Rancho Del Rio hosts funky festival finale
VAIL CO, Colorado
Using a dry-erase board and a slew of ever-rotating musicians, Matt Butler creates one-of-a-kind musical experiences on stage with his Everyone Orchestra. He’s been doing it for 10 years, more than 400 musicians have participated during that time, and he can confidently say he’s never seen it go down the same way twice.
The Portland, Ore.-based musician will lead nine musicians in a 90-minute special “Gumbo edition” of Everyone Orchestra at this weekend’s New Orleans-themed Rancho Del Gumbo Festival, taking place at Rancho Del Rio Friday through Sunday.
“Since the concept of the festival is bringing a lot of funk and New Orleans vibe, I’m collaborating a lot with Papa Mali to give the set some give and take between improv and New Orleans funk. It’ll be funk-heavy Everyone Orchestra for sure,” Butler said.
Along with Papa Mali on guitar, the collaborative set will include Tim Carbone on violin (Railroad Earth), Chris Chew on bass (North Mississippi Allstars), Chad Staehly on keys (Great American Taxi), drummer Rob Kidd, the horn section from the 3 Twins Broadband and more surprises.
Carbone and Papa Mali have both participated in an Everyone Orchestra set before, but the others are newcomers.
“I like to have a mix of people who have done it and people who are new to it,” Butler said. “Since I’m embracing the idea of getting everyone on the same page of embracing the unknown, it works perfect for this concept.
“I think this will be a fully improvised set. A lot of people hear the word ‘improv,’ and it scares them, but this will be a crazy, inclusive, fun dance party. It’s not heavy jazz where the casual listener can get left behind. This is super fun and interactive, where the audience gets to sing and take part.”
So where does the dry-erase board come in exactly?
“That’s how I steer the ship,” he said. “I call core changes, themes, etc. We can go from the whole band playing to just bass and drums really quickly. I’m able to make moves like that. Conducting creates a bit of element of control around improv, creates a dynamic structure, an interactive conduit between audience and band and all the musicians.”
The set will take place Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
More than a dozen bands will perform over the three-day festival. Organizers are billing it as a “funky finale to the festival season.”
“It’s the last big party of the season before it gets cold,” said Corey Inniss, owner of event sponsor Way to Grow, a hydroponic and gardening supply center based in Fort Collins.
Though Inniss isn’t sure exactly how many tickets have been sold, the venue has a permit for 2,000 people. Tickets will be available at the gates.
“The response has been really good,” said Inniss, also the marketing director for the event. “There are a lot of people coming up from Fort Collins, Boulder and Denver. I assume it’s going to go off pretty good.”
Along with the Everyone Orchestra performance – “that is something you’ll never see again,” he said – Inniss also is looking forward to Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. The band will perform the Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” album in its entirety with New Orleans singer and guitarist Anders Osborne.
“It’s the Colorado debut of that, and it’ll be a really special thing,” Inniss said.
Inniss said the festival organizers are hoping to make the festival an annual event. And it will retain its New Orleans flavor.
“We just wanted to bring New Orleans to Colorado, to celebrate the place by bringing it here,” he said. “(Rancho Del Rio) is just such a special venue. It’s very hard to find a quality outdoor venue in Colorado where the owners are down with what you’re doing and you can get 1,000 or more people somewhere enjoying a festival without it being crowded.”
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.