Minturn gets lively again
“It’s a lucky number,” says Minturn businessman Andy Kaufman, who started up the series 13 years ago with fellow Minturn restaurateur Al Brown. “It’s always a fun event at a great time of the year. We are in the off season and people are looking for some fun things to do and the weather is such that it is fun again to be inside at night.”
In direct contrast to past years’ tradition to hold all concerts indoors – at area bars and restaurants, which sponsor the events by paying for the bands – this Sunday’s concert will be held outdoors at the Minturn Town Park, near the Minturn Cemetery.
Floyd Duran, Minturn’s tireless public works man, has carved a small amphitheater out of the hill and Kaufman says he is excited to see how the new venue will work out for the debut of this year’s series.
“This concert isn’t just going to be a fun event, it is also going to be a test to see if this venue is going to work for an event like this,” he says, adding that he isn’t nervous about the weather, because “there isn’t a whole lot I can do about it, so why be nervous?”
The concert – rain, sunshine or blizzard – will begin at noon with horseshoe tournaments and children’s activities. At 3 p.m. the bar opens and concert goers can refresh themselves with beer and wine as well as Alabama soul food from Moe’s BBQ, Sunday’s band sponsor.
Richard Johnston, a Memphis country-blues artist, will take the stage later in the afternoon.
Admission is $7 per adult and free for children under 12. No glass, coolers or liquor is allowed in the park. Organizers ask that dogs be left at home along with weapons of any kind.
“That seems obvious, but our security firm asks us to note that,” says Alison Kabel, the series’ producer.
Also not in keeping with the past, proceeds from admissions will benefit a newly-established fund.
In years past, Kaufman says, the proceeds – last year as much as $23,000 were collected – have helped orphans in Mexico, needy children in Colorado and most recently the town’s volunteer firefighters.
After the inclusion of the town’s fire department in the Eagle River Fire Protection District earlier this year, the series’ organizers had to find a new cause.
“The collective group, Al, Alison and some of her key volunteers asked ourselves what should we do with the money now?” Kaufman says. “Everybody felt that it was just great to have an event that brings music to this area that you normally don’t hear a lot of, bring business to town and raise money for a use of some benefit to our town and we wanted to keep it that way,” he says.
So the organizers decided to establish the Minturn Community Fund to aid projects and activities that benefit the community as a whole.
Indeed the new venue – if it stands the test of Sunday – could be a future benefactor of money raised from admissions.
“There are lots of possibilities of things we can support,” Kaufman says. “The amphitheater improvement at the park is just one example of something that we would direct our funds towards.”
Kaufman has no doubts that this year’s series will be a success.
“Alison has done such a magnificent job bringing in really interesting bands and styles from all around the country, the line-up is really incredible,” Kaufman says of the 14 weekend concert series that will liven up stages at the Minturn Saloon, Chili Willy’s, Minturn Cellars, Minturn Country Club Cougar Ridge Cafe and Mango’s, the only non-Minturn venue in neighboring Red Cliff.
The band line-up is diverse and ever surprising, promises Kabel.
“I have everything from Slavic orchestra, to blues to funk to straight-up jazz to bluegrass,” she says. “I think there is something for everyone in there.”
New also this year and good news to those looking to enjoy a brew without worrying about the drive over Battle Mountain, Nova Guides is donating free shuttle services from Red Cliff to Minturn on concert evenings.
For more information and the schedule for Live! In Minturn go to liveinminturn.com
Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 602, or at email@example.com