Celebrating the creative power of the concert poster

To mark its 25th anniversary, Vermont venue Higher Ground has released a book which delves into its rich history of one-off concert poster designs

Creating an iconic concert poster is a tough brief for any designer. Tasked with taking the fleeting experience of live music and turning it into something tangible, a great poster design has the power to transport you back to the moment you saw your favourite artist perform.

Echo is a new book from Vermont-based music venue Higher Ground that seeks to demonstrate just how that creative magic is captured, featuring a collection of over 350 concert posters which celebrate the intersection of art and music.

Kamasi Washington
Busta Rhymes

Over the last 25 years, Higher Ground has built a reputation for identifying and attracting both rising stars as well as musical legends, often putting on more than 600 events a year.

The venue also has a rich design history, thanks to its two-decade-long collaboration with local design studio Solidarity of Unbridled Labour’s founder, Michael Jager, and his community space Iskra Print Collective.

St Vincent
Cat Power

Over the years, the design studio has created hundreds of striking silkscreen posters for shows at the venue, promoting artists as varied as Bob Dylan, Wu Tang Clan and Bon Iver. Unlike your typical concert poster though, the studio’s creations aren’t for sale. Instead, copies of the posters are handed out for free to a few lucky fans that stay until the final curtain.

The book is designed to look like a stack of silkscreened posters bound into a book. Inside its pages, readers will find interviews with Jager himself and Alex Crothers, founder and co-owner of Higher Ground, along with anecdotes on individual posters and a deep dive into the art of silkscreen printing.

Wu-Tang Clan

As well as being a celebration of the 25-year creative partnership between client and designer, all proceeds from the book will support the non-profit Iskra Print Collective, which is dedicated to the practice, understanding, and appreciation of printmaking arts.

In the book’s introduction, Grammy Award-winning Wilco front man and solo artist, Jeff Tweedy, writes: “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.”

Echo: A Survey at 25 Years of Sound, Art, and Ink on Paper is published by Higher Ground