Jamboree, rivers and men with meat

by Lindsay Nelson

It’s a common refrain in the mountains in the summer – so much to do, so little time. Far from being endless, our summers are short and so by their very nature are quickly jam-packed with ritual celebrations of summer such as high-country camping and fishing, weekends at the lake, backyard barbecues and dodging slow-walkers along Main Avenue sidewalks. So little time to get a suntan; even less time to get our money’s worth out of that tent, kayak and portable latrine seat we bought in December. It’s a time when jobs are a real drag and many of us daydream about seasonal work or maybe just living off our 401(k) for a couple of years – OK, maybe six months. It’s a good problem to have, though. And this weekend, the first in June, illustrates the challenge precisely. Three festival events in one weekend, plus a popular charitable event and the usual afternoon/evening music shows and parties make for some tough choices.

Starting Friday night and running through the weekend is the first annual Silverton Jamboree, an all-volunteer, nonprofit celebration of live music, community involvement and family fun. Those among us who remember and mourn the loss of the Silverton Jubilee, which died tragically at age 18, have high hopes for this new and possibly improved high-mountain music festival. The new festival owes its birth to a small group of community-minded music lovers in Silverton who sought some way to resurrect the tradition of the Jubilee after its untimely demise last year. The Silverton Jamboree was born out of a chance alliance of such like-minded folks, and the effort really got off the ground thanks to a sizeable donation from the late Mac McCormick, who died unexpectedly last year, and to whom the festival is dedicated.

Roger Cottingham, a member of the Jamboree Board of Directors, offered some insight into the mission of the festival. The first tenet of their philosophy emphasizes strong community involvement: “We did this by getting info out to the community, setting up the ‘juke joint’ scenarios to include businesses, and giving locals every opportunity to secure vendors booths at the festival. We set up a day (Sunday) with entertainment for all ages so that the entire community can feel comfortable coming down to enjoy the day. We also donated informational booth space to the Chamber of Commerce, the Theatre Group, and the Mountain Studies Institute so that festival goers have the opportunity to discover more about Silverton and the surrounding area.” Supporting diversity in music is their second goal, Roger said. “We wanted to present an eclectic selection of music so that we didn’t get pigeonholed into a specific genre of concert. One of our ultimate goals is to have someone come for a specific band (or genre of music) and leave excited by another band (or genre) they may not have heard before.”

To that end, Saturday’s lineup starts with local Western garage rock favorites Lawn Chair Kings, followed at 12:30 p.m. by Sisters Morales, a sisterly duo with Mexican roots coming to us from Texas by way of Arizona with music that reflects all of those influences and highlights their dynamic harmonies and songwriting skills. Three o’clock is “Mac Hour,” and the indie-ska-punk-party band Warsaw takes the stage. There’s no defined headliner for the day, but the Derailers are probably the best-known band to grace the lineup, with their celebrated fusion of “classic country beats and a ’60s pop sensibility.” Their 2006 record, “Soldiers of Love,” showcased the band’s range, taking the best of the

The Derailers

honky-tonk dancehall and crash-melding it with classic rock ’n’ roll influences and some darn near perfect Country & Western songwriting. Between these guys and Warsaw, you’re liable to get mighty thirsty and sore-footed. But save some energy for the closing act of the night: The Lee Boys offer something most of us likely haven’t heard before: an African-American sacred steel ensemble. “Sacred steel is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in gospel but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations,” according to the band’s website.

There’s lots more going on at the Jamboree, including the Saturday night juke joints, wherein three different bands playing the festival will perform at downtown Silverton bars after the tent shows end. Sunday offers an eclectic array of music, entertainment and Bloody Mary drinking to finish the weekend. Vehicle camping passes are only $7, and festival passes are the cheapest you’ll find all year. Hope to see you there – let’s hope for warmish weather, good campfires and one heckuva good time to start the summer.

As for the other events that make it tough to choose just what to do, both the Animas River Days and Dolores River Festival fall on this weekend. All day Saturday in Dolores, the river festival is a free event featuring scads of live music by a diverse array of bands from all over the West. At Joe Rowell Park, catch The Lindells, The Dirty Novels, 8traC, Staboola McPet Quintet and The Beautiful Losers, among others. Other events of the day include raft rides, kids’ games and other water-related fun. And in Durango, Animas River Days begins Friday evening with the river parade, and continues through Sunday, with more of an emphasis of water activities such as races, fly-tying and the like.

One more stop on the busy weekend is the annual and highly sought-after Men Who Grill fund-raising event for the Women’s Resource Center. This year, $15 gets you all-you-can-eat access to heaps of excellent food and cold beverages. Local bluegrass band The Badly Bent will, according to organizers, “provide the perfect backdrop to men in silly costumes grilling god-knows-what … and, this event is cheaper and offers more food with fewer lines than the Taste of Durango.” If you’re sticking in town this weekend, Men Who Grill is the place to be. All proceeds benefit WRC and its programs for women and girls in La Plata County. It starts at 11:30 a.m. and runs ‘til 2:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of Main Avenue.

No reason to be bored this weekend, even if you’re broke and out of shape. And that is a truly beautiful thing. Lindsay_damico@yahoo.com.




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