Events picking up on Avon stage
July 28, 2015
AVON — When talent booker Michael O'Brien heard the town was starting a concert series on the new stage at Nottingham Park, he immediately sprung to action.
"I was familiar with the venue from the Salute to the USA and WinterWonderGrass, and I think a concert series — with the right acts — has the potential to be another signature event at that venue," he said.
The pavilion at Nottingham Park was a $3.8 million project and was completed in early 2015. The stage was designed with events like a weekly concert series in mind, but in getting one here during the summer of 2015, a tight schedule was looming for any would-be talent booker. O'Brien got right to work.
"The talent I talked to, they've played Red Rocks, Telluride Bluegrass, some pretty spectacular places, and I said this is one more jewel in the crown of Colorado venues that they had to see," he said.
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On a relatively short notice, O'Brien was able to book Reggae legend Pato Banton to lead off the series next Wednesday. Although Banton and his band had no plans to visit Colorado this summer, it didn't take much convincing.
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"We love Colorado," Banton said Saturday. "We enjoy the sights, we enjoy the fresh air, and we especially enjoy the people."
Banton will perforate shows in Florida and California with the stop in Avon Aug. 5. Robert Randolph & The Family Band will follow on Aug. 12, and The Samples will close out the series on Aug. 19. The Samples frontman Sean Kelly said being an old rocker who's starting new family, he himself is a perfect example of the type of crowd Avon is looking to attract with this series.
"I know it's a family friendly venue, and I'll have my wife and baby out there," he said. "Shows like this are a taste of the future for us."
The series itself will be a taste of the future for Avon, if successful. Banton says he's aware of the fact that all eyes will be on him and his band to put on a good opening show.
"We welcome the pressure," he said with a laugh. "We will have a seven-piece band with horns, a keyboard player, drum and bass, and we will be flying directly from our East Coast tour, so the band will be at its peak tightness. I can guarantee everyone a very positive and uplifting show, we will be doing some of our old classics as well as doing a couple of new songs that haven't even been released yet."
Before the concert series starts next Wednesday, a Vail International Dance Festival event will head to Avon for the first time in the festival's history Wednesday. It will be a free performance showcasing "a variety of dance styles from Memphis Jookin to Argentinean Tango, ballet and modern dance," according to promoters.
"It will be a bit of a variety show," said Michael Imhof with the Vail Valley Foundation.
Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. A VIP option will be available with on-stage seating.
Following the Avon Concert Series, the Cielito Lindo Music and Heritage Festival will take to the new stage on Sept. 18 and 19.
Promoter Carlos Mercado says he expects the new Latin music and culture festival to be another signature event on the new stage.
"We're definitely marketing this everywhere in Colorado, but we think it will bring a lot of the local community out, as well," Mercado says. "As far as I know, there isn't a Hispanic/Latino festival created like this in Colorado."
The acts include Grammy Award winners and bands with decades of history. La Original Banda Limon, the first act, has been around for more than 50 years, with a large following.
"They're a very traditional band, and very popular in Colorado," Mercado said. "They've sold out massive concerts."
Next up will be Conjunto Primavera, who won a Grammy in 2014.
"They have released so many albums, I can't even count them," Mercado said. "It's an energetic, romantic music from the northern part of Mexico.
Duelo will follow, playing a type of music called Texano.
"It's a hybrid sound from Texas and Monterrey, Mexico," Mercado said. "These guys are really big in Texas and have sold out major arenas there."
Voz a Voz, with their Bachata sound, will be coming all the way from the Dominican Republic to play Avon during the Cielito Lindo Music and Heritage Festival.
"The Bachata genre has been around for ages, but it has gotten really popular in the last seven to 10 years," Mercado said. "These young guys are among the best practitioners of it."
For more information on the Cielito Lindo Music and Heritage Festival, visit http://www.cielitolindofestival.com.