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The Runaway Grooms debut as first band in Vilar Performing Arts Center’s live-streamed Ghost Light Sessions

Adding to the national conversation on live-streamed concerts, The Vilar Performing Arts Center has announced that it will stream a new series starting May 7. The Ghost Light Sessions kick off with a performance from local favorites The Runaway Grooms live at 7 p.m. Access the stream on YouTube through the Vilar’s website, vilarpac.org/streaming. A hyperlink to the stream will go live at showtime.

During the concert, The Runaway Grooms will perform some new songs they’ve been writing with all the extra time on their hands. The band will also play tunes from its newly-released debut LP, “Tied to the Sun.”

“We have been working hard to really curate this set to be a very engaging listening experience that takes the viewers at home through a musical roller coaster,” said frontman Adam Tobin.  “We want listeners to feel like they’re at an actual live show again.”

Listen to The Runaway Grooms live on the Vail Daily’s Newsroom Jams.

Additional performers will be announced soon.

“We plan to have a lot of local artists involved and want to support those local musicians,” said Ruthie Hamrick, the Vail Valley Foundation’s senior arts marketing manager.

During the Grooms’ performance and the ones following, the band will play on the Vilar’s stage to an empty room, lit only with simple spotlighting. The effect is intended to give viewers a sense of closeness. It also comes from a deep-seated theater tradition.

“There all sorts of traditions and superstitions in theater such as not bringing mirrors on stage, no whistling from backstage, saying “break a leg” and never mentioning The Scottish Play,” said Duncan Horner, the venue’s executive director. “Another is to make sure to turn on an exposed incandescent bulb centerstage known as ‘the ghost light,’ before turning off other lights and vacating the theater. I like to think of it as providing an eternal flame that remains on between shows, providing a baseline of energy that allows us to look forward to the next wave of entertainment.”

The Vilar hopes to continue the Ghost Light series beyond the Runaway Grooms’ performance, highlighting other local artists. Prior to the pandemic, the band opened for the Toots and the Maytals, and the venue and the band had been talking about booking more opening sets, so the transition to a live stream instead of a traditional concert was a natural one for both parties.

The Runaway Grooms perform locally across the valley and has plans to tour across the state this spring. The band started as a three-piece but recently added two new members.
Special to the Daily

As for maintaining safe social distancing practices while these concerts are shot, The Vilar will ensure that no more than 10 people are present at the shoot and that organizers, camera operators and the band members are 6 feet apart.

Plenty of independent and mainstream artists typically connect with fans through live shows. Without tours, many are effectively out of work due to coronavirus. Full-time independent artists in particular get the majority of their income through touring. The bandmates are not full-time musicians, but to help the band financially, the Vilar will have a virtual tip jar where viewers can donate directly.

But for many performers, live shows are much more connected to emotions and expression than to money. The absence of a proper audience is a big deal. Tobin said that the band loves providing a “collective escape” and communal space during a show, and it comforts the band to be able to still provide a version of that feeling.

“I think it brings some normalcy back in people’s lives,” he said. “But it’s really not enough for us. We feed off of the crowd as much as the crowd feeds off of us, and that reciprocity creates that magical energy that makes festivals and shows so meaningful and profound and vulnerable.”

He’s excited to get the band back together in person again when social distancing measures are lifted.

Other ways to support the Vilar Performing Arts Center include purchasing gift cards, which are valid for 5 years – so you know you’ll be able to get to a show by 2025. Patrons can also donate and purchase memberships, which are available in many tiers and start with $25 contributions. Higher-paying members can request backstage tours, meet artists and enjoy receptions in the May Gallery Patrons Lounge.

The Vilar is already planning its Winter 2021 series, and concerts scheduled for May, June and July are still on the books presently. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit vilarpac.org.

Joshua McCracken on Newsroom Jams

Vail Valley local Joshua McCracken performs a Newsroom Jam at the Vail Daily.

(Having trouble seeing the video? Click here.)

Are you a musician or a band that plays original music? Email Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart at rleonhart@vaildaily.com to set up a Newsroom Jam at the Vail Daily.

WinterWonderGrass Trio on Newsroom Jams

Grant Farm guitarist and national flatpicking champion Tyler Grant, big mountain skier and acoustic musician Mark Morris, of Rapidgrass, and Leftover Salmon banjoist Andy Thorn stopped by the Vail Daily in December for a Newsroom Jam.

The three musicians are regulars at WinterWonderGrass, a festival that started in the Vail Valley. WinterWonderGrass returns to Steamboat Springs Feb. 21-23; Squaw Valley in California March 27-29; and April 10-11 at Stratton, Vermont. WinterWonderGrass is known for combining music, brews and mountains from coast to coast, with each festival featuring over 20 bands — and these guys.

(Having trouble watching the video? Click here.)

The three musicians were in Beaver Creek in December for the Birds of Prey World Cup races, performing during the Bloodies & Bluegrass event. Follow them on Instagram at:

The Vail Daily is looking for musicians to perform original music in its newsroom. Contact Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart at rleonhart@vaildaily.com to set up a Newsroom Jam.

Briony & The Beat on Newsroom Jams

Briony & The Beat is made up of locals Briony Hunn, Ken Carpenter and Carl Mueller. Visit www.brionyhunn.com for more information.

Shovelin Stone on Newsroom Jams

Front Range duo Shovelin Stone, made up of Makenzie Willox and Eagle Valley High School graduate Zak Thrall, performed the final ShowDown Town concert in Eagle this summer. While in town, they stopped by the Vail Daily to perform a Newsroom Jam. Visit www.shovelinstone.com/ to hear more from the band.

Haroula Rose on Newsroom Jams

Haroula Rose, whose music is in shows such as ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘American Horror Story,’ jammed in our newsroom while on the way to the Vail Film Festival for the showing of her movie, ‘Once Upon a River.’

Primal J and the Neanderthals on Newsroom Jams

Primal J and the Neanderthals, a 5-piece rock band based out of Eagle, stopped by the Vail Daily to jam some of their originals in preparation for Primal Fest.

The Newsroom Jams production staff is: Ross Leonhart, Executive Producer; Sean Naylor, Producer; Jon Scharfencamp, Video Editor and Tyler Buscemi, Floor Production Assistant.

Hardscrabble on Newsroom Jams

Hardscrabble stopped by the Vail Daily newsroom to jam as one of their three performances in a single Saturday, the last of which was at the Bonfire Block Party. Hardscrabble is Jena Skinner, Robbie Brown, Eric Lovgren and Scott Loss.

The Newsroom Jams production staff is: Ross Leonhart, Executive Producer; Sean Naylor, Producer; Jon Scharfencamp, Video Editor and Tyler Buscemi, Floor Production Assistant.

Vail Daily unveils Newsroom Jams

A project months in the making, Newsroom Jams is now live on VailDaily.com.

Our valley is full of talented musicians. Newsroom Jams offers an opportunity for local artists to play their original songs in our newsroom, during business hours, for our online audience to enjoy. Likewise, it also gives listeners the opportunity to hear what’s jamming across the valley.

Imagine sipping your morning java paired with the tunes of artists who play across Vail and greater Eagle County; that’s where we’re going with this. The idea is to create a go-to source for music that is created and played right here in our valley; to give listeners an experience that no other playlist offers: a true showcase of the Vail Valley’s talent pool.

Where will this project go? We will start by posting videos on our website and using them to promote local shows, but the sky’s the limit. Playlists on streaming services, placements on social media and more are all on the table, and we are excited to take this project as far as we can.

To launch Newsroom Jams, it takes a valley. The project would not exist without submissions from local artists. From solo acts to bands to orchestras; if you have originals, we want you to come jam in our newsroom.

If you’d like to be featured on Newsroom Jams, please contact Executive Producer Ross Leonhart at rleonhart@vaildaily.com or Producer Sean Naylor at snaylor@vaildaily.com.

The Runaway Grooms on Newsroom Jams

The Runaway Grooms stopped by the Vail Daily newsroom to jam while on their way to the Bonfire Block Party. The Runaway Grooms are Zac Cialek, Justin Bissett and Adam Tobin.

The Newsroom Jams production staff is: Ross Leonhart, Executive Producer; Sean Naylor, Producer; Jon Scharfencamp, Video Editor and Tyler Buscemi, Floor Production Assistant