Hot Summer Nights free concerts kick off Tuesday |

Hot Summer Nights free concerts kick off Tuesday

Daily staff reportnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Jason Thrasher

VAIL – Now that Mother Nature seems to be in a cooperative mood, the 2011 edition of the Hot Summer Nights free concert series opens Tuesday night with the sounds of Grupo Fantasma at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail.All free shows in the nine-week series, scheduled from June 14 to Aug. 30, get underway at 6:30 p.m., with doors to the Ford Amphitheater opening to the public at 5:30 p.m.”Tuesday nights during the summer are pretty much a given for the locals,” explained Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation. “It’s get off work, get home, get changed and get to the Amphitheater for Bud Light Hot Summer Nights. What started out as a weekly gathering of locals has turned into a major summer attraction for both residents and guests, and we now have people driving over from Summit County and sometimes from Denver for shows and a tremendous anticipation of the announcement of the bands every spring.”Known as “Latin-funk masters,” the Grammy Award-winning 10-piece Grupo Fantasma is the funkiest and finest Latin orchestra to come out of the United States in the last decade. The band weaves salsa, old-school funk and reggae together to create a sound all its own.Additional Bud Light Hot Summer Nights shows in June include the ever-popular Neil Diamond tribute band Super Diamond on June 21 and the soulful roots-rock of Shannon McNally & Hot Sauce on June 28.Hot Summer Nights will take the first of two short breaks on July 5 as Darius Rucker graces the Ford Amphitheater stage for a special concert to benefit the Steadman Philippon Research Institute. The second Hot Summer Nights hiatus will come Aug. 2 and 9 during the Vail International Dance Festival.The free series resumes on July 12 with Celtic rock of Great Big Sea, while other shows that month include String Cheese Incident’s keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth and his band on July 19 and the annual Bud Light Hot Summer Nights on Dance on July 26, featuring Vail International Dance Festival favorites Buckets & Tap Shoes.Once the Dance Festival comes to a close, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band will inject some southern funk into the Ford Amphitheater on Aug. 16, while August also showcases the rockin’ blues talents of Carolyn Wonderland on Aug. 23. Hot Summer Nights finishes off the summer free music scene with alt-rock icons, Cracker on Aug. 30.The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is located east of Golden Peak at Ford Park in Vail. Concert attendees are asked to park at the main Vail Village parking structure, with overflow parking at the Lionshead parking structure. For added convenience, the free Town of Vail shuttles will run extended routes past Golden Peak from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., with a drop off at the soccer field near the Ford Amphitheater. Additionally, a special Village-to-Village express bus will run from 4 to 9:30 p.m. with stops at the east entrance of the Lionshead parking structure, in front of the Vail Village Information Center and at Ford Park. Once inside the concert venue, picnics with commercially-sealed non-alcoholic beverages are permitted, as are legless lawn chairs, blankets and umbrellas. Bikes, skateboards and dogs are prohibited at the Ford Amphitheater. A concession area with a full grill and bar service is available.For more information on Bud Light Hot Summer Nights, visit and follow Vail Free Concerts on Facebook.

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