Bela Fleck and the Flecktones open concert series

Rain or shine, eclectic, Grammy-winning jazz, funk, rock and bluegrass band starts at 6 p.m.

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Rain or shine, an evening with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones will kick off the Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series today at Howelsen Hill.

Internationally renowned banjo player Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Future Man and Jeff Coffin will be playing their eclectic, Grammy-winning jazz, funk, rock and bluegrass starting at 6 p.m.

The four-member band returns to Steamboat en route from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, where they played last weekend. The group cites influences that include hip-hop, jazz, Gaelic airs, bluegrass, classical and world music among their diverse musical sessions. The band's most recent album, "Little Worlds," incorporates guest appearances from Bobby McFerrin, Sam Bush, Derek Trucks, Nickel Creek, the Chieftans, Jerry Douglas and Bernie Williams.

The Flecktones' music has been featured in such diverse venues as a promotional video for the Athena Mars Exploration Rovers and choreography by Grand Rapids Ballet in Michigan. Later this summer, the band is planning a three-act tour with Yonder Mountain String Band and Keller Williams, according to their Web site. And to illustrate just how far the band's musical range takes them, they also are planning a symphony show with the Utah Symphony this summer.

Now in its twelfth year, the free summer concert series will include activities for children, a petting zoo, food and beverage vendors and a bike corral to store concertgoers' nonmotorized transport. No dogs or alcohol may be brought into the concert.

This will be the first of six free concerts this summer. The series also brings Sonia Dada on July 10, South Austin Jug Band on July 30, Galactic on Aug. 12, Little Feat on Sept. 4 and Delbert McClinton Sept. 5. Upcoming shows will be held downtown at Howelsen Hill or at Headwall at the base of the ski area.

-- To reach Jennie Lay call 871-4210

or e-mail jlay@steamboatpilot.com

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