Lost in the sauce

What’s a Salamander Festival? 

Well, Google would have you believe it’s a yearly celebration in the hamlet of Belfountain, Ontario, which features “real live salamanders” and “birds of prey,” hopefully not in the same area. 

Here in Southwest Colorado, however, Salamander Fest is a new, three-day music and arts festival that’s scheduled to kick off July 15. The event, located on a property near Hesperus called “Talking Rocks,” will feature live bands, open jams and DJs, as well as workshops such as yoga, breath work, and yes, a 24/7 drum circle.

 “The whole thing is the spirit of collaboration,” Cy Fontenot, a member of the band Salamander Collective and festival organizer, said. “It’s a celebration of divine flows, and hopefully, we’ll get lost in the sauce together – jamming, dancing, painting, interactive art spaces, fire spinning.” 

Years ago, the Talking Rocks property regularly hosted live music and festivals, like “Roots, Rocks, Equinox,” but those events waned the past couple years. 

In 2021, however, Fontenot and others threw together the first, albeit last-minute, Salamander Fest. Despite the lack of planning time, the event worked out, Fontenot said, with bands playing for free and about 100 people attending. 

This year, Salamander Fest is way more dialed in, Fontenot said. “We have a solid team, everyone knows what they are doing, and it feels really good to be on top of everything,” he said. 

Salamander Fest will have three stages, with more than 50 bands and DJs playing from the afternoon to early morning hours (seriously, there are really too many to name here, so for the lineup, check out the event’s Facebook page at bit.ly/3yZrhKKr or at EventBrite, where you can also buy tickets: bit.ly/3IHMhZF. 

“All the bands are absolutely top-notch,” Fontenot said. “Good musical flow’s gonna happen. We’re just going to jam super hard every night.” 

Fontenot’s own Salamander Collective is scheduled to close out each night (the live band portion), though you won’t see the same musicians, or songs, for that matter. 

“Salamander Collective is an improvisational music-artist collective, with different musicians every time, so you never know who the band is going to be,” he said. “We don’t even have any songs. We just play music. And when everyone is playing what they feel in that moment, it coalesces into a magical experience of interconnected flow.”

 On top of music, there’ll be yoga classes, a tree lounge, interactive art spaces, a fairy forest, circus acts and activities for kids during the day. 

The three-day festival pass costs about $100  and includes free camping on the property. There’ll be a few food vendors, so it’s recommended people bring cash, as well as water, sunscreen and an instrument, and carpool if possible.

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