Helpin’ out by rockin’ out at State Bridge
VAIL CO, Colorado
For artists and fans alike, Campout for the Cause feels like a big family camping trip, only that the music around the camp fire is far more superb than a regular sing-a-long. This time sleeping under the stars comes with the added bonus of raising money for a good cause.
Scotty Stoughton started the festival four years ago after a humanitarian trip to Haiti. The festival promoter went to help out All Hands Volunteers (a U.S.-based non-profit) after the 2010 earthquake. The organization aids survivors of natural disasters throughout the world.
“I was really impressed with how they help communities,” Stoughton said. “There’s no red tape, they get in and get their hands dirty.”
Campout for the Cause also benefits Realm of Caring, a local organization that puts on a kids camp at State Bridge every year and gives underprivileged children music education and instruments. Stoughton, the lead singer of Bonfire Dub, has been performing, promoting and creating community events in Colorado for more than 15 years. Spearheading Campout for the Cause was a natural extension of what the musician loves to do: Bring people together through music.
“I’ve met some great artists and great people and for me this is an opportunity to put them together in the same event,” Stoughton said. “It’s a real down-home vibe where everyone’s involved with the show, that’s our philosophy.”
Stoughton recently returned to Haiti two weeks ago. He said All Hands Volunteers is now trying to help people gain access to clean water, which is a rarity in Haiti. Even prior to the earthquake, Haiti had “consistently been dealt a heavy hand,” Stoughton said.
“The people in Haiti have been through more hell than most have seen in many lifetimes,” Stoughton said. “I feel like I can’t even hold a candle to these people, they are truly inspiring, they are the true rock stars.”
State Bridge’s special energy
Speaking of rock stars, this year’s festival will feature more than 26 artists from eight different genres of music. Elephant Revival, MTHDS, Boneless, Frogs Gone Fishin’, Shakedown Street (original members), and many more local favorites will perform. Newly formed Boulder band Grant Farm will make its State Bridge debut at the festival. Lead signer and guitarist Tyler Grant is excited about bringing the band’s roots rock “country disco” sound to the stage. A former member of many Colorado bands throughout the years (such as The Emmitt-Nershi Band), Grant is enjoying his new role as frontman.
“I’m looking forward to being up there on stage and hearing the train go by while making all those kids dance like crazy,” Grant said.
Grant thinks the State Bridge venue helps Campout for the Cause stand out from other festivals.
“There’s a certain kind of unexplainable energy, it’s almost like a vortex,” Grant said. “It might be because native tribes played there, it might be because there’s been so many great events there in recent years, it might be because of the fans, but there’s something about that place.”
Helping others through music
Avon resident Jenna Stecker has attended Campout for the Cause every year since it started. She is eager to see how having music nonstop, with a DJ in between sets, will enhance the festival. Stecker likes that the vibe and atmosphere of State Bridge allows for fans and musicians to bond and connect as friends.
“Campout tends to be local to Colorado with Colorado musicians,” Stecker said. “They’re people that I know really well… It’s a fun place to see all those musicians off the stage when they’re all hanging out with each other.”
Stecker owns her own hula hoop company called High Country Hoops. She will hold hula hoop lessons throughout the three-day weekend. In addition to music, Campout attendees will get to experience State Bridge’s other offerings, such as stand-up paddle boarding, floating, yoga, fishing, hiking, and of course, camping.
While many musicians see music as the message, Stoughton sees it as the means to create significant change in the lives of people who need it the most.
“Music is an essential thread in our history,” Stoughton said. “Whether you’re black or white, rich or poor, from the East or the West, it touches you. There’s amazing healing powers in music…there’s a higher purpose. If we can all collectively open ourselves up to that and spread the love, positive changes will occur.”
Rosanna Turner is a freelance writer based in Vail. Email comments about this story to email@example.com.