Missed the Boat members organize first Hot Routt Music Festival in Steamboat
Steamboat Springs — Members of local mountain grass band Missed the Boat spend a lot of time in the car together.
And on one of those lengthy road trips between performances across the West, the idea was born: Steamboat Springs needs a music festival.
Guitarist Ryan Cox, harmonica player Peter Hall and drummer Pat Waters are the driving forces behind the Hot Routt Music Festival, an all-day music event July 23 at Sweetwater Grill.
With the Yampa River rushing by and a lineup of several up-and-coming regional bands, Cox thinks Hot Routt is exactly what Steamboat needs this summer and for many summers to come.
“There are avid music fans here,” Cox said. “People want to get out and see live music. It’s nice to be able to do that in your hometown, to be able to wake up and walk out your front door and see 10 awesome bands.”
Something for everyone
The event will feature the Fox Street Allstars, with Bill McKay, of Leftover Salmon, as a headliner and Odell Brewing Co. as the flagship sponsor.
And like Missed the Boat’s marathon car rides, the festival will offer a marathon day of music.
Local jazz musicians Organstein open the show at 11 a.m. and electro-funk rockers String Board Theory play a late-night set inside the bar.
In between, the festival will host a multitude of regional and national acts including Fort Collins’ Good Gravy, New York City’s livetronic band JAB, Allman Brothers tribute band Mountain Jam, Vail’s Frogs Gone Fishin’ and rockers James and the Devil.
Missed the Boat will take the stage just after 6 p.m.
“I think because we’ve played at so many festivals, we have a pretty good sense of how they run and what it takes to put on a successful, fun festival,” Cox said. “We started with the most important thing, which was the music. I don’t think these bands are on the regular festival circuit, so this lineup is kind of unique.”
The festival will take place mainly on the lawn at Sweetwater, and Cox said there will be more than 400 tickets available. There is access for those younger than 21, and Cox said the daytime sets will be ideal for family.
The night sets of String Board Theory and JAB will be for those 21 and older and are included only on a VIP ticket, which also includes one free Odell beer.
Sweetwater Grill owner Kim Haggarty said she was glad to be a part of a festival that she thinks will continue to grow after its first year.
“If you look at places like Telluride, they have these music festivals every weekend,” she said. “It’d be nice to get more stuff like that here in Steamboat. We just don’t have it. And here, it’s a perfect location on the river. I thought it’d be fun.”
She said that knowing the organizers and their devotion to music, she thinks this festival “is the first of many to come.
“They’re just passionate about it,” she said.
In addition to providing nonstop music — DJ Psychonaut and Rob Drabkin will be playing in between sets — the event also has a community aspect.
A portion of the ticket and beer sales will support Friends of the Yampa, a nonprofit organization focused on river recreation and preservation.
Odell even donated a few kegs for the cause.
Cox said the organizers felt it was appropriate to support the organization because the river is a centerpiece not only of the venue, but also of the music of many mountain bands.
“Certainly, our music is influenced by Colorado, by the beauty of the mountains and rivers,” he said. The Yampa “strikes a chord with everyone in Missed the Boat and everyone who’ll be attending the festival.”
Cox said the concept of building a festival from the ground up will help keep it sustainable in future years.
Although it will start as a one-day festival in downtown Steamboat, he hopes it can expand to whatever level appropriate to keep it appealing and affordable to residents.
“We want it to become a staple of the Steamboat culture,” he said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, Call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com
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