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Funky weather forces band to cancel Rifle gig

By Carrie Click

Post Independent Staff



RIFLE – Tornadoes, floods and thunderstorms – and an inability to get to Colorado because of the bad weather – caused Grand Funk Railroad to cancel their appearance in Rifle Saturday night, according to Judy Hewitt, president of Rifle Rendezvous.

“We got a call from Dan Brewer, one of the band members, about 9:30 this morning,” said Rifle Rendezvous president Judy Hewitt on Saturday. “He told us that three of the band members were stranded – two in Traverse City, Michigan and one in Chicago – because of bad weather.”



According to the National Weather Service, over the past few days, Traverse City and Chicago – along with much of the Midwest – have been hit by severe weather, flooding some areas, and putting others on tornado watches. The bad weather is expected to continue through the coming week.

Hewitt said Brewer told her that usually the band arrives at their concert venue at least one day in advance so that if they have any travel problems, they have enough time to arrange for alternative transportation.

“But in this case, two of them had been trying to get out of Michigan for two days,” she said. “And now, one was stranded in Chicago.”

Hewitt said Rifle Rendezvous staff members worked with band members Saturday, “trying everything to get them to Rifle.”

She said she contacted Garfield County Airport’s aircraft services to see if the band could be flown in privately.

Hewitt said she spent about two and a half hours on the phone with Brewer trying to figure out alternate routes to get the band to Colorado, but due to the time constraints and weather concerns, it wasn’t possible.

“He told me it’s the first time they’ve had to cancel in ages,” Hewitt said. “He wanted to thank everyone who bought tickets, and apologized for not being able to get here.”

In the meantime, Hewitt rallied to find a replacement band at the last minute. Mack Daddy, the band that was to have opened for Grand Funk, stepped in to headline the show. And a local band Scooze offered to open for Mack Daddy.

“Our concern now is paying for the staging,” Hewitt said. The lights, stage and sound equipment cost Rifle Rendezvous $15,000, which was budgeted to be paid for through Grand Funk’s concert.

“Rifle Rendezvous is a nonprofit organization,” Hewitt said. “We created this event for the community.”

Hewitt said she talked with Brewer about possibly giving a concert in Rifle some other time – when the weather is cooperating.

“He is very willing to work with us in the future,” she said.

Hewitt said all those who bought tickets and didn’t use them should contact her.

“We’re just terribly sorry for the inconvenience, and we’re glad to work with people,” she said, adding that people need to present their unused tickets to her and her staff for refunds.

Judy Hewitt can be reached at 625-4634.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

cclick@postindependent.com


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