TELLURIDE – While festival season is still a couple of weeks away in Telluride, Ridgway is the place to be this weekend, with the Balloons-n-Varooms festivities getting underway today.
The hot air balloon festival has been growing every year, and this time includes a celebration of classic cars and plenty of live music.
Tonight, check out “grass-n-glo,” the balloon glow and free bluegrass concert at Ridgway’s Town Park, featuring Rock Creek & Co., headed up by the talented singer-songwriter Mary June Page.
Page says she’s healing and getting back into playing after taking a digger and breaking her collarbone on the final day of the ski season in Telluride.
“It’s actually kind of a funny story,” says Page. “Everybody was in costume that day, and I was at the top of 5 where I saw Ms. Piggy and a Pirate. I took off and went skiing pretty fast by this little witch – she was about three feet tall. I peeled off onto Silvertip, carving really hard. Ms. Piggy and the pirate were following me when I dropped off the steep side. When they came over the top, they saw me sliding down and then I hit my left shoulder really hard. I heard something crack, and I knew I had broken my collarbone.
“So, I’m lying there, and Ms. Piggy and the pirate ski up to me and help me get down to the bottom of 4!”
Undaunted, Page still wanted to get back on the mountain. “I was in pain, but I thought, ‘Dang it! I’m going back to see my managers and everyone at Goronno,’ so I went back up. Eventually, everyone finally talked me into getting in the sled and going back down. I had a lei, grass skirt and Hawaiian shirt on, and had to get in the sled, so I’m sure it looked pretty funny. Anyhow, I laid in the ER during the end of the season party.”
Page also sustained a fractured rib in the accident, but she says she’s up for the gig tonight.
“We’ve actually had a couple of great practices, so we’re gonna come out gangbusters,” says the indomitable Page. “We’ve got a great band, and we’re going to have a dobro player with us tonight, Bill Goodheart, who is the son of Freddy Goodheart that played with Bill Monroe.”
Rock Creek & Co. includes the talented Carolyn and Don Stiltner, well known for their work with the Ouray County trio Dallas Divide, with Carolyn on upright bass and Don on banjo. The group also features multi-instrumentalist David Monson on mandolin. “He’s the fabulous honky-tonk ragtime piano player at the Outlaw in Ouray,” adds Page.
She notes that the band has been working on some new material and is ready to rip it up tonight, so get to Ridgway’s Town Park starting at about 6 p.m. for Rock Creek & Co. and the balloon glow. Grass-n-glo should be a blast!
By the way, look for Rock Creek to be busy as can be this summer, with gigs slated at Tommy’s in Telluride during the Bluegrass festival, the KOA Campground, and Backstreet Bagel in Ouray. Battle-tested and mother approved, Rock Creek & Co. equals pickin’, grinnin’ and toe-tappin’ fun!
Saturday at Balloons-n-Varooms, the festivities continue with the classic car show complemented by classic car tunes at the Remax field, located at the junction of highways 62 and 550. Think “Hot Rod Lincoln” and “Low Rider” and you’ve got the idea.
Later, there’s a barbecue on tap and another balloon glow at Ridgway Reservoir, where there’s no admission fee for local’s appreciation day on Saturday.
The finale to the festival is the Balloonist’s Bash with live music from The Rockodiles, and the final competition in a new event this year, “Dancing with the Cars.”
I’m not quite sure how this works, but there’s a chance to win 500 bucks, and you can dance your pants off with The Rockodiles, who are always a good time, with their classic covers of your favorite rockers.
The free show starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday night at the Ridgway Events Center. Check out the full schedule for the balloon fest at ridwaycolorado.com. It’s sure to be roaring and soaring this weekend in Ridgway!
In nearby Norwood, the party is back on at the recently re-opened Livery, where The Blissters will be blissfully rocking the house. The band has been together about three years now, and you may know the local guys from their annual gig at the Placerville Fire Department’s summer shindig.
The four-piece rocks out, with Mike Kennedy on vocals and rhythm guitar, Kevin Hauze on lead guitar, Steve Daval on bass, and Ben Boiani on drum kit. The band has been practicing a bunch, and getting tight on their classic rock covers and cooking originals. Check ’em out in Norwood, starting at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
If you’re looking for a little reggae, get up to Paonia this weekend where the marvelous Mountain Mystics will be grooving at the Blue Sage on Saturday night. The band re-formed last year, and Walter St. Clair and the guys will be jammin’, with their vivacious mix of roots, rock and reggae. There’s also a new recording in the works, so look for plenty of new material from the magical Mountain Mystics. Well worth the trek to Paonia on Saturday.
In fact, several local bands have been recording during the off-season, including The Voles. “We’ve got the drum and bass tracks laid down,” says drummer Gary Damsky. “Now we’re just waiting for the illustrious Lane Rider to return from Europe to lay down the guitar parts.” The Voles will rock this summer!
Jazzman Mike Pale has also been sifting through hours of live recordings from BluOrbit shows during the ski season and recording some solo stuff. Look for the funky jazz outfit to kick out a homegrown CD soon.
Fans are still anxiously waiting the debut studio release from Fractalized, which should be coming out anytime now. Look for the Ridgway rockers to rip, as usual.
It’s just two weeks and counting until the Telluride festival season officially gets underway. Enjoy the down time, June is going to be jumping.