Vail Valley band hosts music festival at 7 Hermits Brewing and Boneyard in Eagle |

Primal J and the Neanderthals to host Primal Fest at 7 Hermits Brewing and Boneyard

Primal Fest, hosted and organized by local band Primal J and the Neanderthals, is back for another year, though this year’s festival will look a little different.

2019 marked the festival’s sophomore outing, and brought a punk-influenced setlist to Stoneyard Distillery. This year, the festival is setting up at the two stages outside Boneyard and 7 Hermits Brewing in Eagle. It’s more of a come-as-you-are, stop-by-for-a-drink sort of vibe. This year’s festival combines the best parts of live music at restaurants with festivals.

“It’s just good to be playing again. People are appreciative and loving every minute of it because you can’t see live music too much,” said Dan Renner, one of the five bandmates in Primal J.

Primal J and the Neanderthals have played around the Vail Valley this summer, including gigs at Nottingham Park in Avon and Vail Village.
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Eagle local Jen Mack will start off the day with an acoustic set at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29. Each artist will alternate stages, which budgets in time for setup changes. In addition to Mack, this year’s performing acts are: Jake and the Wolf Pack, Who’s Driving Now?!, El Paso Laso, Pinheads and headliner Primal J and the Neanderthals.

Renner has had the chance to play at those outdoor stages in Eagle Ranch already this summer, with both Primal J and Pinheads, of which he is also a member. He’s played about 25 gigs since late June.

Still, the coronavirus has been tough on bands — Primal J had to cancel 30 gigs — Renner sees a silver lining in the fact that more people are connecting with live music locally. In pre-COVID times, he said, so many people got their live music fix almost exclusively from national touring acts at big concerts. It was harder to get people out to see a local act.

“Now that there’s not so much of that, there’s a lot more support for the local bands,” he said.

Which is why he’s encouraging people to come out and enjoy the show in a way that best serves them. Renner is excited to be able to bring free live music to people in the current times. And with eight hours of music to enjoy throughout the day, he’s encouraging people to stop at either restaurant for a meal or a drink. He envisions people riding by on their bikes, stopping for a minute to enjoy the music.

“It’s just awesome to play, especially that area. The sunset is behind you. It’s beautiful, it’s just amazing,” he said. “We’re really grateful that we get to play, and that people are enjoying it.”

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