Summer of Music returns to Two Rivers Park
July 1: Under a Blood Red Sky, Let Them Roar
July 8: Humming House, The Currys
July 15: Otis Taylor, Damian Smith
July 22: Lionel Young Band, Rich Ganson
July 29: Groove Trotters, AVQ
The Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts’ annual Summer of Music series kicked off on Wednesday. But if you missed the free opening concert, don’t fret. You still have a whole month to enjoy world-class music in Two Rivers Park.
From now until July 29, every Wednesday at 6 p.m., patrons are able to enjoy this fun, family friendly event. With 12-14,000 attending each year, Summer of Music is Glenwood’s second largest event, trumped only by the Strawberry Days festival.
“People love the fact that they get to come to a park filled with happy people and enjoy a free concert that really is a quintessential part of Glenwood Springs,” said Christina Brusig, executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. “It’s a fun opportunity to just cut loose.”
This year’s Summer of Music series features six nationally touring acts: Afro-Cuban Jazz Project, Under a Blood Red Sky (U2 tribute band), Humming House, Otis Taylor, Lionel Young Band and Groove Trotters. One of the highlights this year for Brusig is Otis Taylor, who is widely known and notoriously difficult to pin down to a committed gig.
“For the whole Roaring Fork Valley, that’s an incredible reason to celebrate, that Otis Taylor wants to play Glenwood Springs,” she said.
Brusig said the process for putting together the Summer of Music begins in September with a fundraising campaign. They need $100,000 to make the concert series happen, and that money is raised by soliciting businesses, writing grants and asking the public to bring a donation to the park when they come to enjoy a concert. Anyone can donate online at http://www.glenwoodarts.org, too.
“Starting in September of each year, we fundraise $100,000 to make this free to the community,” Brusig said. “It’s Glenwood Springs’ second largest community event, and it’s only second to Strawberry Days. And raising $100,000 isn’t as easy as it might sound, so we go all out.”
To choose the bands, the Center for the Arts forms a Summer of Music Talent Committee, fronted by Summer of Music Director Chris Bank. The committee sifts through about 100 submissions from all over the country to choose the acts that will perform.
“Everybody throws the names in the hat of people they’d like to see,” Bank said. “I make phone calls to see who’s available, who’s affordable, who’s coming through. We find people that now want to be a part of it from out of state.”
“It says a lot for Glenwood Springs that people from all over the country want to play here,” Brusig said.
When choosing the bands, the committee watches videos of their live performances as often as possible rather than relying on studio recordings. When they can, committee members go out to see bands perform live.
“We make sure that they’re a perfect fit for an outside venue, with big sound,” Brusig said.
Bank said one of his criteria is to make sure the music can be danced to.
“I like the groups that are engaging and keep the dance atmosphere going,” he said.
The music itself is always phenomenal, but the whole ambiance is what makes Summer of Music concerts so enjoyable. Attendees are able to pack a picnic and bring their own drinks — alcoholic or otherwise — into the park. Or they can experience some great local food from Gandhi India’s Cuisine, Slow Groovin’ BBQ, Jeffrey’s Sorbetto and Sweet ColoraDough.
“I highly recommend eating at the park because it’s like high-quality festival cuisine,” Brusig said.
There are no pets, smoke or glass allowed at Summer of Music. For more information, visit http://www.glenwoodarts.org.
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