Vail Valley music: ‘Back to our roots’ |

Vail Valley music: ‘Back to our roots’

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Clay HallLocal band Bonfire Dub will perform at Campout for the Cause, a music festival taking place Sunday and Monday at Rancho del Rio.

VAIL, Colorado “-Matthew Tisler talks about the historic State Bridge Lodge as if it were a loved one who recently died. That’s not surprising, since to him, that’s exactly what it was.

“I got here in the summer of ’92 and pretty much lived there every summer,” he said. “It played a huge part in my life. I went to all the shows until it burned down.”

That was nearly two years ago, in June 2007.

When Tisler heard that Rancho del Rio, just four miles north of State Bridge, would host a live music festival over Memorial Day weekend, and just days before his 40th birthday, it felt serendipitous.

“I usually celebrated my birthday at State Bridge ” for 11 years or so, and this is close enough,” said Tisler, a flooring contractor who lives in Minturn.

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Tisler expects 50 to 100 of his “close friends” to attend the first ever Campout for the Cause, slated for Sunday and Monday at Rancho del Rio, alongside the Colorado River. Eight local musical acts will perform over the course of two days, including Bonfire Dub, The Laughing Bones, Tony G, Third Wind, Fidelity Underground, Blackbridge, The Wallbangers and DJ Logic.

“There’s a lot of local talent, and a lot of variety of music,” said festival organizer Scott Stoughton. “We have bluegrass and house music by DJ’s ” it doesn’t get more diverse than that.”

The festival is more than music though ” there will be yoga sessions and drum circles as well, Stoughton said.

“Having attended a lot of festivals I’ve had a lot of ideas about the things I’ve liked,” he said. “Yoga is a nice, free, easy thing to have that people are drawn too … it’s come for five minutes, practice your stretches while holding a beer can.”

The entire reason Stoughton, who is the lead singer of Bonfire Dub, one of the bands performing, got involved with music was because he watched a drum circle at a show.

“I was like, ‘Wow, that is tribal,'” Stoughton said. “It’s a really positive thing, and we’ll have a couple of really good drummers lead the circle, which will happen after the concerts on Sunday night. There’s a big riverside camp space set aside for acoustic guitars and drum circles.”

Around 60 percent of the profit will be split between two charities ” the Central America Foundation, a charity started by local Kelley Brupbacher that aims to provide educational and medical help to Central American communities in need; and Realm of Caring, a charity dedicated to providing youngsters with music education.

Stoughton and the owner of Rancho del Rio, Jeff Gibson, started talking about hosting Campout for the Cause two years ago, not long after State Bridge burned down, said Stoughton, who used to be the general manager and a partner in State Bridge.

“I’ve been throwing shows at State Bridge for the better part of 10 years, and it’s totally in my blood. I really love throwing outdoor events, especially campout events on the river ” and Rancho is a really magical spot,” Stoughton said.

This weekend marks the first festival at the 28-acre Rancho del Rio in 10 years, he said. If all goes well, the site will likely be home to more music events, including Yarmony Grass bluegrass festival in the late summer.

In order to see this music festival succeed, many people, including the artists, are volunteering their time and services at the lowest rates possible, Stoughton said. In turn, festival organizers have tried to keep the ticket prices as low as possible ” $25 for two days.

“It’s kind of like a co-op festival,” he said. “If we cover our expenses, then the money goes to the charities and the people who donated their services … it’s a musical, community event.”

Tisler, for one, is looking forward to celebrating his birthday alongside the river again, and not far from his beloved State Bridge.

“It’ll kind of bring us back to the old days, back to our roots,” Tisler said. “It’ll be good because so many people are really missing State Bridge. It was a place to bring everyone together and this will be a great place to do the same, and kick off the summer.”

What: Campout for the Cause

Where: Rancho del Rio, four miles north of State Bridge

When: 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday; 11 a.m. to sundown, Monday, rain or shine

Cost: $25 for a two-day pass; parking costs $5 per car

More information: Visit for more information or to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available at Mojo Music in Avon and Get Hi Gallery in Eagle-Vail.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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