Festination, Men Who Grill and Old Style

Men Who Grill takes place this Saturday afternoon in Buckley Park

by Chris Aaland

If you can’t get off your butt this weekend, there’s no hope for you. Various festivals take place right here in D-town, as well as an hour or so in all four directions.

The second annual Folk’n Bluegrass Festival happens Friday through Sunday on Reservoir Hill in Pagosa Springs. You already know about the Infamous Stringdusters, Tony Furtado, Sweet Sunny South and the Badly Bent, all of whom are longtime Durango favorites. I’m looking forward to Jeff & Vida, the quintessential New Orleans roots band that was uprooted by Katrina and relocated to Nashville. Their new rockabilly-inspired outfit features Colorado musicians Jake Shepps (banjo), Justin Hoffenberg (fiddle), Will Downes (bass) and Greg Schochet (on whatever the hell he wants to play). The gypsy jazz and swing of the John Jorgensen Quintet and the Belleville Outfit also can’t be missed.

The 33rd annual Telluride Jazz Celebration runs Friday through Sunday in Town Park. Just as jazz is an expansive and inclusive genre, Telluride Jazz is an eclectic gathering. Jazz traditionalists like vocalist Lizz Wright and guitarist Bill Frisell are joined by a lineup that includes the funky Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, the Latin, hip-hop and rock of Ozomatli, Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring and the traditional New Orleans marches of the Rebirth Brass Band, among others.

The Men Who Grill event returns to Main Ave. in front of Buckley Park, from 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Saturday. This event raises nearly $10,000 each year for the Women’s Resource Center. Teams of grill guys get together to sear beef, pork, chicken, seafood, wild game, vegetables, fruits and desserts. Nothing goes better with barbecue than beer and blues, so it’s a good thing that Ska Brewing and the Kirk James Blues Band will be on hand.

The Dolores River Festival takes place all day long at Joe Rowell Park in Dolores on Saturday. Live music includes Lubriphonic, Trevor Green, Zonky Tonk Zydeco, Brent Berry Band, Roscoe and other local bands. There are also free raft rides, a kayak race, river parade, the Fabulous Flying Femmes Circus, children’s music and crafts, food, vendors and more.

Ever drive into Aztec and see that All-American City 1963 sign? You can’t miss it. Fiesta Days in Aztec is a four-day event that even Norman Rockwell would be proud of, running today (Thursday) through Sunday. In addition to highlights like the “Burning of Old Man Gloom” and Syd Masters and the Swing Riders singing the official New Mexico state song, “Under New Mexican Skies,” this hoedown includes pet parades, ice cream socials, skateboard exhibitions, mini prince and princess contests, car shows, food, arts & crafts and live music.

Spotlight to Stardom returns to the Community Concert Hall at 7 p.m. Sunday. This annual event gives local musicians and dancers the chance to showcase their talent and win cash prizes, professional advice in management, booking and publicity, studio time at Eagle Sound and an on-air appearance at KSUT. Contestants in the adult category include local rock bands Elder, the Hounds of Purg and Playing in Traffic, country vocalist Casey Marie DePue, contemporary dancer Tori Duhaime, vocalist Ashley Edwards accompanied by guitarist Glen Canale, jazz vocalist Nate Mayfield accompanied by Lee Bartley and Chad

Jeff Strahan took in the best of Texas music growing up just outside of Lubbock. Tejano, Western swing, outlaw country songwriters like Joe Ely, bluesmen like Albert Collins and Bugs Henderson and rockers like ZZ Top and Ted Nugent were regulars at local bars and the National Guard armory. Strahan’s guitar-driven, country/blues/rock sound calls on all of those influences. Joined by opening act the Hounds of Purg, Strahan plays the Abbey on Friday.

Atlanta-based Entropy brings the funk to the Summit tonight. This quartet has shared the stage with the likes of George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Sound Tribe Sector Nine and more.

Fort Collins jam band Good Gravy takes its primary influence — bluegrass — and flavors it with electronica, funk, reggae, hip-hop, jazz and Latin. The quintet plays the Summit on Saturday.

Other Summit events this week include a First Friday celebration with AWOL One, Project One, the Shapeshifters, DJ Mowgli and Live Art; plus a Sunday bill that includes Dr. Israel with Apostle Patch, Artikle and DJ I-Gene.

This week’s lineup at the Starlight features Salsa night with Twelfth Night at 8 p.m. tonight, FAC with Kentucky Deluxe at 6 p.m. Friday, live music by the Good Neighbors at 9 p.m. Saturday, world music with DJ X and Maize on Sunday, and Eric Keifer of Aftergrass at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Durango DOT Comedy performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Durango Arts Center. As always, this improvisational comedy troupe creates comedic scenes from audience suggestions.

High Altitude Blues plays the Derailed Saloon at 7 p.m. tonight and El Patio at 5 p.m. Saturday.

In support of the annual Steamworks Animas Valley Half-Marathon, the brewery and Star Liquors are teaming up to raise money for the Marc Witkes Scholarship, which is presented annually to a Four Corners cross country runner who attends Fort Lewis College. Star Liquors has chosen Steamworks’ brews as its “Beer of the Month.” As such, 50 cents from the sale of each Steamworks 6-pack, 12-pack and 22-oz. bomber at Star Liquors this June will go toward the scholarship. Witkes, a former Durango Herald running columnist, died in 2006 less than 300 yards from the finish line of the Tucson Marathon. Kudos to Steamworks’ Kris Oyler and Star Liquors’ Stan Crapo for their efforts. The half-marathon itself takes place Sat., June 20.

Here are five favorite varieties of suds I’m packing to Folk’n Bluegrass this weekend:

- Carvers Celebrated Razzy Wheat. Gimme a frosty glass and a lemon.

- Ska Mexican Logger: Screw Bud Light Lime. The Logger is the official beer of summer.

- Steamworks Third Eye Pale Ale: Now in cans!

- Durango Blueberry Wheat: It actually goes well at breakfast with blueberry pancakes.

- Old Style: The Chicago classic is finally available locally. Sometimes quantity must surpass quality. •

Today it rained at the bluegrass fester? E-mail me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

 

 

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