New offering for concert goers at the Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series | SteamboatToday.com

New offering for concert goers at the Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series

Ziggy Marley drew thousands of music fans to Howelsen Hill last summer for the Steamboat Springs Free Concert Series. This year, the series will offer a different kind of experience for concert goers.

— Concert-goers will have a new view this summer at the Free Summer Concert Series.

The series has partnered with Butcherknife Brewing Company to create Butcherknife Brewing Company Local Lounge, which will offer an exclusive viewing area, two free drinks from the private full bar, private bathrooms that eliminate waiting in lines and an opportunity to donate to the series to bring in notable acts.

"Its geared more towards individuals and locals," said Scott Fox, Free Summer Concert Series board member. "In the past, we feel like we've been able to sell the corporate tents, which has allowed us to really take our talent budget to a new level. The goal of our current board has been to get some big, diverse talent and take the series to a higher level. And I think we are seeing that with this year's five really, really strong name acts."

The lineup, which will kick off June 24 with Booker T. Jones, includes Karl Den's Tiny Universe, Hot Rize, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers.

"I've gone from days where I used to be up front-and-center at a concert to now, going to concerts where everybody wants to get backstage VIP passes or have access to green rooms," said Brian Smith, another Free Summer Concert Series board member. "I think it enhances the experience, honestly, because it's just different than standing out in the crowd. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but I think audiences have evolved now to where they don't want to just be in the crowds."

Geared more toward businesses and corporations, the Music Lover Tents, Fox explained, was an idea that came with the hope of generating funds for the talent budget six years ago. When facing the stage, the two tents are located to the right. The experience includes catered food and beer and wine, and fits 65 guests for $6,000 or 200 guests for $10,000, with an inclusive media package.

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For $200, an individual will receive access to all five of the summer shows through the Locals Lounge, and only 200 passes, which are transferable, will be sold. This new lounge will be located next to the two Music Lover Tents.

"We've thought of this as an opportunity for the regular concert goer to get more of a VIP experience and at the same time, have the opportunity to contribute more of a dollar amount towards our music budget, helping the series grow and get stronger," Smith said.

All proceeds from the tents, after food and drink expenses — except in the Locals Lounge, which is sponsored by Butcherknife — go toward the overall talent budget.

"The bottom line, for us, is that it's costly to put the series on to get these bands like we are getting right now," Fox said. "The talent budget has exceeded $100,000 this year. It's not free to get these acts, but we are still keeping it free for people who go and still, there's a lot of work to do."

To purchase the tickets, visit steamboatfreesummerconcerts.com.