Shakedown Bar Vail is taking music to the streets

Scott Rednor and other musicians try to make lemons out of lemonade with creative music venues during COVID-19

In addition to doing pop up concerts in Lionshead and Vail Village, Shakedown Presents held concerts at the Lower Bench of Ford Park.
John-Ryan Lockman | Special to the Daily

The COVID-19 restrictions have made it difficult for some businesses and professions to re-open and get back to work. Scott Rednor, owner and musician at Shakedown Bar in Vail and Shakedown Presents, felt the sting of the restrictions. Shakedown Bar at the top of Bridge Street had been closed since March 12. Warmer weather and the urge to play gave Rednor a few ideas on just how he could reach others through music this summer.

“I don’t think any of our family of musicians had gone three to four months without playing since we all began our journeys in music,” Rednor said, referring to the long list of talent he performs with. “We started playing at the entrance at Shakedown where we served drinks to on-lookers and played some tunes.”

After a couple of weeks, small crowds started to gather. In addition to enjoying live music in the street, the listeners also became shoppers and diners at area retailers and restaurants.  

“We noticed how well all the businesses around us were doing during our five-hour performances and took it to the town of Vail to see if they’d assist us in covering the costs,” Rednor said.

That initial talk with the town of Vail eventually became a contract where Shakedown Presents would do the business activations, pop-up street performances in Lionshead and Vail Village as well as the concerts at the Lower Bench at Ford Park. Rednor has an extensive list of talented musicians that he could draw from and all of them were excited to work.

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“Our roster of artists has been put to work and they couldn’t be happier to play their music to the crowds in Vail who appreciate the fun atmosphere we create at each event,” Rednor said.

“Through our hard work over the past eight years at Shakedown, we have established relationships with the best players locally and regionally. The high level of experience for the artists and listeners has helped to grow this exponentially,” Rednor said.

The live music that has drawn in listeners has been a plus all around. From the unexpected reactions from passers-by who stop and sit and take a listen while sipping a to-go cocktail to the businesses in the area of the music that benefitted, it was a win-win for everyone. 

“We were treated so well by all the businesses in the area of the concerts. They were all very thankful for our innovation and efforts to boost their businesses. Retail and food and beverage alike seemed to benefit from it,” Rednor said. “Lionshead has been busier than I’ve ever seen and a special shout out to Bart and Yeti’s for taking such great care of the bands and crews.” 

In addition to helping the community, Rednor’s talented and innovative group was also able to take care of their own. Shakedown Presents produced a charity event in October for a long-time musician and friend, Todd Smallie, who’d lost his teenage son, Ethan, this summer. The event raised $40,000 for mental health services.

“We are a family that will do whatever it takes to support one another, especially during something as sad as this,” Rednor said. “The Vail Mind Center was a really great partner for this as well, providing therapists on-site to show our community that resources are available locally.”

That sense of community can be felt by watching a video posted on Shakedown Bar’s Facebook page as the musicians gathered on stage to sing an emotional version of “Will the Circle be Unbroken” during the fundraiser.

What’s on tap for this winter? Shakedown Presents has proposed shows in Vail Village and Lionshead every weekend throughout the ski season and next summer. This Saturday Shakedown Presents will host “2 Villages, 6 bands: A Halloween Family Jam” from 1 to 6 p.m.

“We have the resources to create a great street vibe to help our town handle the lack of inside space that will be available. The town seems very supportive and we’ll know more in a couple of weeks,” Rednor said. “We are ready to rock as often as they’ll have us!”

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