‘Everyone can get down’ at State Bridge
If there’s one common thread weaving its way through the lineup of bands playing at State Bridge’s opening weekend, it’s “Colorado music staples,” said Scotty Stoughton, the talent buyer and event operations manager.”(The weekend’s bands) are a ton of fun and appeal to a huge demo(graphic),” he said. “We’ll have families out there, cowboys there, river rats there. And everyone can get down to the music I’m booking for this weekend.”Last summer marked the revival of the outdoor music venue, which burned down in 2007 and was rebuilt into an outdoor ampthitheater. The past few weeks a crew of people have been volunteering at State Bridge, getting it ready for the summer season, which starts today.”We are creating a really great family of folks up here. We have made some minor tweaks but mainly just blew off the winter dust and got her ready,” Stoughton said.Friday through Sunday the riverside venue hosts a slew of musicians. WhiteWater Ramble, a mandolin-fiddle-acoustic guitar-upright bass-drums outfit from Fort Collins, kicks things off Friday night with its bluegrass-tinged rock with everything from house grooves to roots Americana thrown in for good measure. Whiskey Tango, a bluegrass/rock band out of Denver, performs Saturday night, along with Chris Thompson & Coral Creek, a Front Range band that performs rock, country/bluegrass and island music. Great American Taxi headlines Sunday night, fresh off the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival in Fruita, which they perform at Saturday night. “I wanted to kick it off with bands people liked last year,” Stoughton said. “It’s kind of a soft time for booking. I was searching for groups who were regional and really brought great energy and just throw down. The focus on bluegrass, folk and Americana goes with the history of State Bridge and the fans love of these Colorado music staples.”
Front Range band Chris Thompson & Coral Creek performed at YarmonyGrass in 2010 and 2011 but Saturday night will mark the bands first time on the State Bridge stage, Thompson said. “It’s going to be a great time – as always – on the Colorado River,” he said. “We’ll be playing a lot of songs off our latest release, ‘The Road Ahead,’ which was produced by Bill Nershi, as well as some newer original material and some easily consumable fare from the Grateful Dead, The Band and Coral Creek arrangements of traditional tunes.”Also performing for the first time at State Bridge is Whiskey Tango, a band who describes its sound as “bluegrass infused rock and roll.” The band performs Saturday night. The band’s keyboard player, Nate Todd, made the trek from Denver last summer to see the Drew Emmitt Band perform, he said, and “ended up playing music around the fire with some really great people and talented musicians.”It’s those impromptu music sessions that Stoughton and many State Bridge regulars look forward to.”We know the collaborations will be happening all weekend long, something I’m most passionate about,” Stoughton said.
State Bridge regulars will encounter a few new things at the venue this summer. The general store got revamped, Stoughton said. The liquor store is gone (don’t worry, there’s one right up the road at Rancho Del Rio); the store will sell intertubes for people wanting to float the Colorado River. This weekend Moe’s BBQ will serve up its Alabama-style ‘cue to hungry concertgoers inside the venue. There is also a lot more ready-made food and drinks for sale at the general store, Stoughton said. “We are really excited – we have forged a partnership with Sticky Fingers in Minturn to provide their amazing sandwiches, breakfast fare, coffee and more out of our general store.”Also based out of the store is Stand Up Paddle Colorado (standuppaddlecolorado.com), Stoughton’s new stand up paddle boarding venture. “It’s the first exclusive outfitter in Colorado and we’re focusing on clinics,” Stoughton said.”it’s been gorgeous up here. The water is already warm. I’ve been on river everyday and the water is not freezing and this time of year it usually is.”High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.