Higher Ground has served, for more than a quarter centry, as Burlington’s premiere indoor music venue, a checkmark for bands looking to make their park in the Green Mountain State. Fans who have been able enough to catch a show there know to stay until the show is over, where concert posters are sometimes handed out to lucky fans.
ECHO: A Survey at 25 Years of Sound, Art, and Ink on Paper, a unique art book featuring a collection of concert posters spanning the history of Higher Ground, the legendary music venue located just outside Burlington, VT, was released on April 1st. ECHO is a site to behold for concert poster collectors across the country.
This meticulously designed coffee table book, appearing like a stack of bound silkscreened posters, features the concert posters that have been a staple of Higher Ground and their partnership with acclaimed design firm and nonprofit, Solidarity of Unbridled Labour and Iskra Print Collective.
The book’s intro, written by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, taps into the project quickly.
What coheres in these images is the work of the music and art communities intertwined and invested in each other…Concert posters are as close as one can get to the solid evidence that we all crave—proof that what happens when we create is beyond the scope of the individual work.
With more than 350 original concert posters, all taking place in Vermont – mostly at Higher Ground – the book is snapshot of music history in the Northeast, tracking bands as they progressed around the country, growing in size in many cases, with some moving from the smaller Showcase Lounge to the larger Ballroom space.
The artwork is inviting for any music lover, those who appreciate the art of concert posters, and others who appreciate variety in graphic design.
There are dozens of artists you’ll find inside the pages of ECHO, among them Neil Young, Ice Cube, Norah Jones, My Morning Jacket, Wu Tang Clan, Ween, Sturgill Simpson, Phish, Willie Nelson, Anderson .Paak, and many more. There are also the obscure artists you’ll come across in the pages of the book, those who fit a niche, faded out or otherwise never crossed your radar; the artwork in Echo will have you discovering new music.
Iskra Print Collective, a community space in Burlington that is dedicated to the practice, understanding, and appreciation of the printmaking arts, has held the task of creating silkscreen posters for certain shows at Higher Ground, which are uniquely not available for purchase. These prints evoke the spirit of each artist and band are embodied with bold creativity, and the deep dive into screenprinting found in ECHO is remarkable.
Michael Jager, co-Founder and Creative Director of Solidarity of Unbridled Labour and Co-Founder of Iskra Print Collective, works to conceptualize and realize ideas that help guide and create culture and positive change from within. Working with Ezra Pound’s principle, “Make it new,” through his multi-disciplinary collaboration, Jager has created work for brands including Burton Snowboards, Microsoft’s Xbox, Nike, Levi’s, Phish, MTV, Virgin, Lululemon, Yara, Tomra, Seventh Generation, MasterClass, and Patagonia.
Making the project even more special is all proceeds going directly to Iskra Print Collective.
Nestled inside the pages and pages of artwork inside ECHO are interviews with Alex Crothers, founder and co-owner of Higher Ground.
Crothers shares his unique insight from the past 25 years in his interview, which is echoed in his initial correspondence with Jager, outlining his vision for a partnership between the two.
Crothers opened the venue in 1998 and has produced more than 10,000 events in that span of time. By attracting rising stars as well as legendary musicians, Crothers pushes Higher Ground with core values to create bigger and better things while embracing community, storytelling, and the creative process. Through working with Iskra Print Collective, Higher Ground meets this mission.
ECHO is a must own book for any music-lover or Vermonter, and a must for any concert poster collector. The incredible design of the coffee table book is also the perfect addition to your library. Purchase ECHO here.