The Rowdy Shadehouse Funk Band will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at Sweetwater Grill as part of the Keepin' It Free fundraiser for the Free Summer Concert Series. The fundraiser is $40 per person or $75 per couple.

Courtesy photo

The Rowdy Shadehouse Funk Band will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at Sweetwater Grill as part of the Keepin' It Free fundraiser for the Free Summer Concert Series. The fundraiser is $40 per person or $75 per couple.

Fundraiser to benefit Steamboat's Free Summer Concert Series

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Past Event

Keepin' it Free fundraiser for the Free Summer Concert Series

  • Saturday, May 5, 2012, 6 p.m.
  • Sweetwater Grill, 811 Yampa Avenue, Steamboat Springs
  • 21+ / $40 - $75

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— It may say “free” right in the name, but it takes tens of thousands of dollars to put on one of Steamboat’s most popular summer events at no cost to the participants.

And the annual five-show Free Summer Concert Series could use all the community support it can get to help finalize the last three acts of its 21st year.

The concert series organizers will hold a Keepin’ it Free fundraiser at 6 p.m. Saturday at Sweetwater Grill, and the outcome could have an impact on the talent booked, said Scott Fox, Free Summer Concert Series board vice president.

“The thing with this fundraiser is we would like to commit a nice portion of the fundraising to our talent,” said Fox. “We’re excited.”

The event has expanded from past Free Summer Concert Series fundraisers: The $40 ticket earns its holder a free drink, appetizers, a live performance by the Rowdy Shadehouse Funk Band and a raffle ticket to put in for one of six prize baskets.

The prize baskets are themed and include a golf package, a fitness package and a restaurant package, among others. Additionally, a small but stacked silent auction will feature 20 items including a paddle board, a cruiser bike and SmartWool gear.

Fox said the organization plans to hold its spring fundraiser on Cinco de Mayo each year and keep with the theme of the holiday with tequila tastings and other festive fare.

So far, the series has announced that Dark Star Orchestra, a Grateful Dead tribute band, will kick off the series June 30 at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

Folk rockers Trampled by Turtles have been announced for a July 13 show at Howelsen Hill.

Fox said the series aims to spend about $60,000 on bands for this year’s series, staying on par with last year’s talent budget.

That’s up from $40,000 two years ago, and the series will continue to aim high.

“The long-term goal a couple years down the road is to increase that to $80,000,” he said. “I think the goal for a lot of the board members is to have those Grace Potter concerts, that G. Love-type talent level.”

But there’s more to it than just artist fees: There’s still the price of the stage, personnel and technical equipment, which rises along with the talent level.

“We’ve got some insurance, promotions — there’s a lot of things that are kind of behind the scenes that we have to do to put on those types of shows with the type of talent we’ve been getting,” Fox said.

At $40 per ticket, the fundraiser essentially costs $8 per concert for those looking to support the series. And while Fox said the concerts are beginning to draw more and more out-of-towners, the event remains decidedly Steamboat, with support filtering in from many local businesses and individuals.

“I feel pretty strongly that the summer concert series is as local as it gets,” Fox said. “It’s everybody down there.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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