Heavyfest Music Festival Returns to Magic Hat with Gang of Thieves; Dwight & Nicole; Michelle Sarah Band; Jimkata; and Casio Bastard, May 21

Press Release by Magic Hat.

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South Burlington, VT – The Magic Hat Brewing Company’s annual outdoor festival – Heavyfest – is returning to rock its brewery grounds on Saturday, May 21st, from 1-6pm. Now in its sixth year, Heavyfest serves as a benefit for local music-based non-profit Big Heavy World. Beer and music fans from all corners of the earth are invited to join the brewer for a full afternoon of live music, an outdoor beer garden, live art, brewer-led tours and much more.

A $5 donation to Big Heavy World gets revelers through the gates where they will experience Five fabulous bands, including Gang of Thieves, Dwight and Nicole, Michelle Sarah Band, Jimkata, and Casio Bastard. As soon as the first note drops, so too does the first beer from the outdoor beer garden, featuring Magic Hat’s year-round offerings, current seasonals and some special batches brewed just for Heavyfest. Proceeds from the beer garden will benefit Big Heavy World.

A live art expo with local artists Jason Tooth will be in effect, while the esteemed food truck foodsmiths from Taco Truck All-Stars and Dolce VT serve their finest eats. Free brewer-led tours will also be offered at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5pm.

Heavyfest 6 would not be possible without the generous support from its sponsors: Halogen, Big Heavy World, 99.9 The Buzz, 106.7 WIZN, Seven Days, Avalon Tent Company and Advance Music.

Experience a Performance in Every Bottle with the Magic Hat Brewing Company & Performing Arts Center, creators of #9®, Electric Peel®, Low Key, Circus Boy® and a revolving roster of seasonal and small-batch selections.

Gang of Thieves

Gang of Thieves


Gang of Thieves is stealing back the spirit of American rock n roll! The Burlington, Vermont based funky rock and roll band Gang of Thieves has been touring non stop up and down the east coast, bringing with them a whole new breed of funky rock and roll to audiences of all ages. High energy and a good time is the hallmark of these Green Mountain rockers. Their original music is a stew of influences ranging from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime to Rage Against the Machine and Led Zeppelin. The key to this universal appeal is the infectious sense of fun and showmanship, delivered with a hint of spiritual and political awareness. The band has been working tirelessly on brand new music for their upcoming album, to be recorded and produced by Steve Jankowski (Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago). They will be playing tons of new materiel at all their upcoming shows, make sure to catch them in a city near you!

“Infectious grooves...These hard working, Burlington-based musicians entranced the audience with their high-energy onslaught of funk/rock tunes...an amazing show” - Cider Mag

“You know how Funkadelic kind of specializes in baby-making music?...Well, Gang of Thieves dips into that groovin’ baby-making sound...without even thinking about it, you’re shaking whatever booty you got.” - Incognito Music Magazine


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Dwight & Nicole

Dwight & Nicole


Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Dwight Ritcher along with BMA Female Vocalist of the Year Nicole Nelson make up the critically acclaimed indie-soul band Dwight & Nicole. Their recent single “I Need Love” was named one of the top 100 Songs of the Year by the Boston Herald, and Nelson was coined “The Voice of Vermont" in a cover story printed about her in the Burlington Free Press. She then went on to receive major accolades with her haunting version of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah,” which became a nationwide hit at #24 on the iTunes pop charts.

In the summer of 2015, before a pin-drop silent crowd of over 5,000 at Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign kick-off, Nicole sang a gorgeous rendition of “God Bless America.” It was an unforgettable performance that left the crowd completely stunned. 2015 ended on a very high note with a string of sold-out concerts up and down the East Coast; nominations for “Best Vocalist in Vermont,” “Best in State – Vermont,” and “Band of the Year” by the New England Music Awards. In January 2016, Dwight & Nicole spent a magical afternoon at Burlington's Signal Kitchen with friends and fellow VT act Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band to record a historic version of Woody Guthrie's “This Land is Your Land.” In its first week alone it has reached hundreds of thousands of people who have been floored by the unadulterated talent. The heartfelt rendition has garnered nearly 500,000 views online in a matter of just a few days, quickly becoming an exciting break out song for the artists involved, and for the Bernie campaign.

While the duo is already well known in the Northeast, 2016 finds them poised to break nationally with a new album in the works to be recorded in a secluded studio setting, just outside of Burlington. They will be playing live directly to tape, capturing the unique intimacy, serious chops, and raw power that their fans have come to know and love.

“There are good voices and then there are great voices. Nicole Nelson is definitely the latter.” –Christina Aguilera, The Voice

“Take R&B, soul, blues and jazz, mix in razor-sharp rock guitar (Dwight), a soulful, joyful, foot-stomping, happy-to-be-alive stage energy (Nicole), heat to boiling, and watch your face melt. That's Dwight & Nicole.” –Mathew Shelter, Relix Magazine


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Michelle Sarah Band

Michelle Sarah Band


The Michelle Sarah Band is a soulful funk group out of Burlington, VT. The band is led by Canadian born singer/songwriter, Michelle Sarah, who comes with a colorful history of travel and adventure. Growing up in Guyana South America, in 1998 the States became the third country she called home. It was in 2012 that Michelle made her move out of Philadelphia to pursue putting this, her own project, together. “I had worked in so many studios, on so many tours, singing back-ups, arranging vocals for others albums; it was really due timing to focus on my own music. The decision really felt good, but I knew I was taking a pretty big chance on myself.”

In the years since her mover, Michelle has been seen on stages with acts like Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers Band, Govmt Mule), Billy Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead), Trombone Shorty, The New Mastersounds, and many many more; she’s made believers out of audiences at festivals like Bonnarroo, Jam Cruise, Bear Creek, Gathering of the Vibes, and in sets during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals, and more. Vermont’s Seven Days calls Michelle Sarah band “Soul food… with a sly, bring-the-party stage presence and impressive powerhouse pipes! Matchless!”

“Vocals that could bring sunshine out in the rain… “ – Philadelphia Weekly

“Her soulful range drew to mind Susan Tedeschi and Grace Potter but her dance moves and connection with the audience made her more accessible…” – Music Marauders

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Jimkata is a nationally touring electro-rock band blending heavy beats, synthy hooks, big guitars, and profound lyricism. Their music starts parties and inspires reflection, seamlessly molding electronic and natural instrumentation into a sound with its own soul.


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Casio Bastard

Casio Bastard


Casio Bastard is a Funk | Fusion | Space group that has been performing throughout Vermont including multiple appearences at Magic Hat Heavy Fest, Festivus, and performances with The Breakfast, KungFu, The Budous Band, Rustic Overtones, Heloise and the Savior Faire, and Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band. The band continues to morph between rock, fusion, funk, and space.

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