By all accounts the first-ever Snowmass Mammoth Fest, a derivitve of the 10 year old Chili and Brew fest was siiiiiiiiiick. Snowmass Mammoth Fest was a two-day affair with 9 bands, 28 beer purveyors and about 30 chili makers spread out over vast acerage at a new venue, Snowmass Town Park. The new production included a festival-friendly camp ground. Everyone had a blast. Music, Chili and Brews...what more could we ask for.
Everything fell into place perfectly for Snowmass Mammoth Fest. The weather was the majestic Colorado equation...hot, clear sunny days and cool easy-breezy nights. The Mammoth Fest was produced by SBG Productions out of Telluride, a new collaborator with the town of Snowmass Village. SBG is the highly experienced outfit that produces the very successful Telluride Blues & Brews Festival every September, since 1994. It was clear from the get go that SBG had great vision for Mammoth. They moved the venue from Fanny Hill to the flats of Town Park where Mammoth Fest-ers could spread out, dance, play hacky-sack, corn-hole (bean bag tossing) and frisbee etc. Mammoth added 4 late night shows at Snowmass Village. The whole event was very well organized and very well attended.
Click 4 pix. SNOWMASS MAMMOTH FEST
Music,Chili and Brews flowed copiously all weekend. Stamina was required if you wanted to do it all...but the family friendly crowd kept up an incredible energy over the 2-day fest. The mellow, yet upbeat vibe of the crowd definately added to the festival experience. The musical line-up was ecclectic and included somthing for everyone. The shows kicked off on Day 1 at 5 pm on Friday afternoon. Leading off was YOU ME & APPOLLO, a bluesy, folk-rock band from Fort Collins, Co. The beer and chilli was still gushing vigorously during their fast moving and dance-worthy set. Next up was veteran southern rockers JJ GREY and MOFRO. Hailing out of the swamps of North Florida, J.J. Grey admitted he was a little travel fatigued after a late show the previous night in NYC and a 2 hour layover in Denver. But once the jams started...J.J. rose to the occassion and Mofro kept him rolling. A picturesque twighlight and gorgeous sunset complimented the music in a dreamlike fashion. Next up, after dark and under the stare lit night in Snowmass was the all-star funk-soul-jazz super group RETURN to the DARK SIDE of the MOON (click for artist profile) performing the iconic Pink Floyd album in it's entirety. Dark Side of the Moon, a seminal rock album and one of my favorites is celebrating it's 40th anniversary. Laying out there in the fields of Snowmass...I actually had a flash back to 1973. The super- band put their own funkified beats to it... and Dark Side of the Moon never felt better. After that almost out-of-body experience, we jumped on the convenient bus and unfortunately left the late night shows at Venga Venga and Basecamp to the youngsters.
Day 2 took a second wind and some energy. Beer and Chili began streaming at noon. Due to a previous engagement...we missed LORD HURON and twenty one pilots...the first two performers. We rose to the occassion to catch in succession, KARL DENSON'S TINY UNIVERSE, STRFKR, THE JOY FORMIDABLE and AWOLNATION. Karl D, as he calls himself, played a strong set of the horn enfused jazz that made him famous. STRFKR...an unsual name for a band...until you start adding the vowels, then it becomes clear. Strfkr is a hippster, synth-indie-rock-pop band out of Oregon. Their music is ethereal and the crowd was enraptured. Next up, THE JOY FORMIDABLE was a highlight for me. The guitar infused hard / indie rock trio from Wales obviously brought their A-game to Snowmass. Fiery lead singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan had the crowd eating out of her hands. Her bright red dress glowed in the twightlight. The Joy Formidable showed an energy and passion for performing that some of today's bands seem to leave backstage. Bryan's haunting voice and powerful guitar licks created a frenzy at the front of the stage. Bryan left no doubt...she's a firecracker. AWOLNATION was the finale. Awolnation is a band of electronic rockers out of California fronted by Aaron Bruno and signed by Red Bull Records. Many in the festival crowd were long time Awol-ers and the Snowmass Mammoth Festival finished on a high note as Awolnation's set crushed.
Click here for BAND PROFILES
Snowmass Mammoth Festival was a first class event. The venue, the musical line-up, the brews and chili...everything was great. In my mind...this is how festivals should be. The vibe...while difficult to describe in words ...was awesome. Wide open spaces, a beautiful setting, perfect weather...good music, good food, good drinks and good people. The lack of fences was one noticable positive. It may be a little early to fire-up for next year's Snowmass Mammoth Festival...but helllz yeah...we'll be there.
Click 4 pix: SNOWMASS MAMMOTH FEST