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Summer Free For All!

A FREE, all-ages party of music and movies at the Hop!

In July and August, 2017, three contagiously danceable concerts on the Dartmouth Green and two family-friendly movies on the big Spaulding Auditorium screen were the toast of the town! A Hop Community Venture Initiative program, the Summer Free For All series moved to Wednesdays, allowing concert-goers to enjoy the weekly Hanover Farmer’s Market—and delicious food.

Two years ago, Free for All was developed to support the Hop’s goal of engaging large numbers of community members, particularly those with little or no exposure to Hop programming. The completely free, family-friendly series features three concerts on the Dartmouth Green and two family-friendly films in Spaulding Auditorium and has been wildly successful. Over three summers, approximately 11,500 community members have participated in concerts, films, dance classes and workshops. It has become a College/community partnership, with Dartmouth’s Office of the Provost sponsoring the first concert each year.

Free For All is lowering real and perceived barriers to participation in the arts. We have received strong feedback that it meets our goals of making the Hop more accessible and drawing new people into engagement with the Hop. More than 60% of series attendees surveyed say they have never—or only occasionally—visited the Hop. Said a concert attendee, it’s “refreshing to have events like this in the area…Doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, [people] just come and be themselves.”

Free for All is sponsored by the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation.



The Hop’s Community Venture Initiative (CVI) aims to increase the Upper Valley community’s engagement and access to Hop programming. CVI builds on the Hop’s commitment, over its 50-year history, to community-oriented programs involving a strong network of local organizational partners, as well as on ideas generated by the Hop’s Class Divide Project , a three-year initiative that examined socio-economic class via the arts.
CVI received seed funding from Jane’s Trust with matching support from The Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation, Neda Nobari Foundation, Nini and Rob Meyer, Jenny and Stan Williams, Norwich Partners and Jane and Peter McLaughlin. In addition, the McLaughlins have provided continued support for key programs including Claremont HopStops and the Community Ticket Program.


The 2016 Summer Free for All was a rousing success; see performance highlights from Red Baraat, Sonny Knight & The Lakers and De Temps Antan below.


2016: More than 3,700 people participated. Two concerts were preceded by hands-on, family-friendly workshops featuring an instrument “petting zoo” with the World Music Percussion Ensemble and a makerspace hosted by the Hop’s jewelry and woodworking shops, and Revels North led a pre-concert social dance lesson. Concerts featured Brooklyn-based Indian funk band Red Baraat, retro-soul band Sonny Knight and the Lakers, and Québécois folk band De Temps Antan. Finding Nemo and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory were screened in Spaulding Auditorium.

2015: More than 4,000 people participated. Pre-concert dance lessons were provided on a special outdoor dance floor. Concerts featured Puerto Rican band Plena Libre, Cajun zydeco favorites C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and NYC-based swing band Gordon Webster Septet. The featured films were Toy Story and Mary Poppins .