The rise of Cover Rock in Avon; Made in the USA tribute festival June 22-23 | VailDaily.com

The rise of Cover Rock in Avon; Made in the USA tribute festival June 22-23

Kimberly Nicoletti
Special to the Daily

Baby, Cover Rock was not born to run.

Cover Rock started in 2015, after the town of Avon called for proposals, and then provided seed money to foster a few select summer events, meant to become signature events at Nottingham Park. So far, Cover Rock is the one festival that has continued to grow significantly, attracting a greater number of people year after year.

"We're very proud to say that we're becoming that cornerstone event," said Tom Dobrez, president of True Local Events LLC, which promotes Cover Rock. "The town's (seed money concept) was pretty ingenious, and now it's working."

Last year, Cover Rock's British Invasion increased by 22 percent from its Woodstock's Summer of Love debut. This year for "Made in the USA," ticket sales rose over 30 percent from last year's, Dobrez said. Ticket prices remain the same from last summer (after dropping $10 from the first year).

"Ticket sales have exceeded our expectations," Dobrez said. "No doubt, it's word of mouth."

Surveys by True Local Events showed a "very high" rate of return, with previous audience members bringing more friends and family (both younger and older generations).

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Now, even hotels are noticing a significant increase in bookings during Cover Rock weekend, and Dobrez expects to see benefits extending to restaurants; for instance, a Denver radio station is hauling up a busload of disc jockeys, who plan to meet at Loaded Joe's for brunch to talk about the music industry.

"It's growing beyond the music, into an experience," Dobrez said. "People are turning this into a celebration. Last year, we had three 60th birthdays, and this year, we have a couple anniversaries and it's the Vail Cub 50s kickoff to summer."

Surveys indicate that the overall experience has contributed to ticket sales.

"A full show is presented," said former Avon town manager Virginia Egger, "with top cover bands — there is never a lackluster performance."

Its reputation led Westword to declare Cover Rock "a top 10 Rocky Mountain music experience" and "a perfect mountain jamboree."

In order to achieve another record-breaking crowd, Dobrez listened to feedback from surveys about how people wanted more shade and kid zones, so he's expanded shaded areas (this year, called "The Hotel California," with a tent and outdoor furnishing) in the general admission area, as well as booked a whole new selection of food trucks.

The Lineup

While each tribute band has its unique story, here are just a few facts to rev you up.

Old Friends, a tribute band from Michigan, kick off the festival with a note-for-note recreation of Simon & Garfunkel's Free Concert at Central Park.

The Refugees, who commemorate Tom Petty with their performance, comprises Scott Rednor, owner of Shakedown Bar and member of local band Brothers Keeper, and two other Brothers Keeper band members, who travel with John Oates as rhythm section players (Michael Jude and John Michel), as well as members of Billy Gibbons Band and Steely Dan's band.

Strange Parade delivers The Doors concert experience with as close a rendition of Jim Morrison as possible.

"He's got more than just the looks, the clothes, the sound, but he's also a poet who takes off on discourses as Jim Morrison often would," Dobrez said. "It's a full experience of what it must have been like to be at an original Doors experience."

This summer's Cover Rock music ranges from songwriters and poets to rockers, original jammers and superstars.

"After last year's amazing success with the British Invasion," Dobrez said, "We are ready to show the world how well the USA rocks."

For more information and tickets, visit http://www.coverrockfestival.com.

Cover Rock: Made in the USA schedule

When: June 22-23

Where: Avon’s Nottingham Park

Tickets: General admission is $49.

Schedule:

Friday, June 22

2 p.m.: Simon & Garfunkel Concert At Central Park (Old Friends)

4 p.m.: Stevie Ray Vaughan (Double Trouble)

6 p.m.: Aerosmith Rocks

8 p.m.: The Doors Concert Experience (Strange Parade)

Saturday, June 23

2 p.m.: The Allman Brothers (My Blue Sky)

4 p.m.: Tom Petty Remembered by The Refugees (Brothers Keeper)

6 p.m.: The Eagles performed by The Long Run

8 p.m.: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (Tramps Like Us)

More information: Visit http://www.coverrockfestival.com.