Festival frenzy, Firkin Friday and Flashback

Festival frenzy, Firkin Friday and Flashback

The Yawpers don't play the San Juan Brewfest till Aug. 25, but if you want to see them, you better get your tickets now.

Chris Aaland - 05/31/2018

Boats, brews and bands make up this week’s entertainment here in the Southwest. The 35th annual Animas River Days takes place Saturday at Santa Rita Park/Whitewater Park in Durango, with such highlights as slaloms for kayak, canoe and raft, boatercross, SURF/SUP competitions and, of course, the river parade. The latter features a riverside DJ set by Posh Josh. Ska Brewing and Toast Mobile Lounge will be serving adult beverages starting at noon. Find a complete schedule at animasriverdays.com.

The 15th annual Dolores River Festival takes place all day long Saturday at Joe Rowell Park in Dolores. This year’s lineup is heavy on local and regional bands, including Liver Down the River, Buster’s Ghost, The Crags, Elmore’s Corner, Niceness and Hurricane Jake’s One Man Band. Headlining the whole affair is Hollis Brown, an American rock & roll band named after a Bob Dylan song. With roots in Brooklyn, Cleveland and St. Louis, the group has shot into national acclaim through three full-length albums, and EP, and a collaboration with Americana singer/songwriter Nikki Lane.

The festival is much more than simply music. It’s a celebration of the Dolores River, with rafting, river dog competition and more. It is hosted by Greater Dolores Action, a nonprofit organization that generates a sustainable funding source for implementing scientific, restoration and stewardship projects for the Dolores River. It’s also a rare pooch-friendly festival. Well-behaved and leashed dogs are welcome and dog bowls are available for hydrating your mutt.

The Animas City Theatre hosts the 16th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival at 5 p.m. tonight (Thurs., May 31). Animas River Days and San Juan Citizens Alliance present the event, which celebrates the Animas River and the 50-year anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act with films, prizes, food and drink.

Another month has rolled by, meaning it’s time for another Firkin Friday at Steamworks. This month is Ameri-Ken Ginger Warrior, which gets tapped at 3 p.m. Friday. Ameri-Ken is based in Steamworks’ popular Colorado Ko?lsch, a light and crisp ale that features a hint of fruitiness. “We’ve then made a tea of some great healthy components: green tea, ginger, lemongrass and lemon peel and zest,” Director of Brewing Ken Martin said. “The result should be a blend of equal parts of all those ingredients with no one ingredient taking center stage, but rather a satisfying concoction of subtleties.” Because of the green tea, the beer actually does contain some caffeine.

It’s never too early to get San Juan Brewfest tickets. The 20th annual event, slated for Aug. 25 in Buckley Park, will go on sale at 10 a.m. this Friday at sanjuanbrewfest.com. Billed as the largest beer festival in the Four Corners, San Juan Brewfest will feature 51 breweries from throughout the country, as well as all six of Durango’s breweries. The musical headliner is one of my favorite up-and-coming alt-country bands, the Yawpers, who blend punk energy with high-test twang. “We’ve sold out four years in a row, so we’re trying to encourage folks to not wait until the day of the event,” said Tim Walsworth, executive director of

the Durango Business Improvement District (BID), which is assisting in the event coordination. Proceeds benefit the United way of Southwest Colorado. Three ticket types are available: VIP ($75), General Admission ($35) and Designated Driver ($20). The event is a 21-and-older affair, and nobody under 21 – including infants – will be admitted. Dogs are also strictly taboo at Brewfest.

Speaking of beerfests, the 2018 Colorado Burning Can Fest at the Lyons Outdoor Games takes place this Friday and Saturday in Lyons. The event com-

bines adventure, beer, music and camping, nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains in a natural playground for runners, riders, kayakers, dogs and climbers. Over 70 craft breweries and 250 beers will be on tap. Saturday night’s three-band affair is headlined by alt-country pioneers Son Volt, with the Sheepdogs and Mo Lowda & the Humble also on the bill.

Down in the Land of Enchantment, all the hippie tribes are gathering for Music on the Mothership Friday through Sunday on the grounds of Taos Mesa Brewing and Hotel Luna Mystica, 8 miles from the town of Taos. The event features a veritable Who’s Who of the jam band universe, including moe., Railroad Earth, the Infamous Stringdusters, Fruition, and Melvin Seals & JGB. The undercard features a lot of artists familiar to local bluegrass and jam fans, including the Lil Smokies, Rapidgrass and our own Liver Down the River.

If you’re one of those luddites who still likes purchasing tickets the old-fashioned way, take note of the Community Concert Hall’s new hours of operations for its downtown ticket office at the corner of 8th & Main. Starting Monday, the new hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 12 noon - 6 p.m. The on-campus box office will continue to be open on the day of show, one hour prior to performance time through intermission. “Since my arrival in 2009, our online ticket sales have grown from about 25 percent to almost 90 percent of our total sales,” concert Hall Director Charles Leslie said. “In our busy world, the convenience of being able to purchase tickets 24 hours a day, seven days a week online is now clearly preferred by our patrons.”

The best thing I’ve heard this week is the debut record from Flashback, a new bluegrass supergroup that features four seasoned festival and recording veterans. Don Rigsby (mandolin), Richard Bennett (guitar), Curt Chapman (bass) and Stuart Wyrick (banjo) are past members of J.D. Crowe & the New South, Longview and the Lonesome River Band, among others. Pinecastle Records – a traditional bluegrass label that formed in 1989 and has been home to such acts as Dale Ann Bradley, BlueRidge, Jesse McReynolds and Special Consensus – released the project, giving it immediate street cred with fans of that high and lonesome sound. Titled “Denver Snow” after one of Bennett’s contributions, it mixes original material with covers of traditional bluegrass fare by the Osborne Brothers and Larry Rice. Highlights include Flashback’s take on Jimmie Buchanan’s “Moonshine,” Bill Emerson’s “Cowboys and Indians” and Don Robertson’s “Born to Be With You.” It’s an old-time bluegrass throwdown.

Drop me in the water? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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