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One of the real values of living here in the Vail Valley is the plethora of music – From great regional musicians preforming at the numerous clubs promoting live music to free concerts sponsored by any number of towns to the growing number of festival options, Vail Valley residents and guests have plenty to choose from. Each year there seems to be a few stories that stand out as emblematic of the Valley’s musical legacy. Today, I’ll look back at some of these stories of song that happened in 2016.


The Town of Avon and Music Festivals– It seemed like an endless soap opera of will they or wont they, but by the end of the year, we had two new music festivals to call our own and a continuation of a the free August of music. And though the town will sorely miss Winter Wondergrass, the Cover Rock Festival and Outlaws and Legends may well become cornerstone Vail Valley events. Furthermore, even though the free Avon Live series in August was hampered by poor weather, the line up was aggressive and bolds well for the future. And after seeing the large vote counts for councilman Jake Wolf, it’s clear the residents have deep appreciation of and clearly desire more live events at one of the Valley’s top music venues- the Pavilion at Nottingham Park.

Duncan Horner Named VPAC Executive Director. After an exhaustive search across the country, the Vail Valley Foundation wisely choose to promote from within for the vacancy created by the departure of long time director Kris Sabel. Horner, who himself had the opportunity to perform in front of the Queen of his home country England, will bring new energy plus a international savvy that should help continue to bring the VPAC into the new millennium. We look forward to his first full season to come.

Return of The Vail Music Faire– Though ridiculous rain darkened the skies and kept fairgoers chilly, the end result was an afternoon of song and merriment missing form the valley for ten years. Full appreciation to the Fred and Judy Alexander Foundation for funding the event and kudos extreme to Peter Fontanese for coordinating the vast variety of artists that participated in the jamboree. The Faire had been a regular tradition for years, but took a decade plus off before being revisited. It would be a shame for this event to be shelved again. It’s a glorious celebration of the talented musicians and artists whom call this valley home. If you missed it, there is a well-produced YouTube video available of all the performances.

Bonfire Dub Release Gypsy Roots– A few years in the making, this talented band of some time members and full time valley treasures like Scotty Stoughton, have released an album that showcases the energy they bring to their too few and too far between live performances. An aural travelogue that features guest appearances by Elephant Revival’s Bridget Law and Grant Farm stud Tyler Grant, the album is revealing but not nearly as much as the band’s surprised appearance on the Vail Undressed calendar.


Elephant Revival’s Revival– Though they hail from Nederland, the Colorado band seem likeslocals and this year they experienced enough highs and lows to make for a engaging reality TV show. The band of Bonnie Paine, Charlie Rose, Dango Rose, Daniel Rodriguez and Bridget Law achieved the pinnacle of any bands musical life with a headlining gig at the revered Red Rocks only to be humbled a few days later when their tour bus caught fire before a North Carolina tour stop razing the vehicle and the priceless personal instruments caught on board. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the experienced seemed to revive the band that finished their tour in support of their beautiful 2016 release Petals. They are set to headline the sold out Winter Wondergrass Festival in Steamboat this February.