Friday, August 20, 2010

Several Species Of Small Furry Thoughts-Mile High Music Festival

Well we are back and sunburned, and quite tired. However, we are also elated. This festival, now in its third year, proved to be a fun, exhausting, and ultimately a very memorable event for us. We used to do lots of festivals - Lollapalooza, Winter Park, Blues Festivals, KTCL’s big adventure, etc. As they got more corporate, and we got less desperate to take ANY opportunity, we have scaled them back over the years. So, we were a little rusty as we approached this festival. We put in a lot of work on the front end to set up autograph signing sessions with almost 20 different bands, and we brought in a mountain of product to meet the demand. On the day of, the weather looked promising as we started setting up our tent. At 11:00 A.M. the crowd started pouring in and it was ON. The next two days were a blur of music, fans and fun. Here are some observations
As I have been saying for awhile - the local scene RULES!!! We did signings with Danielle Ate The Sandwich, The Motet, Matt Morris, and The Knew that proved to be some of the biggest crowds of the weekend. This is extremely gratifying for us and for the scene as a whole.
The national bands that signed were uniformly cool to us, and their fans. Who stood out? Well, Cypress Hill smoked up their fans and were everything you would want them to be; Amos Lee was amazingly sweet and humble and had a huge crowd; Brits One Eskimo were cute as bugs and showed why they are going to be a “next big thing” Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi proved to be a lovely, polite married couple who really connected with their fans: newcomers Oh!My Stars were one of the surprise hits of the weekend, selling a ton of CDs: dance sensation Bassnectar brought the scantily clad “Beta Girls” with him, which proved exciting: Twist and Shout favorites Drive-By Truckers brought all 6 members and were as cool personally as they are musically. And that is just a few of the highlights. For the most part the bands were amazingly gracious and we had large crowds for almost every signing.

I was amazed at how many of the bands, managers, road people and hangers-on I knew. The 25 years I’ve spent in this business has resulted in a large pool of friends and professional acquaintances that is starting to really feel like a community.
The staff of The Mile High Music Festival was without a doubt the real secret weapon of this festival. The whole festival ran without a hitch and the support personnel were just unbelievable. All the stage-hands, and vendor village staff, and the band handlers, and even the security guards were exemplary pros in every way. (Special thanks to Tommy, Darlene, Memphis and Alana for their superb help).
In a very real way, the folks at AEG created a musical city in the desert outside of Denver, and it ran smoothly and pleasantly for all concerned. I have to hand it to Chuck Morris, Rob Thomas, Don Strasburg, and Brent Fedrizzi the four main guys behind this festival: you guys did an incredible job both understanding this market, and giving it what it really wanted -congratulations!
Ok, so it is back to real life now. I remember from the early days doing festivals that the next days felt kind of like a psychedelic hangover - nothing is quite real, and it takes you a while to get life back to normal - a nice old-timey feeling.

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