Bazaar of alternative culture debuts in Oak Creek |

Bazaar of alternative culture debuts in Oak Creek

The inaugural Ditchfest event celebrating local talent in Oak Creek kicks off this weekend.

— Oak Creek will welcome a bazaar of alternative culture, music and art this weekend with the inaugural DitchFest event.

The mission of the new event is multifaceted, yet sincere — to recognize South Routt’s local talent.

"There is a lot of musical and artist talent in the area, and we wanted to create a venue to give them a voice and encourage that," said Callie Bradley, one of the event’s main organizers. "We want to make sure people are still interested in doing this in the future."

Fostering the opportunity for future generations to create and grow, the nonprofit organization will dedicate a scholarship to one local, innovative and insightful high school senior each year. This year's $500 scholarship was donated by Peabody Energy, and the application period opens on Wednesday, October 15 and closes Saturday,November 15.

What started out as a bluegrass festival in the backyard of close friends evolved into an event that will feature a Rat Rod car show, DitchDigger Games and an open art show. Along with a number of local food vendors, including Hungry Dog, Rachel's Smokin' BBQ and the Circle R Gastropub, beer from Butcherknife Brewing Co. and Storm Peak Brewery will be available to enjoy.

"We really wanted to have a lot of diversity and not to be pigeonholed and just have bluegrass music," said Jamin McKee, another event organizer. "It's a well-rounded festival in a way that fits with our mission and has something for everybody."

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Recognizing the deep-rooted mining history of Oak Creek, the name of the festival uses the town’s edgy nickname. Bradley said the name seemed to fit a festival celebrating alternative artistic culture.

To bring attention to local artists from varying mediums, the art show will include painting, sculpture, photography, tattooing, welding, glass blowing, graphics and handmade jewelry. To enter the show, participants simply bring their pieces of art work to Decker Park and bring something to display them on. Throughout the day, onlookers can vote for the "Most Innovative Art Exhibit," and awards will be given to the top three innovative pieces.

DitchFest also will offer a full lineup of live music from a host of bands, including The State Bridge All-Stars, Six Gun Fido, La La Bones, Interstate Stash Express, and the headliner of the event, The Larry Keel Experience.

Known for choosing enthralling and engaging material, the innovative Larry Keel Experience has collaborated with the likes of the Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon and The String Cheese Incident.

"He's a low-key guy who isn't all about just being in the spotlight," McKee said. "He's more about the music, and it should be a great show."

For one weekend, Oak Creek hopes to be a destination venue for music and art.

"Instead of it being a place people just pass through, we want it to be something South Routt will be known for," Bradley said.

"It's about being proud of the town that you live in and giving back in some way,” McKee added. “These artists and musicians deserve recognition."

DitchFest tickets are available at All That Jazz, the Circle R Gastropub and Spiro's.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

Schedule of DitchFest

Saturday, September 20

Gate opens at 11 a.m.; last call is 6:30 p.m.; park closes at 7 p.m.


11:20 to 12:20 p.m. – The State Bridge All-Stars

2 to 3 p.m. – La La Bones

3:20 to 4:20 p.m. – Interstate Stash Express

4:40 to 6:50 p.m. – The Larry Keel Experience

Other stuff 

11 a.m. – DitchDigger games, car show and art show registration
 opens; vending and tattoo booths open

1 p.m. – DitchDigger games entry ;lottery

1:40 p.m.– Coal-shoveling contest begins

3 p.m. – DitchDigger coal cart dash begins

3:30 p.m. – Car show and art show judging forms due

4:20 p.m. – Contest/show winners announced

7 p.m. – Event ends; park closes

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