Vermont Arts Council

Can’t-Miss August Festivals

Given all that our state has been through in the past weeks, it is tempting to push all thoughts of summer festivities from our minds. While recovery efforts are undoubtedly the priority of all of us at the Vermont Arts Council, we want to continue to uplift the arts and cultural events that have been able to continue in less affected communities.  

The Vermont Arts Council’s festivals page features roughly 50 events. Even in a normal summer, with such an abundance of choice, it can be hard to know where to begin. Read on to discover six of Vermont’s most unique upcoming festivals — all still happening this August! 

Man holds up fire torches at parade.
Festivals of Fools 2022. Credit: Kyle Tansley

Festival of Fools

Feeling foolish? You’re not the only one. Whether you’ve listened to Taylor Swift’s “Foolish One” too many times or are taking inspiration from one of Shakespeare’s characters, reclaim the title at this year’s Festival of Fools. This free outdoor event features more than 100 varied performances along Church Street, and is sure to bring a smile to even the most foolish face. 

Where: Burlington 

When: August 4-6, 2023

Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

Do you consider yourself a cinephile? If so, you can’t miss out on the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. Get your passes now to see over 100 films across six screens throughout town. In the meantime, you can warm up for the event with the Sunset Series at the Swift House Inn from August 1-5. 

Where: Middlebury 

When: August 23-27, 2023  


a cartoon with animals playing stringed instruments in the forest
Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival 2023 artwork.

Chamber Music

Good things come in twos — check out not one, but two Vermont-based chamber music festivals happening soon. The Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival takes place in Randolph, while the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival is hosted in the Burlington area. The latter has chosen the theme “Musical Capitals” for this event, with tunes from New York City, Paris, and Vienna. We may be a small state, but we are certainly rich in classical music! 

Where: Randolph / Burlington  

When: August 7-19, 2023 / August 19-27, 2023 


Summer Theater

Whether or not you were a theatre kid, you can always be a theatre adult! Every summer, the Dorset Playhouse hosts a season of professional theatre performances, and this year’s are not to be missed. You still have time to catch Still, a comic tale of two (ex-)lovers; Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson Apt, 2B, a genderbent retelling of the Conan Doyle classic; and The Thanksgiving Play, a satire about a Thanksgiving pageant gone wrong.  

Where: Dorset 

When: From now to September 10, 2023 

a colorful poster of the Dorset playhouse

a poster displaying names of the musicians playing at the Newport Jazz Festival
The Newport Jazz Festival’s 2023 poster.


The Newport Jazz Festival offers smooth sounds like you’ve never heard them before! This annual event, which brands itself as “the granddaddy of American music festivals,” welcomes a star-studded lineup of talented musicians. Tickets are going fast, a testament to the festival’s popularity. Find out what the buzz is about and get yours now before they sell out! 

Where: Newport 

When: August 4-6, 2023 


Bands and Baking

Looking for music with a side of food… or food with a side of music? No matter your preferred portion, you’ll be sure to devour Foodaroo. This year’s event was rescheduled due to bad weather in June, meaning that you’re not too late for a delicious evening, sure to satisfy your craving for local bands and baking contests. 

Where: Middlebury 

When: August 13, 2023 


 Find more Vermont events on our festivals page and our arts calendar.