Got to get over the hump |

Got to get over the hump

Cassie Pence

VAIL – Musical heavy hitters Little Feat and Better Than Ezra will grace the stage this winter at the Vail Valley Foundation’s Street Beat concert series. Street Beat is the winter counterpoint to Hot Summer Nights, but instead of shaking booties in the sunshine on the green grass of Ford Amphitheater’s lawn, attendees bundle in furs and gortex, sip on gluevine and dance among the backdrop of the Gore Range at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail Village. Concerts are Wednesday evenings, beginning Dec. 8 at 6 p.m., making it an excellent way to get over the hump of the work week.

“I think it is has become a good mid-week gathering point for a lot of locals. People are now planning around it, what they’re going to do before and what they’re going to do afterward,” John Dakin of the Vail Valley Foundation said. “It’s also fun to sit there and watch the guests that are in town that don’t necessarily know what’s going on and wonder right into the middle of it.”The crowd at past Street Beats has always been diverse, from Australian snowboarders to second homeowners to unsteady infants that may have just learned to walk. The audience is enthusiastic and impelled to dance to keep warm.”For me, it’s more of a social event to go and hope to run into people I don’t see regularly. Also, to go and hang out with people who enjoy going weekly like I do,” said Monique Beck, teacher at Meadow Mountain Elementary.

In addition to Little Feat and Better Than Ezra, the lineup is about as diverse as the audience the event attracts. Boy band Avion, who is all over Choice FM radio, will play along with three quarters of the Funky Meters, Porter, Batiste and Stolz.”What I try and do a lot of the time is book bands on the cutting edge, or bands that your average guy doesn’t know about yet, but by the time they get here they usually do, like Oteil and the Peacemakers. Oteil is the bass player for the Allman Brothers, alot of people don’t know that,” said Diane Moody of Resort Entertainment, the company who has been booking bands for the concert series the last several years.

Eric McFadden Trio, who plays Dec. 15, is rated the No. 1 guitarist in the country right now, Moody said. He used to play with George Clinton and is an act that shouldn’t be missed.At every concert, prizes are given away between sets. Luggage, cold hard cash and snowplay equipment are regulars on the list, with other surprises added in. Additionally, folks can register for the grand prize drawing, which is given away at the last concert, and is traditionally very pricey like a new BMW.”I always know a person or a face that wins something,” said Beck. “I registers each time.”

The biggest change this year is for the Little Feat show, March 16, which will kick off the American Ski Classic week of activities and actually move venues from Checkpoint Charlie to Golden Peak.”The Street Beat show will be held in conjunction with the Legend GS finals under the lights. It was an opportunity to bring Mohammed to the mountain, if you will, and try and combine the energies of both events into on gigantic party,” said Dakin.

Though the grand prize hasn’t been revealed, Ronnie Raygun will act as the grand finale. Destined to be a favorite, Ronnie Raygun plays tunes from a time where hair and fashion were larger than life – the 1980s!”It’s a great oppurtunity to gather with friends out doors. I think a lot of locals go for different reasons. I think they go to drink, socialize, get free swag and of course enter for what the big drawing might be,” Beck said.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.comVail Colorado

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