Block Party weekend 2022, in review
A comprehensive review of Eagle’s popular three-day festival
Fun, togetherness and keeping Eagle weird are staples of Block Party weekends, and all the right notes were hit on opening evening. Friday was filled with familiar faces, smiles abound, gathering once again with an added sense of relief that our little mountain town’s favorite festival had made a return.
The musical acts were lively and diverse, but Block Party is about more than just the music. Food trucks were in full force. Gyros, pizza and Mauka poke bowls were consumed en masse by concertgoers as they danced up an appetite. For those wanting to embrace their own artistic side, EagleARTS offered people a chance to be part of a community mural project by having them choose which tile of the mural they could paint, to be installed on a building inside the festival zone.
With three stages set in downtown Eagle and a whole slew of vendors and things to see packed between, festival-goers could pick their own adventure as to what they wanted from the evening. The Haymaker stage maintained the cool vibes with the mellow sounds of Keller & The Keels starting off the night, and the groovy funk tunes of Heavy Breathers amping things up into the evening. Two blocks down and facing opposite, the Boneyard stage brought the reggae beats first with an energetic performance from Common Kings and closed the night with an enthralling set by Friday’s headliner, Thievery Corporation.
But between those two stages and tucked away on Second Street is where the real dance parties took place. The Firestarter stage brought a different kind of energy throughout, one that compelled everyone enjoying Trees Don’t Move and Rebirth Brass Band to boogie the night away. And by the time the Firestarter stage folks migrated to the Boneyard stage for Thievery Corporation, that boogie became infectious and had spread throughout the last song of the evening.
One of the best things about the Eagle Block Party is that there is a place for every type of concert-goer. Children had space to run around, fans could get up close and personal with the artists, dancers could take as much space as they wanted for their moves or choose to join the crowd passing around beach balls and glow sticks at the front of the stage.
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With all of Broadway street included in the venue, it was easy to pop into the crowd and get the full energy of the event and pop out for time to talk with family, friends and neighbors, strengthening community just as the festival intended.
Saturday’s atmosphere was pure summertime bliss, with a lineup that perfectly complemented the warm weather and beach day aesthetic of the crowd. It was easy to catch the summer vibes in the early afternoon with the jam-band rock of local favorites The Runaway Grooms and guitar-driven melodies of Eric Krasno & The Assembly floating over the crowds.
Smooth and upbeat bluegrass carried the festival into the evening, with banjos, fiddles and mandolins being broken out on all three stages as Leftover Salmon, Liver Down the River and Sam Bush flooded the venue with rhythmic string music that got everyone at the festival moving.
As the sun went down, the energy went way up in response to Boston-based band Ripe’s set of non-stop fun. The charismatic lead singer got everyone in the crowd involved with snippets of world famous sing-along songs thrown in among the band’s upbeat pop and reggae sound, which was held down by a dancing horn section. Nobody wanted to stop dancing when the set ended, and Ripe had to resist an enthusiastic and united chant for “one more song!”
Once night had fallen, the six lead members of Railroad Earth stepped into the colorful spotlight, trading off expert solos as they ran through a soulful set that toggled between thigh slapping rhythms and soothing melodies led by Bob Dylan-esque lead singer Todd Sheaffer. The music seemed right at home under the mountains bathed in moonlight.
After the mayhem of the past two nights, downtown Eagle started to return to normal on a beautiful Sunday morning, but the Block Party wasn’t done just yet. Day three brought the crowd for a boozy brunch, paired with some Leftover Salmon.
Saturday’s opener for the Boneyard stage made a return to the Second Street tent at 10:30 a.m. Sunday for an intimate performance to close out the weekend. A limited ticket event, the crowd was smaller as the rest of the Block Party attendees slept off the weekend.
As the band played, people enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet and a bottomless open bar, then got on their feet to get one last groove in before noon. As midday hit and the performance neared its close, Leftover Salmon carried out their set by taking requests from the crowd, resulting in a fun cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice,” among others. The dance party had taken full effect, and the crowd couldn’t get enough.
“Just one more, baby!” one crowd member enthusiastically shouted as Leftover Salmon finished their closing song, echoing a sentiment shared by festival-goers throughout the fun-filled weekend.