Vail Snow Days announces headlining bands, returns with the Pray for Snow Bonfire on Dec. 12-15 |

Vail Snow Days announces headlining bands, returns with the Pray for Snow Bonfire on Dec. 12-15

Modest Mouse came up in the Washington state indie scene, which has also churned out Death Cab for Cutie, ODESZA, Iron & Wine and co-headliners The Head and The Heart among others.
James Joiner | Special to the Daily

The Vail Snow Days has been announced, and buckle your seatbelts: Modest Mouse and The Head and The Heart will be headlining free concerts the weekend of Thursday, Dec. 12 to Sunday, Dec. 15.

The weekend of concerts and events marks the start of ski and snowboard season at Vail Mountain. Previously, the signature event has featured Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Shakey Graves, Wilco, The Shins, The Wallflowers and more. Now in its 14th year, the headliner concerts in Ford Park are just two of the events planned for the weekend. Winter sports enthusiasts can kick off the weekend with the return of the Pray for Snow Bonfire on Thursday and the Bluegrass and Bloodies brunch-time event on Sunday.

Modest Mouse is most known for “Float On,” its widely popular mainstream hit from 2004: everyone heard it on the radio, and young people jammed to it on “Rock Band 2” and “Guitar Hero World Tour.” But the band formed almost 10 years earlier in Washington. When they first began in 1993, they came up in the same area and time as indie icons Death Cab for Cutie and  Sleater-Kinney, as well as hard rock/grunge stalwarts Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and of course, Nirvana.

The band only released two original records after 2004’s “Good News For People Who Love Bad News,” but both have earned the band high praise. 2007’s “We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank” shot up the Billboard Top 200 to the number one spot, the first Modest Mouse record to hit number one. “Strangers to Ourselves” in 2015 had mostly favorable reviews, and the band released two singles this year ahead of a tour: “Poison the Well” and “I’m Still Here.”

The Head and The Heart’s “Rivers and Roads” touched “New Girl” fans in the closing sequence of the season 4 finale.
Special to the Daily

The Head and The Heart, also from Washington, bring a different kind of indie. The band’s defining sound is pensive indie folk, but like Bon Iver who was here on Labor Day, has detoured from the genre in favor of incorporating more pop elements into its sound.

Its self-titled 2011 album featured “Coeur d’Alene,” “Down in the Valley” and “Lost in My Mind,” but “Rivers and Roads” gained the band popularity, especially after it was featured in the dynamite Season 4 finale of “New Girl” in 2015. Since then, the band released 2013’s “Let’s Be Still,” which got radio play and introduced the general public to the band.

This spring, despite losing two band members, The Head and The Heart released “Living Mirage,” where the band embraced elements of pop: ‘80s synthesizer, power chords and big vocals. The band sold out its two dates at Red Rocks Amphitheatre this summer, which they’ve done a total of six times.

For more information about Vail Snow Days, including schedules, lodging deals and VIP access, visit

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