The inaugural Mountain Town Music Festival will take over River Run Village in Keystone on Friday, Aug. 22, and Saturday, Aug. 23, with live music, kids’ activities and harvest season treats from local chefs.
“Colorado is known for its love of great music and outdoor concerts,” said event organizer Maja Russer, with the Keystone Neighbourhood Co. “And our state is also known for its late-summer peach harvest. We thought, Why not combine the two? So, we created an outdoor music festival with the best national acts and then added the extra appeal of the delicious and juicy Colorado peach harvest for a fresh, new take on our summer festival schedule.”
The festival opens at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, with music from Portland, Oregon, string-infused quintet Fruition. Kellen Asebroek, one of three lead singers for the band who also plays acoustic rhythm guitar and piano, described Fruition as a “vocal harmony-driven rock ’n’ roll band.”
“A lot of people like to call it folk rock or Americana rock, so we kind of stick with that,” Asebroek said. “But like most bands these days, it’s hard to say one thing because music has evolved with the people playing in the band.”
With five contributing members, three of whom write songs, the band’s background of musical influences is vast, Asebroek said, ranging from classics such as The Beatles, Neil Young and Bob Dylan to more contemporary artists.
“It’s hard to pin something down when you’re as obsessed with music as we are and as obsessed with living as we are,” he said. “I’m looking at the sky right now, and that’s pretty influential, just the world.”
Fruition is no stranger to the Colorado mountains, having played in Aspen, Crested Butte and Durango, as well as multiple gigs in Summit County and all over the Front Range. From outdoor venues such as Keystone’s River Run Village and the upcoming Nedfest in Nederland to tiny, college-town holes like Gabe’s in Iowa City, Iowa, also on their current tour, the band loves it all.
“We love both; they’re both amazing opportunities,” Asebroek said. “The outdoor one is cool because it’s so relaxing and family-friendly, and then you get the other side of the coin of a rock ’n’ roll bar where it’s raging. Both get your blood flowing in different ways when you’re on stage, both do the trick, both get you going.”
Asebroek said he’s looking forward to exploring Summit County a bit more and getting to be a part of the brand-new Mountain Town Music Festival, and he’s especially jazzed to try the peaches.
“I’m really excited about Keystone to eat the peaches,” he said, with a laugh. “We played the Keystone Bluegrass and Beer last year and it was a blast. We met a lot of new fans and played a couple of fun sets. It’s a different fest, but there’s some cool bands on the bill; we open for Pato Banton and Rusted Root.”
RUSTED ROOT HEADLINES
Michael Glabicki, founder, front man, songwriter, singer, guitarist and general spirit guide for Rusted Root, said the band would be including three or four new songs in its Keystone set, which closes out the first day of the Mountain Town Music Festival on Friday, Aug. 22.
“We’re really excited about that and developing the music in front of the audience,” he said. “Even though the songs aren’t completely ready yet, that’s the way that we like to figure out the arrangements and approaches to material is in front of a live audience.”
The songs are potential candidates for the band’s next album, one that Rusted Root hopes to record independently through an Indie-A-Gogo crowd-funding campaign.
“It really gives us the creative flexibility that we’ve grown to love, and we love doing the campaigns, too, because it’s a way for us to get out of our box a little bit as far as connecting with the fans and offering packages that are fun and unique experiences for them,” Glabicki said. “We have one that’s a pick your own, so we got one that was a hike into the woods and an acoustic set at the top of a hillside for this person and their friends. Just a lot of different things, and the sky’s the limit.”
Rusted Root has been traveling to Colorado and specifically Summit County for years, playing venues from outdoor festivals to Lakeside Bowl in Dillon.
“That was sort of an impromptu thing,” Glabicki said with a laugh. “We were at the radio station there and we had some time to kill and they were doing an event there at the bowling alley, and we thought, well, let’s play it. Just announce it on the radio right now, and we’ll go get a PA down there and play a show.
“Within an hour, about 350 people showed up. Going to Colorado was our first tour ever, on a tour bus and really touring, and so for us, Colorado is kind of like our playground in a way and also, too, the landscape there is different and unique and we’ve always really associated ourselves with the land and the earth’s energy.”
“Send Me on My Way,” Rusted Root’s mega-hit from the early 1990s, has seen air time on radio stations for decades, as well as being featured in everything from movies to TV shows to car rental ads. Glabicki said his favorite appearance of the song commercially was on the silver screen.
“I really loved it in the movie ‘Ice Age,’” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised with how that turned out and how good the movie was. I went to see it with my son and I hadn’t told him that the song was in it. It was a great experience because No. 1, the movie was so great and funny and pretty awesome, and when the song came on he jumped up on his seat and pointed at his dad and said, ‘That’s you!’”
Since their first breakout tune, the band members have become more comfortable and relaxed with one another, allowing them to be more intuitive with their music and explore different grooves and vibes, Glabicki said. Much of that will come through in their performance in Keystone.
“In the past, it was more organic and crazy and spastic, not to say that’s not there anymore, but we’ve kind of included a lot of other things and added a lot of other things to it,” he said.
PEACH IN YOUR FACE
Saims Fruit, out of Palisade, is providing the sweet and juicy Western Slope peaches for the festival, inspiration for Keystone chefs to create some amazingly delicious dishes for their four food booths.
“This is the perfect time to do a peach-themed food event,” said David Scott, executive chef of mountain dining at Keystone Resort. “This time of year is when we see some of the best peaches in the world, and we get to utilize those to make our sauces and our chutneys and cook with; it’s a real pleasure.
“When they are ripe and they are juicy and they are fresh, there’s nothing like it. For me, as a chef, I really enjoy using local Colorado ingredients, so it’s a treat to be able to use them.”
The natural sweetness of the peaches in 9280 Tap House’s peach nectar chicken wings contrasts with a creamy, chipotle-ranch dressing, and other fresh produce is the star in the Olathe Sweet corn and Pueblo chili chowder with Breckenridge Bourbon and peach relish from Black Bear Grill in the Inn at Keystone.
“There’s going to be a combination, a balance, between the peach nectar sauce and the chipotle ranch, which will be spicy and creamy, so it’s a good balance between the sweet and the hot,” Scott said. “And the smoothness of whiskey, the bite that whiskey has, the peach will round that out and add a complimentary sweetness to it.”
Last Lift Bar, in the Mountain House Lodge, is serving up “whole hog” sliders, a mini mountain of smoked pulled pork, pit-smoked ham, applewood-smoked bacon, braised and pickled red cabbage and peach barbecue sauce. Peaches add sweetness to the sauce, in lieu of the typical brown sugar, Scott said.
“It’s adding the sweetness and a fruit flavor to it, so it elevates a barbecue sauce, and we make that barbecue sauce in house,” he said. “It’s a good combination with the smoked pulled pork and the rest of the products in there to give it a touch of sweetness so it’s not completely savory. We make our own potato chips that go with that.”
The final offering from the Keystone team is the Bighorn Bistro and Bar’s grilled Colorado lamb chops with mustard-peach chutney and four-potato hash. Scott said the spiciness of the mustard and the sweetness of the peach brings contrasting flavors to the palate.
“I think of flavors kind of like a sommelier would think of wine, either foods that contrast each other or compliment each other,” he said. “These two will have a balance of the sharpness of the mustard to the roundness of the peach, and it’s a very unique flavor combination.”
Scott said Keystone’s festivals help local chefs highlight their talents and restaurant offerings, giving residents and visitors a chance to sample some creative cuisine, and the Mountain Town Music Festival will be in the same vein.
“It’s one of our last festivals, before Oktoberfest, and we want to get as many people out here as we can to enjoy the music and the food and celebrate the end of summer,” he said.