Small on purpose. It’s about honoring the stage, that one thing. No bar, no kitchen, the stage is the mission.

At this time, each show’s COVID-19 policy is set by the performer… refer to the particular show’s page on this website for details. Respect those who choose to wear masks at shows where they’re not required by giving them six feet of social distance at all times — they have their reasons. Seating will continue to be a minimum of eight feet from the stage, and chairs will be set up in pods of two. If you wish to make a custom seating pod for your party, arrive early and we’ll help you do it. People who have already arrived and have arranged their seating will not be expected to move, and if they’re maintaining a 6-foot boundary that should be respected. This policy may change without notice. The Stage 33 Live crew is vaxxed and boosted and would prefer it if you were too. You should make our newsletter your new friend who lets you know about any substantive changes of any sort, and about upcoming shows.

Stage 33 Live is a welcoming, casual, scrappy but well-mannered, big-hearted, nonprofit listening room in an industrial-rustic former factory with 40 seats, run by chipper upstart adult volunteers on an island in the rural Vermont village of Bellows Falls on the Connecticut River bordering New Hampshire. Only original material written by the performers themselves is allowed, or works from the public domain.

Imagine a state-of-the-art, million-dollar performance center with raked plush seating and a big stage jutting out into the room… got it? That’s not us.

Imagine a sparkly-clean glossy room with cafe tables… that’s not us either.

We’re not a theater, club, bar, restaurant, coffeeshop, bookstore, music store, or anything other than what we are. We’re the middle path between the high quality of a big-bucks music hall minus the swank, and the relaxed comfort of a friendly dive bar minus anything skanky and minus the bar.

Some people are happier in a loud frantic club scene with a cover band or a DJ, and that’s cool. It’s just not what we do.

We started this do-it-yourself project to help local and regional composing musicians and original spoken word presenters find ears and eyes.

Along the way we somehow hit the radars of performers bigger than we are, and some of them ask to come play. They’re welcome as well… their participation gives the project more visibility and ‘legitimacy’, and that helps the people at the real heart of our mission.

We don’t present loads of acts with tons of name recognition. What comes as a surprise to some people, though, is that the ones we do present are usually just as good, and often better, than the biggies. They just haven’t been at it as long, or haven’t made the right connections, or caught the right breaks.

Whoever is on stage, the people who come to our events thrive on discovery and appreciate originality — they’re a rare and special breed.

We record and film all performances and we post them online… attendees not only get to enjoy the what’s happening on the stage, they’re also in a studio audience. The plan is to eventually produce programming for local and regional TV and radio broadcast.

What’s it like? Go to and click on the Shuffle symbol     to get a random sampling of everything ever, from our first days of terrible cameras to our latter days of pretty good ones. (Some YouTube phone apps don’t have a shuffle button, but if you go to the YouTube website instead of the app you’ll find one.)

Like we said, the people who come to our shows aren’t your average bear. We rarely hit capacity. But from time to time we do, so getting advance tickets is never a bad idea. Plus the chairs up front are saved for advance ticket holders. There’s no way to predict what gets traction and what doesn’t. Some shows have pretty good turnout, others don’t.

As a volunteer-run initiative, we don’t do gajillions of shows because we just can’t. We do one every three weeks or so, with summers off. This means that each one we do is special and meaningful.

Although our listening events are informal and friendly, they’re rarely a good environment for squalling babies, ADHD kiddos, or disruptive adults. It’s all about honoring the stage. Cell phones off, pop a lozenge if you’ve got a cough. Don’t talk over the performance. Applaud like crazy though… cheer a great solo, laugh loud at a good joke or groan loud at a bad one. Heck, heckle if it seems appropriate. But honor the stage.

Best way to be in the loop about what and when things are happening is to sign up for the email newsletter.

inside and outside

We don’t solicit performers, everything we host is because somebody reached out to us. If you’re a performer, this means that you shouldn’t wait for an invitation because it won’t come. Take a look at the “For Performers” page and then get in touch if you’re into it. The people in the audience and the people on the stage are both there because they chose to be there for each other. It’s a beautiful symbiosis.

The room has mostly defined itself as an acoustic folk/Americana singer-songwriter place, but we run jazz, pop, spoken word, rock, and more.

We host local, regional, and national professionals and amateurs alike, and we record and film them in the act for a radio/TV/internet program we’re cooking up – the homegrown love child of Tiny Desk Concerts, Ted Talks, Austin City Limits, Science Friday, The Midnight Special, and those old-school PBS performance specials from back before they had all that money, infused with the naive enthusiasm The Little Rascals.

We hit the ground with a couple $50 white-label kiddie-cameras because that’s what we could afford; borrowed microphones, a mixing console we got at an auction for $40 that went dramatically up in smoke an hour before a show, and a pair of fuzzy no-name PA speakers from freecycle. Our first lights were hardware-store white floods in track fixtures that were already there. We’ve come a long way since then.

vintage recording equipment

Share this page:

Run and done by volunteers, stem to stern.
Donations are what keep this thing going.
We squeeze every penny,
and we'd be so happy to squeeze yours. Or drop off cash / checks at any event.
You can surface-mail checks to:
Stage 33 Live (admin)
8-A Atkinson St
Bellows Falls VT 05101

Donated equipment or services are welcome!
Tax deductible to the fullest extent.
Stage 33 Live LTD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, EIN 82-2349941.

Stage 33 Live
voice/text (802) 289-0148
We don't have actual staff to answer.

33 Bridge Street
Bellows Falls VT

8A Atkinson St
Bellows Falls VT 05101