Jukebox project brings Vermont music to visitors

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(Host) The visitor centers along Vermont’s interstates have long given out information on Vermont destinations and products. Soon, a number of the centers will market another made in Vermont item: music.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) Standing in the Williston visitor center James Lockridge demonstrates how he plans to add music to the list of Vermont products tourists can learn about when they pull off the highway and stop one of the state’s visitor centers.

Lockridge plugs a DVD player into the center’s sound system and inserts a disc with songs by Vermont musicians.

Beginning later this month Vermont visitor centers in Williston and Montpelier will be equipped with DVD players spinning tunes by Vermont musicians. Lockridge calls it the Jukebox Project. Using funds provided by local businesses, Lockridge’s Burlington based non-profit Big Heavy World is providing the equipment and the music. Ultimately Lockridge hopes to have Vermont music playing in all of the state’s twenty information centers. If a visitor hears an artist they like, they can go home and order the CD from Big Heavy World’s online store.

A single DVD can hold hundreds of songs. Lockridge says he’d like to include music by as many Vermont musicians as possible, as long as the recordings are good quality and the songs can pass the ‘grandma test.’

(Lockridge) “We joke, seriously, about how we wouldn’t feel able to include music that would scare a grandma. I think that explicit language is another one of the obvious things we’ll avoid, otherwise there’s no limitation on genre.”

(Zind) Lockridge says half a dozen Jukebox project installations should be up and running by this summer. Steve Cook is the marketing coordinator for the Vermont Information Centers. Cook says the addition of Vermont music fits in with long term efforts to covert rest areas to centers that offer information about all things Vermont.

(Cook) “We’ve truly made that step to being information providing services. I think this is a great example of it by being able to provide information about Vermont arts and Vermont musicians.”

(Zind) Cook says 4.5 million people stop at the information centers annually. James Lockridge says he’s confident many will take notice of the music they hear when they do.

(Lockridge) “It amazes me the diversity of it and the quality of it. I can’t imagine anybody with passion in their arts for the arts. If music has any chance of inspiring them as they’re wandering through life, it has a great chance of happening through this project in relation to Vermont music.”

(Zind) For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

Musicians interested in submitting work to the Jukebox Project can e-mail James Lockridge at musicshop@bigheavyworld.net.

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