is in sight of the Bear Mountain deck and concert venue.”
Porter noted that if you go to Bear Mountain, you should plan to carpool and arrive early. Extra shuttles will run from Snowshed and Skyeship base areas starting at 11 a.m.
On the music front, the party kicks off tonight in Killington with shows at both the Wobbly Barn and the Pickle Barrel.
Local music lovers might want to check out Rutland County jam phenoms Twiddle at the Pickle, where they will make their Snoe.down debut.
“This is very exciting,” said Twiddle keyboardist Ryan Dempsey. “(moe.) is a band we’ve looked up to for years.”
Dempsey, who said his band has been “practicing intensely” ahead of tonight’s show, is thrilled to have the festival in Rutland, adding that he thinks Twiddle’s upbeat, complex jamming style is a good fit with the weekend’s musical lineup.
The music continues all day Friday starting at 12:30 p.m. with performances at the Bear Mountain and K1 lodges before the main event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. when the festival rolls down the hill to Spartan Arena.
Multi-instrumentalist and one-man band Keller Williams will open the show Friday evening with his laid back groves and infectious rhythm. Keller is as entertaining to watch leaping from instrument to instrument as he is to listen to.
After that, moe. will take the stage to officially get the weekend under way. More than just a jamband, moe.’s sound is hard to pin down. Simply put, they’re a rock band with strong improvisational chops and a daring experimental streak that will take them anywhere from psychedelic to punk to New Wave to classic FM rock.
Following the Bear Mountain show, the party returns to Spartan Arena on Saturday night with the instrumental electronic rock band Lotus at 7:30 p.m. and another two sets from moe.
Sunday, the festivities roll on with afternoon performances that will be capped off by an 8 p.m. (separately ticketed) performance by Vermont natives Assembly of Dust at the Pickle Barrel.
So far this year ticket sales look to be on par with 2010’s numbers said Ben Jaehne of Great Northeast Productions, which produces Snoe.down.
“We are grateful for the continued support of the Killington and Rutland communities, and look forward to their welcoming the Snoe.down fans once again,” Jaehne added.
Tickets are still available for individual shows or the entire weekend. Visit www.snoedown.com for tickets, shuttle information and a full schedule.