Matt McCrae digs into the area that soon will house the State Bridge Lodge outdoor music venue. The amphitheater, cabins and yurts will open Memorial Day weekend with Campout for the Cause III. Visit www.state
bridge.com for more information.

Scotty Stoughton/courtesy

Matt McCrae digs into the area that soon will house the State Bridge Lodge outdoor music venue. The amphitheater, cabins and yurts will open Memorial Day weekend with Campout for the Cause III. Visit www.state bridge.com for more information.

State Bridge Lodge in Bond to open with Memorial Day weekend concerts

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The State Bridge Lodge, pictured here in late March, will offer live music, events and outdoor recreation opportunities once again this summer after a devastating fire burned the amphitheater down in 2007.

Summer lineup

May 28 to 30: Campout for a Cause III with Shakedown Street, Great American Taxi, Elephant Revival, Frogs Gone Fishin’ and more

June 12: Leftover Salmon

July 1 to 3: Realm Music Festival

More dates to be announced. State Bridge is located on Colorado Highway 131 just south of the Routt County border on the Colorado River.

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— After the State Bridge Lodge in Bond burned to the ground in 2007, the venue’s general manager, Scotty Stoughton, of Vail, watched the ashes smolder and felt what he calls a “huge void” inside. Not surprising, considering the legendary outdoor music venue had been a big part of his life for more than a decade.

“I got the call at 5 in the morning,” he said. “We had just had the most successful weekend ever at State Bridge. We were finally making money, and then it all went away. When it burned, it was pretty devastating.”

After the fire, Stoughton stayed away for about a year, but the venue’s energy slowly drew him back, and now, as the talent buyer and event operations manager, he’s helping owner Doug Moog bring State Bridge back.

The site doesn’t look like much. In the footprint of where the lodge used to sit, just a few miles south of the Routt County border on Colorado Highway 131, big yellow bulldozers are moving big rocks and piles of reddish-brown dirt. There are six yurts along the periphery. But in a little more than a month, in time for a Memorial Day bash, there will be an outdoor amphitheater and a stage.

“The whole concept is to create the world’s most beautiful and magical 500-person boutique amphitheater. That’s the goal — to bring State Bridge back to the people, back to the community,” Stoughton said.

The music

Stoughton has been busy booking acts for the summer lineup. Camp Out for the Cause III, a music festival that benefits nonprofit groups (which Stoughton founded), is scheduled for May 28 to 30. Shakedown Street, Bonfire Dub, Great American Taxi, Elephant Revival, Frogs Gone Fishin’, The Sessh and other local and regional acts will perform.

The grand reopening party is set for June 10 to 12 and will include a June 12 show by Colorado slam grass favorites Leftover Salmon, who performed many times at the old State Bridge.

“A lot of the booking is being done on the relationships we have, since right now, looking at the site, it’s rocks and dirt and the stage isn’t built,” Stoughton said. “It’s been a challenge. But we’re building a really great calendar, and the people who have played here before are super excited about it.”

One of those musicians is Eagle County resident Jake Wolf, the drummer for Grateful Dead tribute band Shakedown Street. Wolf performed at State Bridge for the first time in 1998. For 14 years, Wolf spent every birthday, May 30, at State Bridge.

“It’s so special to me,” Wolf said. “It was always the first weekend everyone got out and said, ‘Hey, the snow is gone; summer is starting. It’s time to kick off the snow boots and slip on the sandals.’ The energy there is so great; I missed it.”

It’s also fitting that Wolf will be there to help christen the new State Bridge. He was one of the last musicians to play on the stage before the fire.

“I’m so excited; I can’t wait,” he said. “It’s been a long time since we rock ’n’ rolled down there, for sure.”

Stoughton and Moog have a vision of a State Bridge that’s family-friendly and hosts everything from concerts and festivals to weddings, corporate events and the like.

“Michelangelo said, ‘Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it,’ and that’s how I look at State Bridge,” Moog said. “It comes with a beautiful setting and a rich history in the hearts and memories of people around here, and those largely define the ‘sculpture’ that we are still discovering.”

As the lodge prepares for the summer season and works on amphitheater and stage construction, it plans to hold volunteer days with barbecues on Saturdays. To RSVP or for more information, call the lodge at 970-653-0113 or email info@statebridge.com.

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