For good food and music, try the farm

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MANCHESTER — Some might not think a farm the best place for an entertainment venue. Those folks haven't been to Earth Sky Time Farm, just off Main Street.

Visitors to the farm Sunday afternoon had the opportunity to indulge in some old time family fun with a performance by folk duo Hoot and Holler, community square dancing, and wood fired pizza straight from the "bread bus."

The event is one of many put on by the local farm and wood fired bakery, owned by Bonnie and Oliver Levis.

"A high priority for me is trying to have fun on the farm, and bring people from the community here to share music and share what we're doing here," said Oliver Levis. "It's good to share the joy."

"The farm has a lot of resources, and it's great to share them with all of the local people as well as summer folks who come up for hiking and biking and vacation," said Susanna Jivotovski, and employee at Earth Sky Time. "What better thing to do in the summer but come for a concert and check out all of this local food?"

While the food is a big piece of the puzzle at Earth Sky Time, it's the people involved who are at the heart of the farm.

"Our farm has the business side of it with the bakery, commercial kitchen, and organic farm, but people are the most important thing," said Jivotovski. "Having summer events connects the people with the food, and the place, which is what makes it worth it."

"It's not just that we're producing food," said Levis. "We're also a community of our own, while being part of the community at large as well."

As Levis stoked the wood fire inside of the bread bus, the musicians behind Hoot and Holler prepared for just one of the more unique stops on their tour across the Northeast.

"Square dances are traditionally done on farms or at people's houses, so it's all about bringing the community together," said Amy Alvey, a fiddle player. " Being in a pastoral setting like this, it's a great place where people of all ages can come, and it's gorgeous. Why wouldn't you want to play here?"

Alvey is joined by guitarist Mark Kilianski to round out the duo, formed through both musicians' love of American Folk music and Appalachian fiddle tunes.

"Whatever your impression of square dancing is, it's really fun and it's really easy," said Kilianski. "If you have the opportunity, I suggest just giving it a try."

For the musicians, it's the community atmosphere that draws them to square dancing.

"It traditionally was used as a courting dance, and even though that's not necessarily the point of it, it's still a really fun way to meet other people," said Alvey. "It's some good, wholesome family fun, and it's really cool that there are farms like this that open their space for the community."

"The connection you make on the dance floor is something that is lacking in today's society," said Kilianski. "Moving your body and just holding each other in a kinesthetic way is very important."

The farm will continue the fun next Sunday when it welcomes the Venezuelan Afro-Soul band Betsayda Machado y Parranda El Clavo as part of their first international tour."We had a concert here for Memorial Day that drew almost 150 people, so we're hoping that next Sunday is going to be a huge event like that one," said Jivotovski. "The band is from Venezuela on their first international tour ever, which is a pretty big deal."

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the show will start at 5 p.m. with opening duo Dana Hanchard and David Ellenbogen from New York City. The show will continue into the evening with music and dancing led by Betsayda Machado. Once again the crew will fire up the bread bus for some wood fired pizza, and a cash bar will also be offered at the July 23 concert.

Tickets for Betsayda Machado are $15, and can be purchased in advance on Brown Paper Tickets. Visit www.earthskytime.com for our full calendar of events.

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.

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