Think of it as the ultimate powder day playlist — live.
Light snowflakes and fresh beats keep crowds coming back to Vail Snow Daze year after year, and this season is no different. Free concerts take center stage at the seventh annual early season mountain celebration, which takes place Friday through Sunday in Vail. It’s also a time when both locals and visitors can once again enjoy sponsor expos and gear demos along with the free concerts, as well as apres and after-dark parties in Vail.
East Vail resident Meridith Hughes has come to the annual event multiple times — even when she wasn’t living in the area.
“I first started coming up to Snow Daze when I was in high school, and then was I was in college at CU Boulder,” she said. “People actually make an effort to go, and the music sets are usually pretty relevant and popular for the time.”
Hughes said the shows generally appeal to a large group of people and are a way for people of all ages within the community to come out and enjoy the start of the winter season in Vail.
“A lot of people think Vail is a ‘hoity toity’ place, but these are traditionally free concerts and an opportunity for all walks of life to get together, and are accessible to those who really enjoy coming up here — not just second homeowners,” she said.
Hughes said she thinks this year’s lineup has a well-varied combination of artists, with the diverse demographic appeal of Saturday night’s big stage songwriters, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, emerging international artist Matisyahu. Friday night MiM0SA gets the music started, followed by headliner Rebelution.
Friday Night Lights: Rebelution with opener MiM0SA
Wesley Finley, drummer for Rebelution, is more accustomed to the four walls of concert halls in the winter than the brisk mountain air. He said that Vail’s outdoor show will be a welcome change from the band’s usual winter venues. The California-based rock, world and reggae band have self-released three albums and sold more than 250,000 copies independently.
“We’re usually at stuffy venues, so it will be nice to be outside in the fresh air with snow around us,” Finley said. “It might be tough to play the drums in a puffy parka, but I might try.”
Do dress for winter, but Finley promises to get the crowd warmed up once the concert starts.
“The crowd can expect our usual upbeat set that will get them warmed up and taking off their jackets in no time,” Finley said. “Our energy level will make people forget about the cold and get them excited to hit the slopes.”
Los Angeles-based artist MiM0SA will open for Rebelution tonight. The band has a soulful take on hip-hop beats and bass.
Saturday’s Snow Show: Big Head Todd and the Monsters with Matisyahu
Formed in Colorado in 1986, Big Head Todd and the Monsters have played together for nearly three decades, and the band together has sold more than 3 million albums and headlined packed venues countrywide.
Todd Park Mohr, guitarist and lead vocalist, said the band is looking forward to playing at home — in fact, Mohr is a bit of a Vail local himself.
“We of course love the mountains and all the natural beauty there,” Mohr said. “My folks live in Eagle, so I have spent a lot of time in the Vail Valley, and I love being home.”
The band performed at Snow Daze in 2008, a performance that Mohr said was particularly special.
“Several years back, it was snowing outside during our set, and that’s always really memorable,” he said. “It’s perfect, especially if we can keep all our instruments in tune.”
Mohr said the band will play some longtime fan favorites, songs that have landed on the rock charts, including “Bittersweet,” “Boom Boom,” “It’s Alright” and “Broken-Hearted Savior.” He said their new album, “Black Beehive,” is scheduled to be released in 2014, so the set will include some new songs as well.
“We are planning to play more of a festival set so that the show will have an appeal to everybody, and not just our fans,” he said.
The Snow Daze shows always have a special feel, Mohr explained, especially when the weather shows up just right.
“We love playing free shows,” he said. “And we are looking forward to it. Last time we played in Vail it was really fun, and it’s great to play when it’s snowing, so we can’t wait.”
Big Head Todd and the Monsters will headline following the opening set from alternative rock and reggae musician Matisyahu.
Matisyahu is known for blending Jewish themes with reggae, rock, rap and beatboxing. He’s best known in the U.S. for hit singles “King Without a Crown” and “One Day.”
All of the Snow Daze concerts and events are free to attend, and private reserve tickets are available for purchase. The Ford Park outdoor concert venue will be located east of Vail Village and is standing room only. Cold conditions are likely, so be sure to dress warmly from head to toe.
Parking for the shows will be available in either the Vail Village or Lionshead parking structures on South Frontage Road. Street parking is not permitted until all public parking facilities are completely full. Public transit systems are also available from the town of Vail and Eagle County.
The Expo Village will be open at the base of the Vista Bahn from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Attendees can expect to find numerous brand expositions, organization information and product samples from event sponsors.
Matisyahu is known for blending Jewish themes with reggae, rock, rap and beatboxing.