Billy Franklin, top, will bring several musicians from his hometown of New Orleans to perform at Sweetwater Grill today at about 9 p.m. The event, called Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, will feature top-tier musicians, Gulf Coast fare, beads and drinks.

Courtesy photo

Billy Franklin, top, will bring several musicians from his hometown of New Orleans to perform at Sweetwater Grill today at about 9 p.m. The event, called Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, will feature top-tier musicians, Gulf Coast fare, beads and drinks.

Sweetwater Grill hosts New Orleans music event in Steamboat today

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If you go

What: Mid-Summer Mardi Gras featuring New Orleans musicians

When: After the Free Summer Concert Series today

Where: Sweetwater Grill, Eighth and Yampa streets

Cost: Free

Call: 970-870-9500 for more information

Past Event

Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, New Orleans-style music

  • Friday, August 13, 2010, 9 p.m.
  • Sweetwater Grill, 811 Yampa Avenue, Steamboat Springs
  • 21+ / Free

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— After the Free Summer Concert Series event lets out tonight, those who wander into Yampa Street’s Sweetwater Grill will be met by a multifaceted attack on the senses by the spirit of New Orleans.

Not only will there be Gulf Coast fare and Bourbon Street-inspired drinks, but music-hungry listeners will be bombarded with an earful of authentic New Orleans world music, played by artists flown in for this weekend’s celebrations.

“It’s going to be really funky, groovy music,” said New Orleans-born guitarist Billy Franklin, who will play in the ensemble. “It’ll be the spirit of New Orleans music in terms of the vibe and the people. The musicians are from Venezuela to Brazil, but they’re all living in New Orleans currently.”

“Mid-Summer Mardi Gras,” as the event is called, was the concept of Franklin, a guitar and bass player who spent many years in Steamboat Springs and returned for summer to play gigs and record music.

When his friend and former band mate in Holden Young Trio, Eric Rolls, decided to have his wedding Saturday at Sweetwater Grill, he required the highest caliber of musicians.

Rolls wanted to fly in his own musicians, which include Franklin’s EOE band mates bassist Doug Dietrich and percussionist Gabriel Velasco, keyboard and organ player Eduardo Tozzatto, and Michael Jenner, of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, on tenor sax.

Franklin and Sweetwater Grill owner Kim Haggarty said it would help spread out the wedding budget to host a public show Friday for the community. They wanted a full-blown NOLA-style party; one that is more than beads and masks.

“It’ll be a lot in the style of Mardi Gras tunes, and we’re going to be bringing a lot more of the Caribbean and world music,” Franklin said. “These guys are such great soloists they’ll turn it into something amazing.

“This is something that’d be hard to do on any budget.”

Local DJ Leprechaun will spin during the set break.

Haggarty said the new restaurant, which opened last month, usually likes to keep its live music on the early side, closing the bar by 11 p.m. But Mid-Summer Mardi Gras will be the exception to the rule.

The musicians will be set up inside to avoid issues with noise ordinances, Franklin said.

“It’ll be a different vibe,” Haggarty said. “They’re going to play all kinds of music; it’s going to be fun. People, when they leave the (free summer) concert, they usually want to keep along those same lines. They want to keep going; they want a party.”

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