After more than a year of hosting local and traveling acts on a small stage at the back of their Main Street storefront, Roots and Tendrils owners Meg and Bub Fournier tested the waters on a larger stage Nov. 4, sponsoring a concert by Emilia Dahlin and Putnam Smith at the Colonial Theatre.

The idea was spawned partly from the Free Range Music Festival, the daylong multi-venue event in April that the Fourniers helped to organize. The festival program incorporated a number of acts that had performed at Roots and Tendrils at one time or another, and the Colonial Theatre was among the half-dozen venues, ranging from art galleries to the public library and the American Legion Hall.

At that time, some relatively unknown acts played on the big stage of the Colonial’s Dreamland theater, often to a packed house, as attendees of the sold out festival traveled from venue to venue checking out the offerings.

But there would be no such captive audience for a standalone concert, and Meg Fournier said that required more careful planning than has been necessary for either the festival or the regular shows at Roots and Tendrils.

“But that’s always in the back of our minds,” she said. “Because we don’t have a college in town, so we can’t depend on a young audience to make a show.”

Fournier had been in conversation with the manager for Emilia Dahlin, and the Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter seemed like a good act for the Colonial show because she had the potential to appeal to a wide audience.

Dahlin is well known in certain parts of the state and her music — folk and jazz-inspired songs and storytelling, accompanied by acoustic guitar and upright bass — runs the gamut from tender ballads to silly songs. The other act on the bill, Putnam Smith, who sings and plays mandolin and banjo, also has a following in the area.

Fournier’s suspicions were borne out at the concert. Despite heavy rains, the house was at least half full and the audience included people of all ages, including some babies. Fournier said advance ticket sales indicated there might have been a larger crowd if the weather had been better.

The Colonial Theatre has played host to a number of live acts over the years, from the Vaudeville Review to concerts during the New Year’s by the Bay Celebration and the short-lived Comic Arts Festival. Owner Mike Hurley said the venue, which dates to an era when both movies and vaudville acts were popular, is not ideally set up for bands loading in an out, but it is among the larger venues in the city.

He credited the Fourniers with having their finger on the pulse of a vibrant homegrown music scene, and said he is open to future concerts.

“There’s so many people out there really working in terms of music,” he said. “You saw it at the Free Range Music Festival, and I’m sure you’ll see it again this coming April. It’s really a big deal.”

Meg Fournier said there are no set plans for future concerts at the Colonial, but she is open to collaborations with other venues as the occasion arises. The Free Range Festival, scheduled for April 30, 2011, is also in the early planning stages, she said.

“The Colonial is such a nice space,” she said. “… It was an experiment. We had a good time … As bigger names approach us, it’s definitely nice to know it’s an option.”