Sold-out MusicFest at Steamboat to offer 2 free public shows |

Sold-out MusicFest at Steamboat to offer 2 free public shows

Outdoors concerts today, Saturday at Gondola Square

Jack Ingram
Matt Stensland

— Leave it to a group of Texans to want to have a washers tournament and an outdoor concert in the middle of a Colorado winter, said John Dickson, chief of Dickson Pro­­duc­­tions.

But that’s exactly what the participants of the 26th annual Music­Fest at Steam­boat plan to do Satur­day, and all of Steam­boat Springs is invited.

MusicFest, an annual group ski trip and music festival produced by Austin, Texas-based Dick­­son Pro­­duc­­tions, will offer two public outdoor shows this year for the community and visitors.

The shows are at 1:30 p.m. today and Saturday at Gondola Square at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

“It’s kind of our thanks to the community,” Dickson said. “There’s a lot of interest locally to MusicFest and the music. We thought it’d be a great way to say thanks for the hospitality.”

MusicFest has long been sold out, with thousands of tickets going to participants from across the country. Limited local tickets were sold in fall.

Today’s show will feature Max Stalling and Bart Crow Band. Saturday will offer entertainment from public show veteran Jack Ingram and Canadian band Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans.

The Saturday show also will feature a Cajun food cookout and the finals of a washers tournament that will go on among MusicFest participants throughout the week. Dickson said washers, a backyard game, is popular in the South.

But it’s the music that provides the drawing power for the festival.

“In general, MusicFest artists are what I call genuine music, a genuine art,” Dickson said. “It’s not commercial pop music. It comes from the heart and soul, and it’s always entertaining. These artists love being up in Steamboat. Here, they experience a little vacation and down time. You get that sense on the stage; it lends itself to a little more special of a show.”

Throughout what Dickson calls a “no-nonsense, no-frills” festival, 40 bands will play in a tent in the Knoll Parking Lot throughout six days. The festival begins at 2 p.m. today. Parking in the lot is limited during the festival because of the location of the tent on the north end of the lot. The lower triangle of the Knoll lot also will be closed. Parking will go back to normal Jan. 14.

Texas-born musician Max Stal­­ling is returning to MusicFest for the fourth time and will take the stage for a public show this afternoon for the first time.

“It’s a beautiful part of the world,” Stalling said about Steam­­boat. “It’s awesome. It’s all around a great, great situation.

“But we’re a little anxious about playing outside, being from a place where the average temperature is 72 degrees,” he joked.

Stalling said he’s excited to be back in Steamboat because of the camaraderie and relaxed atmosphere among the musicians.

And then there are the participants, whose energy and zest for music will be contagious.

You might see a few bottles of Tito’s vodka around or hear talk of their home state, Stalling said.

“They’re friendly, gregarious and they’ll tell you a lot about how great Texas is,” Stalling said. “But I don’t mean it to the exclusion of other places. I don’t think people would make the trip here if they didn’t have a reverence and a love for the beauty, the people and the nature of the people here.”

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