Free concert added for Fourth of July in Steamboat
Move to supplement loss of fireworks meets resistance from rodeo organizers
June 19, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the concert has been scheduled for July 4 despite resistance from Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series organizers.
In about a week, the seedling of an idea to replace the annual Steamboat Springs fireworks show came to fruition.
Despite meeting some resistance at Tuesday’s Steamboat Springs City Council meeting, the Free Summer Concert Series will be producing a special show at 8:30 p.m. July 4 at Howelsen Hill in partnership with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the city of Steamboat Springs.
The band is 1964 … The Tribute, a Beatles tribute band dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine as the "best Beatles tribute on Earth." They focus on the early 1960s era of the Fab Four, complete with costumes and in-character onstage banter.
As it became apparent that the dry, hot summer could make a fireworks show too risky because of fire danger, the three organizations were looking to put together an event that could enhance the evening for residents and visitors.
Jon Waldman, who has been booking acts for the Free Summer Concert Series since its inception 21 years ago, said he couldn't recall a year with a free show on the Fourth of July. But these are "extenuating circumstances."
"We know there's going to be a lot of locals and hopefully a lot of tourists in town," he said. "I think there will still be a lot of great things for people to do.
"The idea is to give people as much fun and entrainment as they can get."
Steamboat Springs Fire Chief Mel Stewart made the announcement Monday morning that the about $25,000 fireworks show officially was canceled and that the city plans to pay for the Fourth of July show with $15,000 of the fireworks funds.
A Fourth of July without fireworks still is shaping up to be an action-packed week.
The 105th annual Cowboys' Round-Up Days Ranch Rodeo is the evening of July 4 at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena. Rodeos also are being held June 29 and 30 and July 6 and 7. In addition, the cattle drive down Lincoln Avenue is returning this year at 10 a.m. July 1.
On the Fourth of July, the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the concert is set to start at 8:30 p.m.
The fact that the two events fall so closely together was a point of concern for the Pro Rodeo Series board of directors.
At Tuesday's City Council meeting, rodeo board member Paul Strong said rodeo board members are worried that even though the concert's start time was moved from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., it could severely impact revenue on the rodeo's biggest night of the year.
"We're still very concerned about the financial impact," Strong said. "Revenue was $48,000 last year, and we're concerned it's going to be half that. Hopefully, it won't be that."
Deputy City Manager Deb Hinsvark was involved with the concert's planning process and said she hoped the events would complement each other.
"It made more sense to dovetail these events," she said at the meeting. "Our intent and interest was in enhancing the rodeo experience so that there's something to do after. I think for the most part, we're going to accomplish that."
After hearing feedback from the council members Tuesday, Hinsvark said the organizations involved would look at holding the concert on another day that week instead of Wednesday. But on Wednesday morning, Hinsvark announced that day and time would not be changed.
Concertgoers are encouraged to walk, ride bicycles or park in outer-lying lots and ride the free bus downtown.
July 4 events begin at 7 a.m. with the Steamboat Springs Lions Club annual Pancake Breakfast at Little Toots Park. Also on July 4, the Ski Jumping Extravaganza will take place at the summer jump on Howelsen Hill from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Series rolls on
Because of the special circumstances surrounding the Fourth of July show, the Free Summer Concert Series announced that it still plans to book another show in August, bringing the total number of concerts to six for the first time.
The series kicks off with Dark Star Orchestra on June 30 at Steamboat Ski Area, followed by Trampled by Turtles on July 13 at Howelsen Hill.
Zach Heckendorf, a young singer-songwriter from the Front Range who is attracting widespread attention, will co-headline a homegrown Colorado-themed show with longtime Front Range band The Samples on July 21 at Gondola Square.
MarchFourth Marching Band will be playing at Howelsen Hill on Aug. 17, and one more show is yet to be announced.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com