Jorma Kaukonen, right, and Jack Casady, formerly of Jefferson Airplane, will open the 20th season of Steamboat Springs’ Free Summer Concert Series on July 1 with their blues rock band Hot Tuna.
Updated March 30, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.
Steamboat Springs Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version to correct Scott Fox's position on the Free Summer Concert Series Board.
Flying high on the buzz from Friday’s fundraiser at Old Town Pub, Steamboat Springs’ Free Summer Concert Series is ready to begin announcing its 2011 concert lineup.
First up: Hot Tuna.
The 20th season opener on July 1 features the blues-rock band woven from two members of famed psychedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane. Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen started the band in 1969 when Airplane was on a hiatus, and they play acoustic and electric blues tunes informed by the pair’s rich musical history together.
Concert series Board Vice President Scott Fox said Hot Tuna exemplifies the series’s diverse reach this concert season.
“That was one of the goals the board put together last fall; we really wanted a diverse music scene,” he said. “Hot Tuna really brings that to the table. They’ve been around forever. It really appeals to our older crowd, and it’s going to be an awesome show, man. They’re fantastic.”
Friday’s fundraiser drew almost 200 people to Old Town Pub, where prizes valued in the thousands were given away in drawings.
Local musicians the Brian Smith Band and a Steamboat all-star collaboration — Todd Musselman, Willie Samuelson, Dan Caro and Andy Pratt — donated their time to play at the event.
The funds raised will go toward to the nonprofit organization’s general fund, most of which is spent on booking marquee acts.
Fox said the artist budget has increased the past few years.
“We’re spending $60,000 on five bands,” he said. “That’s more than in the past and because there’s been some successful fundraisers and some successful fundraising ideas.”
Those new ideas include the concept of VIP tents. Five tents — one for each show — were sold at $5,000 apiece in fall.
In the 2010 season, which showcased bands including the Rhythm Devils and Easy Star Allstars organizers spent about $40,000 on artist fees.
Fox said maintaining a higher profile in the off-season and the support of the new nine-member board and the local music community have helped propel the organization into its 20th year.
Fox said the announcement of at least two more bands could come in the next two weeks.
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or e-mail ninglis@SteamboatToday.com