When savvy Vermont travelers say they're headed for Higher Ground, they're not talking about the state's famed ski peaks. Higher Ground is an excellent, mid-size music venue tucked behind Quiznos and Dunkin Donuts in South Burlington, Vermont.
The club actually houses two separate rooms. The smaller Showcase Lounge (capacity 300) and larger Ballroom (capacity 600) sometimes run two completely different events at the same time.
Tickets are sold separately for each event. When we visited, there was some confusion near the entrance to the club: Lines for will call, ticket purchases, over 21 wristbands and entrance to each room were not well marked. Security guards are readily available, however, to assist concert-goers.
The Ballroom is a fairly typical, open standing room area with decorative chandeliers. Two full-service bars, one to the left of the room and one at the back, offer cocktails, wine and a diverse selection of beer. The bar tops are made from recovered materials: former bowling alley lanes.
The spacious Ballroom stage at Higher Ground accommodates headline acts like Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Drive-By Truckers, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and Reel Big Fish. This fairly new venue is well designed, and the sound quality is above average.
Higher Ground offers a full menu, prepared on-site by Encore Catering, which is available from the time the doors open until late in the evening.
There are not, however, any tables or many places to sit down. There are about 20 stools available along a railing in the elevated rear bar area. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis and attended by a cocktail waitress. They are a nice place to see the show. If you prefer to have your own space, they are probably worth arriving early to secure.
Higher Ground does not offer a side room, outside bar or pool tables, so plan ahead. If you know that you are not interested in the opening act or acts, you may want to arrive a little later (unless you are after one of those prized stools). You are stuck in the main space once you are inside the venue: No re-entry is permitted.
Higher Ground at a Glance:
Address: 1214 Williston Road, South Burlington, Vermont 05403
On the Web: Higher Ground
Where to Stay: The Best Western Plus Windjammer Inn (book direct), located a five-minute walk from Higher Ground, is an ideal choice. Compare rates and reviews for other South Burlington, Vermont, hotels near Higher Ground with TripAdvisor.
Ages: Most shows are all ages.
Seating: Most Higher Ground shows are open standing room (no seats). Comedy shows have seating.
Parking: Free but somewhat limited parking is available in front and in a lot next to the music venue (Silver Palace side of the building). Do not park in Lee Zachary's parking lot, or you risk being towed.
Food: A full menu is available; tables are not.
Drink: Full bar.
Higher Ground Concert Schedule: View a schedule of upcoming shows online at the Higher Ground Web site.
Tickets: Purchase tickets online or by calling 802-652-0777 or toll free, 877-987-6487.
Directions: Higher Ground is located off Interstate 89 at Exit 14E. Exit 14E (South Burlington) will put you on Route 2 East (Williston Road). Continue along Williston Road for 1/4 mile; Higher Ground is on the left. You'll see the marquee from the road.