Stick Figure’s Humble Roots – An Ode to Stick Figure, Champlain College, and Their Return to Burlington Vermont

scott woodruff of stick figure playing live at california roots

It may be surprising to hear that one of the most well-known reggae-rock bands in the world right now came from a small town in Massachusetts, but this is where Stick Figure has its roots. Original founding member Scott Woodruff comes from humble beginnings in a place called Duxbury. After high school he attended Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. Like many other people, he was just a kid who loved music and had a dream.

Being a New Englander myself, I remember the immense joy that came from walking around Burlington with friends, sharing drinks, having a blast at house parties, and mellowing out to some of the best vibes on the east coast.

scott woodruff and tj oneill playing live

Burlington is a small city in northern Vermont where the refreshing waters of Lake Champlain turn icy cold in the winter, and the changing colors of fall leaves create some of nature’s finest art. It was here that Scott Woodruff, the music-loving kid from Massachusetts, planted roots that would eventually become one of the biggest bands on the reggae-rock scene.

The Haight-Ashbury of the East

Burlington Vermont is a very special place. As much as I loved bands like Slightly Stoopid, Sublime, and Pepper as a teenager in New England, they all seemed so far away out in California and Hawaii. I found my first real taste of the lifestyles they described in Burlington. This is the town where Phish started, and they largely helped put it on the map.

People are different up there, and I mean that as a real compliment. It has the allure of a small New England town, mixed with a revolution of art, music, and a laid-back lifestyle.Burlington has three different colleges in a small radius. People are youthful and open-minded, wonderful food and drink are abundant, live music spills out of rowdy bars, and everyone seems to truly appreciate the most important things in life – a brilliant mixture of nature, fun, and art weaves its way into everything.

I don’t know if it has ever actually been said, but to me Church Street (aka Church Street Marketplace), one of Burlington’s most famous areas, is like the Haight-Ashbury of the east. People line the streets playing music; street performers draw huge smiling crowds; local stores and vendors setup shop; and the walking-only area attracts all sorts of artists, thinkers, and college kids looking to mellow out.

Meeting Scott at Champlain College

champlain college campus burlington vermont

Champlain College is where I first met Scott Woodruff. I went to school about 3 hours south, but often found myself up in Burlington partying with high school friends. It has to be one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world.

The first-year dorms are restored Victorian era houses, which gives them an amazing rustic feeling, and the main campus sits on a hill near Lake Champlain. The entire area looks like it could be a postcard.

Some of my friends ended up meeting this kid from Duxbury, MA named Scott, who loved playing music. Scott was just a kid having a blast at school. I knew he was into music, but who knew in ten years he’d be traveling the world as the lead singer of one of the biggest bands in reggae-rock?

Champlain College’s picturesque campus, from the bright-green late summers to the burning leaves of fall, was where Scott spent much of his time before bringing his music to California, where he’d eventually make a name for it around the world.

Stick Figure’s Return to Burlington


stick figure band playing live

Saturday, November 12, Scott returns back to his college town to play at the famous Higher Ground venue in Burlington. It’s inspiring and fun seeing a kid who went to college here go on to follow his dreams and play sold-out shows around the world.

Scott and the band built around his music, Stick Figure, have now toured extensively with some of the biggest bands in the scene, like Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution and the Dirty Heads – all bands we looked up to as kids in the northeast. Now, Stick Figure’s returning to town for a headlining gig, playing with The Movement and Build A Machine.

The whole lineup is incredible – The Movement, featuring Josh Swain, Jason “Smiles” Schmidt, Gary Jackson, and Ross Bogan, have a brilliantly powerful, captivating, and mesmerizing sound. They’re currently taking the entire reggae-rock scene by storm.

Build A Machine, a band from Boston, Massachusetts, has played with Fortunate Youth, and recorded a best-selling EP in the sun-drenched desert of Joshua Tree. Their singer Mike Serra also used to play keyboards for The Movement before starting his own band, so there will be some seriously awesome positive energy in the room.

Don’t wait to get tickets for this – it’s one of those shows that if you don’t go to, you’ll look back in ten years and really wish you had. I couldn’t be more psyched for Scott and Stick Figure to come back and celebrate all the beautiful music they’ve spread over the years.

It’s funny, because we tend to look at hugely successful bands as if they were always larger than life, and overlook the struggles they endured to get where they are. For all you artists and musicians out there, Stick Figure was nothing more than a dream in Scott’s head not too long ago.

He kept working hard, made music people loved, and did whatever he could to spread it. Don’t let your dreams stop before they even get started. Believe you can accomplish big things, and then put in the work and effort to make it happen. You will find your spot :)

You can buy tickets to the show at Higher Ground HERE.

stick figure band live at red rocks


Much Love Stick Fam, stoked for the future!

Sincerely, Brendan Clemente and the Hill Kid Fam

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