Steamboat Springs The Free Summer Concert Series will return June 30 to Steamboat Springs with a concert from Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra.
The show will be one of two free concerts this summer that will take place at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, celebrating the rejuvenated base area and promenade with an event that draws thousands of people together.
Jon Waldman, who has been booking acts for the Free Concert Series since its inception 21 years ago, said Dark Star is a strong opening act for the series.
“Obviously, the Grateful Dead’s music transcends so many generations at this point,” Waldman said. “And they’re the top Grateful Dead tribute band out in the music world today. They are it.
“They’ve had members of the Dead sit in with them.”
The second act announced Thursday is Trampled by Turtles, a bluegrass and indie folk outfit from Minnesota. The band has a strong following in Colorado, and recently played the Snowball Music Festival in Avon.
“They’re a high-energy, bluegrass act, but they’re exploding on the music scene right now,” Waldman said. “I think it’s a coup for the series to be able to present them at this stage of their career. They’re blowing up nationally.”
The Trampled by Turtles show is set for July 13 at Howelsen Hill, which has hosted all of the shows for the past few years and will host three of the five shows this summer.
Scott Fox, vice president of the Free Summer Concert Series board, said the organization is looking forward to returning to the mountain.
“We’re real happy to come up there and kick off the mountain’s new promenade and base area development,” he said.
Jim Schneider, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s vice president of skier services and a board member of Mountain Village Partnership, said the first concert will offer a chance to celebrate the upgrades to the base area.
“We’ve been working toward this for the last five years,” Schneider said. “This is the perfect way to kick that off and let everybody know that the mountain is back and alive and we’re no longer under construction and that it’s a beautiful place to be.”
He said the base area was constructed with large concerts in mind: Crews added a dirt platform for a large temporary stage that would face up Headwall, electrical access and a cool creek in which revelers can wade. The new promenade and permanent stage (too small for a Free Summer Concert Series show) also add to the base area amenities.
“This ties everything in a nice bow,” Schneider said.
Fox said more announcements are on the way in coming weeks as the lineup is finalized. The organization’s booking budget always depends on the funds it raises throughout the year.
Last year, the series began selling Music Lover’s Tents for each show to help raise money. The idea carried momentum into this year, and Fox said there still are two tents left for concerts this summer. The board is considering added more tents.