Sopris Music Fest returns to Carbondale |

Sopris Music Fest returns to Carbondale

The 15th annual Sopris Music Fest is returning to the streets of Carbondale on Friday and Saturday and taking over a few bars, restaurants and other venues, too.

Steve Standiford, owner of Steve’s Guitars, said he started Sopris Music Fest in 2001 as a way to celebrate local music.

“I was here when the original Mountain Fairs were all local bands, and we just wanted to organize a local music festival,” Standiford said. “Almost all the bands that have played, I’d say 99 percent over the years, have been local musicians.”

This year features about 20 bands and musicians — so far. Standiford was still solidifying the lineup on Thursday.

“Herding volunteer musical cats into a lineup is a challenge,” he joked.

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All the performances during Sopris Music Fest are free, and all of the bands are playing for free, which is a testament to the tight community among local musicians.

“It’s so amazing that they all come and play for free,” Standiford said. “Most people are just into it — good stage, good PA, they get to play. Most don’t even ask about money.”

Sopris Music Fest has grown in many ways over the years. It started out as 3 or 4 hours of music on a flatbed truck, Standiford said.

The first year was during a big Glenwood Springs fire that led to an I-70 closure. One of the musicians was stuck on the interstate, and Standiford ended up filling in for him.

“It started off with a few speed bumps and challenges,” Standiford said with a laugh. “It took a little turn when the town of Carbondale wanted to link it up with Lobster Fest. That was probably the biggest one.”

But then the recession hit, and the town was forced to cut back on some special events. Sopris Music Fest scaled back a little, but it’s still a big local event. For the last six or seven years, Standiford said, the festival features two days of live music.

One thing has stayed the same, though.

“It’s kept the theme of having as many local musicians to town to play all over the place,” Standiford said.

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