Higher Ground in South Burlington, VT hosted a Hug Your Farmer benefit for Pete’s Greens last night that featured a wide range of Vermont-based – or one-time Vermont-based – musicians such as Page McConnell and Jon Fishman of Phish. The goal was to raise money for the organic vegetable farm in Craftsbury within the state’s Northeast Kingdom. Other performers on the bill included TAB keyboardist Ray Paczkowski and drummer Russ Lawton.
[Gov. Shumlin Speech > Stuck In The Middle]
Last night’s benefit featured two sets chock full of classic rock covers. The assembled musicians tipped their collective hats towards The Band with versions of Up On Cripple Creek, The Weight and Ophelia. McConnell and Fishman both joined in for a take on Shakedown Street by the Grateful Dead. Page also lent a hand to a number of other tunes, namely Stealers Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You and The Beatles’ Taxman. Fish’s time on stage included a cover of Whipping Post by the Allman Brothers Band, Crossroads and Old Crow Medicine Show/Bob Dylan’s Wagon Wheel.
Pete’s Greens manager, Amy Skelton, is best known as Phish’s first fan and her subsequent tenure in charge of merch for the band. She was in attendance as was Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who introduced McConnell. Josh Panda of the Josh Panda Band led an ensemble that included Fishman through covers of The Beatles’ Oh! Darling and A Little Help From My Friends. The show ended with most of the musicians who took part as well as the event’s organizers joining in for a singalong of The Beatles’ Hey Jude.