A Medley of Musicians for Strawberry Days | PostIndependent.com

A Medley of Musicians for Strawberry Days

Savannah Kelley
Special to the Post Independent

A stage full of flavor will light up the Strawberry Days entertainment this weekend with a lineup filled with ’80s music, rock ’n’ roll, Colorado folk and Americana.

The Main Stage entertainment kicks off Friday evening at 5 p.m. Later that evening, John Michel, a Glenwood Springs resident, headlines with his band Brother’s Keeper. The band performed two years ago on the Strawberry Days stage and is excited to return for a second time.

“We love to perform in front of festival crowds,” Michel said. “We love to perform and get our music out to as many people as we can.”

Although the band has toured internationally for 20 years with a number of different musicians including John Popper and Dean Ween, for Michel, it’s nice to get to play close to home.

“For me, it’s really fun because I’m from New York City originally, but this is my hometown now,” Michel said. “I love being here, and it’s great because I can be at the venue in five minutes, which is not always the case.”

The Saturday evening headliner, 6 Million Dollar Band, initially formed in the 1980s when most of the members were still teenagers. After playing through the ’80s, the band broke up in the early ’90s when the members’ paths grew apart after high school. The band decided to get back together in 2007, about 20 years after it was first formed.

“We wanted to try to do it as a professional performing group,” band member Ryan Day said. “Nothing is more rewarding than taking the stage and putting out the best quality of a show that we can.”

The band stays true to its roots, playing covers of everything from ’80s new wave to ’80s rock.

“We try to play the music so well so that if some of the members of these groups that we are playing were to stumble upon us covering their songs, they’d think, ‘Those guys are doing a good job,’” Day said.

Since 2007, 6 Million Dollar Band has performed nationwide and is widely recognized as one of the best ’80s bands in the Rocky Mountain region. Although they have never played in Glenwood Springs before, the Denver-based band has played in Snowmass, Vail, Avon and all up and down the I-70 corridor.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the great music we play to Glenwood Springs and being part of a great tradition,” Day said.

Outside of Colorado, the band has also had some national exposure, opening for Brett Michaels, as well as the founding members of the Electric Light Orchestra. The band continues to enjoy performing for crowds, no matter the number of people in the audience.

“We love performing for audiences and love putting smiles on the faces of the audience if we’ve done a good job,” Day said. “We want the audience to go home and say ‘I’ve had a good time.’”

Stray Grass, Sunday afternoon’s headliner, formed 14 years ago and primarily plays in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

“The whole premise of Stray Grass is that we stray away from traditional bluegrass because we just want to add to it,” Gary Tullio, one of the co-founding members of the band, said. “We play traditional music, we play old rock ’n’ roll, we play new grass, Americana. It’s a melting pot of genres.”

Strawberry Days reaches out to not only tourists and residents like Michel, but also to entertainers who want to partake in the annual traditions.

“Our favorite venues are festivals,” Tullio said. “It’s always some sort of celebration for the area you are in.”

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