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January 6, 2012
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Avon music festival's lineup 'reaches farther'

Somewhere around 75 bands will perform in Avon just under two months from now when SnowBall returns to Nottingham Lake.

Since Nov. 30, festival organizers have been announcing two names each week day morning via Twitter and Facebook.

The three big headliners-announced thus far are New York Indie rockers TV on the Radio, English Dubstep DJ Rusko and Bassnectar, a repeat from the 2011 lineup who will close this year's festival with a Sunday night show.

We got the exclusive scoop on Friday's big addition: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., an American Indie pop band from Detroit that's set to play at the Ogden Theatre in Denver Jan. 15.

"This band just had a huge year in 2011 and it is a big, big addition," said Chip Herter, the festival's public relations manager.

There's a slew of other bands that might interest you too, depending on your taste: Ghostland Observatory, Big Boy, Deer Tick, Major Lazer, The Head and the Heart, and the list goes on. There are 58 confirmed names on the website, and 10 to 20 more "hanging in the balance," according to Latane Hughes, the main talent buyer for the festival.

Last year's lineup was bass-heavy, no doubt. This year, organizers are striving to strike a more equal balance between indie music, bands like TV on the Radio and Denver-based Gauntlet Hair, and electronic dance music, like Rusko, Bassnectar and the like, Herter said.

There's going to be a fourth stage this year that will be dedicated to live music with instrumentation and no electronic, Hughes said. "That's 10 acts a day, so 30 acts total. We have a lot more acts that can be considered 'live' - bluegrass, jam bands, rock and roll, indie music," Hughes said.

Avon resident Karl Eklund, for one, is glad they're "mixing it up a little bit," he said.

"Boombox, Ghostland Observatory, Beats Antique and Elephant Revival, those are the big four bands I'd like to see," said Eklund, 24, who attended the festival last year and will "likely" go again in March. "The variety might be a good way to bring in a wider array of a crowd, not just what we got last year, with the younger crowd, but it might mix it up a little more."

Tony Mauro, of KZYR acclaim, has been watching the lineup trickle out.

"I've heard Bassnectar, I love Boombox and Elephant Revival and, of the course The Head and the Heart. Ghostland Observatory is fantastic; I listened to Deer Tick the other day," Mauro said, scanning the list. "All of this stuff is very accessible. Although (the festival) reaches out to a younger crowd, I think the older crowd would be pleased with the music. That's the cool thing about this festival, there are bands that are a little unfamiliar, but they're still very accessible to adults, which I think is great. It gives the festival some depth."

Part of the booking process involves predicting the future.

"A goal this year, which we sort of accomplished last year, is always just to kind of forecast exactly what people are going to want to see when March rolls around," Hughes said.

While 2011 festival headliner Pretty Lights had plenty of fans going into last year's festival, according to Hughes, "He was on the rise, and we put him in a headliner position and now it's a no-brainer that he would be a headliner."

The goal for this year's lineup was to "reach farther," Hughes said. "We want to give something to people that other festivals in Colorado are not going to give them, and that other regular club dates are not going to be able to offer, whether that's bringing in international talent, or if that means putting them in a unique situation surrounding them with other talent they don't normally play with."

Speaking of acts that wouldn't normally play back to back, with how the schedule is laid out now, Nederland-based folky jam band Elephant Revival will perform right before Major Lazer, "a massive international DJ with a stage full of people from Jamaica and Brazil," Hughes said.

Like last year, along with the recognizable names are a slew of up-and-comers, many of whom you've probably never heard of, and some of who are playing in Colorado for the first time. Hughes said around 10 to 15 bands have never played in the Colorado Rockies before.

There's been a bit of chatter on social media outlets from fans asking when the "big names" will be released.

"If you go and look at Facebook from last year, people were saying the same things, and now everyone wants the same acts we had last year," Hughes said. For example, Portugal. The Man.

"We were the first people to bring them into the market. When we posted them on the page, maybe only like 12 people liked it," Hughes said.

Now, people are requesting the Portland rock band will return.

Speaking of requests, the organizers chose to release two band names a day, stretching the announcement out over more than a month, in order to keep the buzz alive, of course, but also in order to give people a sense that they can influence who makes the bill. And they can, Hughes said.

"When we started announcing on Nov. 30, we weren't done booking," Hughes said.

One example of that influence is with Dada Life, an electro dance music duo from Stockholm, Sweden.

"They got quite a reaction from our fans when we announced," Herter said.

So far, ticket sales are looking good, according to festival organizers.

"I can tell you that last year we didn't go on sale until two days before Christmas and this year we went on sale a month earlier and we are ahead of where we were last year," Hughes said.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Jan 7, 2012 10:27PM Published Jan 6, 2012 03:45PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.