To claim valley nightlife | VailDaily.com

To claim valley nightlife

Shauna Farnell

Bret Hartman/Vail DailyFlux5 performs to a packed house at the Minturn Saloon during last year's Live! in Minturn concert series. The high-energy local quintet will return to kick off the 2005 series Friday at 9 p.m.

MINTURN – While many people get stir crazy during the fall off-season, some regard it as the time of year to really come alive. Until the season picks up around Thanksgiving, weekend plans are not up for debate as far as Minturn is concerned. Not on Friday night, anyway.The Live! in Minturn series kicks off its 16th year this Friday with local jazz-soul-blues quintet Flux5, and will serve up a different ensemble of energetic live music every Friday until Thanksgiving. “That was part of the whole original concept. We were thinking, it’s off-season, let’s do a really fun, local-oriented event, raise money for good causes and bring some music to the valley,” said Andy Kaufman, owner of the Minturn Saloon and one of the founders of the Live! in Minturn series, which is the primary fundraising source for the Minturn Community Fund.

The Minturn Community Fund focuses on projects within the town of Minturn. A few days ago, groundbreaking began for the community fund’s latest project – a new park to replace La Playuela that will feature an amphitheater, playground and bathrooms. The concert series helped the community fund raise $20,000, and then community fund members issued a challenge grant to which a group of Minturn citizens responded, matching the $20,000 as well as procuring a GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) grant for $200,000 more. With public and private fundraising, Minturn has a total of $460,000 for the project.”We’re hoping that this will also be the key to starting community events in a place where the whole community can come together,” Kaufman said. “We’ve been working with the town on the total renovation.”Originally, Live! in Minturn was a jazz music series that raised money which was split between the Minturn Senior Citizens’ lunch program, and the Salvation Army. Then it directed its funds to the Children’s Foundation, which had an office in Minturn that worked with orphanages in Mexico. In 2001, the series targeted the Minturn Fire Department as recipients for that year’s proceeds, which Kaufman said exceeded $25,000 after an outpouring of community support following the events of Sept. 11.As for the musical lineup, that has also changed.”It started out as Minturn Jazz Fest, then it became jazz and blues, then jazz and blues and bluegrass,” Kaufman said. “Some of the most memorable nights have been with Hazel Miller. We had her playing here before anyone else had heard of her in Colorado. She blew the room away. You’d open the door, we’d have lines of people coming down. Then she became a little too big for our venue.”

Small town, big crowdThis Friday’s opening act has a similar tale of being on the up-and-up. Flux5 played three shows with Karl Denson this summer, and has drawn a wall-to-wall crowd each of the three years it has opened the Minturn series.”As far as our response, we have people who have been there every year. They bring their friends and make sure they don’t miss it. It’s either a sell-out crowd or close to it,” said Dave Laub, leader of Flux5. “Being a local band, it’s hard to draw a local crowd this time of year. But really, everyone comes out of the woodwork. It’s such a well-organized event, it’s like people almost set aside time to go to each one.”Other artists in this season’s lineup include high-voltage folk-blues rockers Schwing Daddy, Denver’s Filthy Children and the traditional Halloween performance by the Vail Valley’s own Little Hercules.

“I’ve lived in Minturn for about 10 years. It’s my hub. I go to almost every (Live! in Minturn) show,” said Karm Trygg of Schwing Daddy, which will be joining the series for the first time this season. “It’s a great time of year to come out and see music in Minturn. It’s before ski season, but it’s getting close, so everyone’s getting pumped to go out and have a good time. Nobody needs a good reason to come to Minturn. But when you give them a good reason, people come from all over the valley.”Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or sfarnell@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado