Music on a September Night at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook
Gilford may not be a glamourously named town but its positioning as part of the Lakes Region gives it some street cred, as does the fact that it houses the premier outdoor music venue in NH: the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook. I don’t say that in jest; Meadowbrook has been nominated by the Academy of Country Music four times as “Music Venue of the Year.” And there’s good reason for that, especially after the multi-million dollar facelift that Meadowbrook received before opening for the 2013 season, which included increasing capacity from 6,000 to 8,000, installing more restrooms (some of the best-smelling concert bathrooms I’ve been in, no lie!) and extending the pavilion roof to cover more of the seating area, which has come in handy during this overly rainy season.
Meadowbrook also draws some impressive acts like John Mayer, Trace Adkins, The Black Crowes, Journey, Def Leppard, and the Zac Brown Band, which had two sold-out shows this summer, one of which my boyfriend and I attended in July. Out of the list of things that Meadowbrook has going for it, what impressed me the most is the video feed. Two towering screens flank the stage, giving the general admission lawn seats on the hill in the back an opportunity to see what’s actually going on. And the production is top-notch. You would think you are watching a concert DVD that the band produced and is selling alongside their T-shirts, not the live camera work of the men in black gliding around the stage.
Expecting to sit in a line of traffic on our way in, my boyfriend and I hit up Sawyer’s Dairy Bar, which is on Lakeshore Road at the Meadowbrook Lane intersection. Sawyer’s offers your typical order-at-the-window burger and fried seafood fare, except that the ice cream windows are outside and the food window is inside, offering diners a break from the heat. Seating options are numerous with a number of booths inside, picnic tables outside and a big white tent with more tables outside. Although sitting in the a/c was tempting, our plan to eat takeout in the car while inching into the venue worked flawlessly.
By the time this piece comes out, you might have the opportunity to catch the last two shows on the docket at Meadowbrook before they close for the summer: Ke$ha on August 31 and Brantley Gilbert on September 6. Don’t miss the ever-popular cowboy hat booth where you can observe people impulse-buying cowboy hats that they won’t know what to do with come morning. Case in point: me. But in my defense, my boyfriend said it looked sexy, so what’s a girl to do?
Take my advice and slip out at the end of the first song of the encore and zoom over to Patrick’s Pub, which is two minutes away on Weirs Road. You can continue the fun while you wait out the concert traffic.