Sun, snow and Moe.

Festival season poked its head through the clouds on March 26 with the arrival of the Snoe.down winter music and sports festival hosted by Moe., a quirky New York rock band with a loyal and energetic following. The festival, held previous years in the band’s home state in Lake Placid, found a new home in the mountains of Vermont for its 2010 festivities. The festival delighted fans with three days and two nights of mountain-moving musicians, snow-sports, and bluebird skies.

Moe.’s decision to host a winter sports and music festival was an easy one.

“Most of the people who are fans of the band are also especially into winter sports and being outdoors, so it combines the whole thing,” said Vinnie Amico, Moe.’s drummer.

He added, “A basketball tournament maybe not so much, but with winter sports – half the hippies in the world are ski-bums, it’s common ground – music, outdoors, skiing, it seems to be a no-brainer.”

Hundreds of Moe.rons (the endearing name many Moe. fans have given themselves) and ski enthusiasts alike filled Bear Mountain at Killington Ski Resort on March 27. Fans made paces up the hill to check out the free tunes, hiking and catching shuttles from the end of the mile-long trail of cars which lined the road below.

The McLovin’s kicked off the morning with a zesty set at the base of K-1 while Hot Day at the Zoo, a foursome jamming their own blend of “zoo-grass,” rocked Bear Mountain Lodge. Later, Moe. brought the masses outdoors to the main stage at Bear with a funky golden hour set. The snow and ice which had covered the ground earlier in the day, melted quickly with the warm sun and dancing feet.

With the exception of closed toe shoes and winter jackets here and there, the crowd’s colorful clothing and sun-glassed faces were visions of summer. The smiling people appeared to be reeling-in the festival spirit already.

“It’s amazing vibes, amazing energy,” said Liz Shapiro, an avid music-goer from New Hampshire.

Shapiro traveled to Vermont with friends to enjoy some Moe. festivities.

“I mean, I love Moe.” she said, adding that among others, she was also looking forward to seeing Assembly of Dust, who would be opening for Moe. later that evening at Rutland’s Spartan Arena.

As 7 p.m. approached, fans rallied to Rutland, lining up outside the large venue to catch night number two of Moe.

Transformed from a hockey rink into a mini-festival city complete with vendors, the Spartan Arena was packed Saturday night with an enormous crowd, eager for some Moe. Snoe.down marked the first event of its kind at the 2,800-person venue in central Vermont, recently purchased by Castleton State College.

Impressed by the positive turnout of Snoe.down, Scott Dikeman, director of the Spartan Arena, attributed its success to the experienced team who made it happen.

“All the right people were put together,” he said.

Christine Tornello, a Castleton State College student and tech staff member who was contracted by Atomic Pro Audio to work the event along with other Castleton tech staff, was pleased with the turnout. Having worked similar events before, she said her experience working Snoe.down stood out as a positive one.

“I worked a 16-hour day and left at 5 a.m. still smiling,” said Tornello, “That says it all right there!”

But will this be the first of many Snoe.down shows to come?

“Whether they’ll want to come back again next year, that’s up to them at this point, but if they approached us and had an interest, I think there’s no question!” Dikeman said.

“It was a wonderful, creative event for the Rutland area,” said Dave Wolk, president of Castleton State College.

He emphasized the cultural and economic significance of the event to both Rutland and Castleton communities, and to the region as a whole.

“We have the largest, and perhaps the best concert venue in southern Vermont, and we’re going to expand the cultural offerings there because the arena is much more than a hockey rink,” said Wolk.

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