Steamboat Springs Dancers raised a cloud of dust around the stage at the Tennis Meadows Thursday while the String Cheese Incident, James Brown and Corey Harris brought the crowd funk, bluegrass and blues tunes.
Having both the increasingly popular String Cheese Incident and the legendary James Brown together in one show was incredible, some concertgoers said.
"I like it when they just jam. We just came for the combination of the two," said Jessica Simpson of Larksburg, Colo. "It was awesome."
The show brought more than 5,000 people out Thursday, box-office manager Laura Greenberg said. The large outdoors field was packed near the stage, making for a huge outdoors party in the midst of Steamboat's green mountains.
A couple dozen of those thousands hula-hooped throughout the concert. It's a tradition that the String Cheese Incident started a few years ago and that their fans have continued.
The hula-hoops people use are larger and heavier than a typical plastic hoop, making it possible to hula-hoop for hours, moving along with the rhythm of the music.
"It's a way of dancing. It's another way of connecting with the music," said Derek Goldman of Montana. "It's like there's another medium here I'm working with."
The fact that the concert took place on the Fourth of July did not go unnoticed by a lot of the spectators. Many wore clothes in patriotic colors or with American flags.
James Brown, introduced as the Godfather of Soul, also brought a patriotic spirit to the concert.
Brown's band and back-up singers all wore red, but Brown himself appeared wearing a bright blue suit and a big smile, his trademark black hair parted to the side.
"I don't care what nobody says," Brown sang out. "Right now we're going to sing God Bless America."
Brown sang the song's title and launched the audience into an a-cappella chorus.
After that, his back-up dancers strode out in American Flag bikini tops, and Brown sang "Living in America."
The crowd bobbed their heads and swayed back and forth with the music, sometimes responding to Brown's calls to get funky and have fun by clapping their hands and cheering.
Dean Ludwick of Steamboat saw James Brown's only other Steamboat appearance: When Brown appeared at the 1993 opening of the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge in town.
"He's still great," Ludwick said. "He's James Brown. When he's rocking, he's rocking."
When the String Cheese Incident took the stage, spectators closed in around the stage and sent the dust flying with their own funky dance moves.
The energy in the crowd was obvious and several concertgoers said it's that energy that frequently brings them out to String Cheese shows.
"They take the energy from the crowd and go with it," Becca McConnell of Florida said about String Cheese.
Some people had used up enough of their own energy after listening to Corey Harris and James Brown, and so left before the headliners even took the stage.
"It was good, but it was more than my old body could handle," Rod Bell of Utah said.
Overall, police and medical officials said the concert did not create a lot of problems.
"It's been totally uneventful," said Dave Kleiber, a detective with the Steamboat Springs Police Department.
There were several drug-related arrests during Wednesday's show, as well as an incident in which someone broke the back windows of three police patrol vehicles at the concert site, said Sgt. Rich Brown of the Steamboat Springs Police Department.
"I think we had more arrests this year then we did last year," Brown said, referring to Wednesday's show.
Many of the arrests were felony charges, related to possessing and distributing drugs such as Ecstasy, cocaine and mushrooms. "But I don't think that it's unusual with the concert crowd," Brown said.
Dave Hesselton, an EMT who worked all day Thursday, said that he hadn't seen any serious injuries.
"It has been pretty slow. It's a lot better than it was last year," Hesselton said. "Now it's just aspirin, sunscreen and minor cuts."
He said there could be more problems as the night wore on, but that he hoped it would stay slow.