America’s first music festival honors Peter Rowan

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Organizers of the American Music Legacy Festival say the new three-day event at the Dillon Amphitheater was designed to celebrate great American artists who have had long careers and influenced countless people. In its first year, the festival will focus on bluegrass musician Peter Rowan, who is expected to take the stage all three days and perform with many bands.

“He’s just been very influential in the larger genre of bluegrass,” said festival organizer Mike O’Brien of Peak Performances.

The festival kicks off Friday July 23 with Fireside Collective, the Lil Smokies and the Del McCoury Band. On July 24, Big Mon, Tim O’Brien Band and the Infamous Stringdusters take the stage. The festival ends on July 25 with Bowregard, Dan Tyminski Band, Los Texmaniacs and Railroad Earth. Longmont-based musical duo Bonnie and Taylor Simms will host the three-day event.

Rowan has started or performed in many groups, and some of the performances will pay homage to these projects. Rowan, who formerly directed Peter Rowan & Crucial Reggae, will join Big Mon on July 24 as the group perform Bill Monroe songs in a reggae style. On July 25, Los Texmaniacs will join Rowan to perform music for the Free Mexican Air Force.

Although Rowan is not necessarily a household name, O’Brien explains that he is a musician to musician, someone who has influenced people in everything from the bluegrass genre to the modern jam band, to the reggae and folk-rock scenes. , as well as many singer-songwriters. .

“The version which won him the most acclaim was probably Old and on the way, with Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, ”says O’Brien. “Many songs continue to be covered by more modern jam groups over a forty-year period. Peter continues to perform at major festivals across the country.

In the final on July 25, Rowan will perform songs from this album with Bill Nershi of String Cheese Incident. O’Brien suggests that some of the performers at the 49th annual RockyGrass festival that takes place the same weekend in Lyon could travel to Dillon to sit at the end of the festival.

“Some of these people say, ‘Game day decision. I’ll see how I feel, ”he says. “It takes about an hour and 45 minutes to drive from Planet Bluegrass to the Dillon Amphitheater.”

To help preserve the musical legacy, film crews will interview the musicians, capturing their camaraderie as well as their stories. “We’re having a multi-camera shoot and we’ll be recording the entire event,” says O’Brien. “We will have these archive footage and we will work with all the groups to get the clearances and see what comes out of it.”

O’Brien wishes to make images of the performances available to museums.

“Smithsonian is the one I had in mind,” he says. “They are very supportive of American music. We want to provide them with these images in an archival sense, if they want to do something historically with them. ”

The Dillon Amphitheater is located near the Dillon Reservoir, with a beautiful view of the mountains to the west; O’Brien likens the scene to a painting by Bob Ross. Some of the groups will be recording songs on a boat on the lake as part of the PonTune Sessions video series. “It’s remarkably unique,” ​​he says. “It’s just spectacular, like sitting in a postcard while watching the show.”

While the setting doesn’t change, in the years to come the genres celebrated at the festival could, depending on who the organizers decide to honor.

“We would like to plant a seed this year and grow as we go along,” concludes O’Brien. “It looks like we’re getting good interest. ”

The American Music Legacy Festival begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 23 and continues through July 25 (doors Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.) at the Dillon Amphitheater. Tickets start at $ 35 and three-day passes are available; to purchase them and get more information, visit dillonamphitheater.com.


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