Beanstalk Festival returns to Rancho Del Rio for 4 days of music in the mountains
Special to the Daily
Peanut butter and jelly, Forrest and Jenny, music and mountains: There are few things in life that go better together. From today through Sunday Beanstalk Music and Mountains Festival returns to Rancho Del Rio after a year in Westcliffe to bring music to the mountains — and the river.
While there are a few changes for the festival, which will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year, the core elements of bringing a diverse lineup of music to a beautiful location remain.
The sprouting of the Beanstalk
The Beanstalk Festival didn’t start off as an organized event — it grew organically. The Magic Beans, a Colorado-based band that defies categorization within a genre, was booked to play at State Bridge Amphitheater for two nights.
“It was a beautiful location and we wanted to fill it up with people,” said Scott Hachey, who plays guitar and sings with the Magic Beans. “The first year was really thrown together, we got friends’ bands to come play with us.”
It was so much fun that they decided to do it again the next year and the Beanstalk was planted. Organized by the Magic Beans, the Beanstalk Festival continued to grow. Attendance doubled each year, with the performance by Joe Russo’s Almost Dead in 2015 bringing in almost 1,500 people.
Some early adapters, like Denver-resident Ryan Garvey, haven’t missed a Beanstalk.
“Beanstalk is always early in the year and for a lot us, it’s the first time getting out (for a festival),” Garvey said. “We have a huge group — about 30 people deep — that will be in our group camping area. Most haven’t missed a single Beanstalk, either.”
While the event moved to Westcliffe in 2016, Hachey said that they were excited to bring Beanstalk Music and Mountains back to its home at Rancho Del Rio.
“We loved the location last year, too, but it was pretty far away,” Garvey said. “As long as it’s in the mountains, we’ll take any spot.”
“It’s the most important place in my life,” Hachey said. “I’ve had tons of great experiences there.”
Not one style of music
Much like its organizers, who don’t fit into one style of music, the Beanstalk Festival includes music from many different genres performing on two stages throughout the festival. Some of the headliners are frequent performers in the area, like Fruition, who will play two shows. Others might be new to the scene.
“I’m really exited for Theo Katzman, the guitar player for Vulfpeck,” Hachey said. “He’s a phenomenal singer-songwriter and he just put out his solo album, ‘Heartbreak Hits.’ This will be his first Colorado show with his own band.”
Other highlights include Reed Mathis & Electric Beethoven, which plays amped-up rock versions of Beethoven’s classic hits and bills itself as the “world’s first CDM (classical dance music) band,” and James Brown Dance Party, a rotating all-star James Brown tribute band.
Garvey also said that he was looking forward to Electric Beethoven as well as Moshi Fameus, which is a side project for Aron Magner and Allen Aucoin who are members of The Disco Biscuits.
“(Tom Hamilton’s) American Babies are fantastic, I’ve seen them a bunch,” Garvey continued, “Kitchen Dwellers I’m very much looking forward to and, also, the Magic Beans.”
A ‘local throwdown’
While there are many music festivals taking place throughout the state in the summer, Hachey said that Beanstalk is “family friendly and down home. It’s a simple festival, without a lot of corporate hullabaloo.”
Its location certainly supports this idea. Camping is key at Beanstalk: there are passes for all four days, or purchase a day pass and it will include night-of camping. This year, all of the events will take place at Rancho Del Rio (prior years included performances at State Bridge Amphitheater), making recreating easy between shows. While campers are allowed (purchase a camper pass), car camping is not allowed due to the small size of the venue. But it’s not a hassle: simply park your car and make your way down to the specified camping areas. Bring your paddleboards or make plans to raft, hike or explore.
“It’s really outdoor-oriented,” Hachey said of the festival. “Rancho Del Rio is a rafting drop, so we’ll start the music later so that people can take advantage of the outdoor activities.”
Music starts at 8 p.m. today with Part & Parcel and continues throughout the weekend and wraps up on Sunday night with the Magic Beans.
Watching YouTube videos of cats playing piano is fun and all, but at some point during the frigid winters, we all need to leave our houses.