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A feast of lobster and music in Carbondale

Stina Sieg Post Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent File Photo/Kara K. Pearson
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CARBONDALE, Colorado A small group of bands, a makeshift stage on a flat bed truck thats what Lee Hollowell remembers from the first Mountain Music Fair.It was pretty Carbondale-y back in that day, said the front man for Big Daddy Lee and the Kingbees.Oh, how things change.Add a few more years, dozens more groups, a name change and a whole mess of lobsters, and youve got the 7th Annual Carbondale Music & Lobster Fest. Crawling into town tonight, the blowout features nearly 50 concerts (at seven venues) by musicians from all over the valley. In addition to listening to local tunes, attendees can nosh on fresh Maine lobster, shipped in for this very occasion. It just has that small town atmosphere, with lot of music going on, said local player Rob Miller.Miller and his wife, Nikki, will be performing for the crowds with Trunk this time around. The festival was in its third year the last time they made an appearance which Miller recalled fondly. Though he knew it was a stretch, he compared the view from the stage to looking at Woodstock. The number of people may not have been close, but the atmosphere sure felt right. It wasnt just his playing. It was the dancing, the eating, the total picture that was so cool for him. It was, it is, a real community thing.I think everybody feels a little involved, he said, Even if theyre not necessarily cooking or eating anything.For Hollowell, the heart of all this is the music. Theres something about the vibrations, the beat, the voices that touches everybody, he insisted. At least thats how it works with him. Events like this arent about financial compensation (after all, most of the musicians are being paid in lobster), but about something more elemental, more necessary. Performing his music for people is just what he needs to do.Its not enough to play it, he said. You have to share it.A fest veteran for the last six years, the guitarist wont be bringing his electric, bluesy sound to the

block party this year. But hes still a complete believer in the festival and especially its founder, Steve Standiford. It was Standiford who first approached him, asking him to play all those years ago. Hollowell talked up Standifords venue, Steves Guitars, and recalled jamming with the guy.He was nothing but impressed by Standifords vision.Steve has been so instrumental no pun intended at keeping music alive and going in Carbondale, he said.Later, Standiford just laughed, good-heartedly, about all hed created.Well, somebodys got to do it, right? he said.Since opening Steves Guitars in 1993, hes hosted more than 500 groups. Every single Friday, people come to his small, downtown space, because they know hes going to have some musician lined up whether it be a greenhorn local or some famous, seasoned singer. This festival, it seems, shows the same dedication, just on a grander level.Its got to be the power of live music, he said, explaining what keeps him doing what he does. It still keeps it fresh.This is a time to celebrate local musical acts, he went on, to give them a chance to show off their stuff. Thats the core if of all this. And everything else the food, the new venues, the increased number of attendees well, thats just gravy. Its grown a lot from the first flat bed stage, let me tell you, he said, letting out another laugh.


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