The Sounds of Summer

Editor Rick Broussard

Photo by John Hession

Summer has a reputation as a time of relaxation, but my experience is this is when we all really kick Life into overdrive. Good thing it comes with its own Rock 'n' Roll soundtrack.

The music of summer finds its groove pretty early. Take for example our annual Best of NH Party, celebrating all the coolest and most delicious stuff in the state on June 21. Although the big attraction to most people who attend is the incredible array of food (from 60 of the state's best restaurants) and the overall atmosphere - plus a chance to support the NH Food Bank - the "soundtrack" of area performers at the event really helps make it a special time.

This year the music will be just as cool and eclectic as ever, but it will be organized to provide a concert-style experience (think Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" but with New Hampshire artists). The house band will be provided by Pittsfield's Rocking Horse Studio and will feature a variety of guest stars leading up to our big finale performance by the much-buzzed-about Tan Vampires.

But even before Best of NH rolls around, the state will have been rocked by some other not-for-profit concerts that are well worth your time.

The Thing in Spring, June 8-10 in downtown Peterborough, offers a number of community-building opportunities as well as fundraisers for various causes. This event mixes the charm of a high-concept happening with the giddy grooves of live music by some bands you probably don't - but really should - know.

Child and Family Services Concerts for the Cause, a former Best of NH winner for "Best Socially-Motivated Cultural Event" is staging a reprise of their successful Blues Summit on June 1. It features an exciting line up of artists ranging from Al Kooper to Mighty Sam McClain, and you literally can't go wrong with a CFS concert. They know how to unite excellent music and venues in support of a great mission.

A new kid on the non-profit music event block is the Granite State Music Festival, kicking off June 23 in Concord. This show will perform a number of important deeds - not least of which is to prove that there's enough support to pull off a two-day outdoor music festival featuring mostly local bands. It will also showcase the Capital City's overlooked riverfront (near the Everett Arena), and prove to naysayers that Concord indeed did "get cool while you weren't looking" (the city's new unofficial motto).

Best of all, the festival will provide much-needed funds to the Concord Community Music School. It's one of the largest such schools in the country and just the kind of institution we need to keep the sounds of summer on beat and in tune.

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