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Higher Ground celebrates 15 years - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Higher Ground celebrates 15 years

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Big sounds-- in a small space. It's another night at Higher Ground.

Reporter Gina Bullard: Why does Vermont need a place like Higher Ground?

Kevin Statesir/Higher Ground: It's a place not only to hear music you love, but to get together with friends and family and share that experience with other people.

From drag balls to world class acts to up and coming bands, the space hosts more than 300 shows a year. Higher Ground has found its groove, this year marking 15 years of putting music center stage.

Kevin Statesir is one of the founders. He says it was an invention of necessity, with really no other music venue in the state. It all began in Winooski.

"That was more of a corner bar that had good music; this became a venue," Statesir said.

In 2004, Winooski redeveloped its downtown; buildings were torn down, forcing Higher Ground to find a new home.

"We thought that was it, that higher ground had run its course. We had a successful run; we were very happy about it," Statesir said.

But that wasn't the final note, the music venue moved to South Burlington to the old Showcase Theater.

"What we thought was a losing and an ending suddenly became a run for the roses," Statesir said.

In the new, bigger space, Higher Ground was able to expand, get bigger bands, new technology and create better shows, not to mention add jobs-- currently there are 70 people on the payroll.

"It's an intimate venue. A lot of times we'll have a band the next night playing in a large venue or arena. We're lucky because where we are. They play Boston and they're going to Montreal, they needed somewhere in between and we're able to get them," Statesir explained.

"So many generations of people have great memories of coming here," said Nick Ferguston of Milton.

"In a town this size to have a venue of this caliber-- I don't think people realize how lucky we are to have this type of room here," said Andre Maquera, a musician.

"It's really big sounds, great, the people are nice," said Wyatt Owens, a UVM student.

"There's been so many different kinds of music that have attracted so many people and that was our goal. And we've been really true to our mission," Statesir said.

Celebrating 15 years, 5,000 shows and countless memorable musical nights.

"Sometimes I wonder how we did it," Statesir said.

Friday night Higher Ground will celebrate 15 years with Grateful Dead sessions.

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