Music and Art Abound at Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest

SHEL is one of many local bands to play at this year's Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest

By Charlie Englar
With the dog days of summer in full swing, the residents of Northern Colorado are once again prepping for the Choice City’s birthday. And this year’s installment of the annual August assembly of world-class national and local musicians proves once again that we have much to look forward to.
The 2011 edition of Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest will be held in Old Town Fort Collins on August 12-14. With arguably the strongest musical line-up from top to bottom the festival as ever had, the twenty-third edition of this free fest has a plethora of options for attendees to check out over the three days. A multitude of Colorado bands will be on the bill, along with national headliners G. Love & The Special Sauce, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Asleep At The Wheel. Food, beer and arts vendors and various “activity areas” round out the festival nicely into a family-friendly, music infused weekend.
On Friday night, the Mountain Avenue Stage will belong to G. Love & The Special Sauce. Combining blues, rock and hip-hop, the three-piece band brings funk, energy and a little bit of sly humor to each show.
The newish husband/wife mega group (eleven members in all) that is the Tedeschi Trucks Band will be headlining the Mountain Avenue Stage on Saturday. Derek Trucks, a 32-year-old slide guitar master, is well known in the jam band and rock communities as the current co-lead guitarist of the Allman Brothers Band, as well as lead guitarist for his own band, The Derek Trucks Band. Word on the street is that the talent and familiarity for one another within the group makes for one heck of a show.
Closing out the festival on Sunday is arguably the most accomplished act at this year’s festival. Asleep At The Wheel has nine Grammys under their belt, and the Austin, Texas-based group has been doing their thing for forty-some years. Their unique fusion of western swing and boogie will be on full display on Mountain Avenue for all to see.
On the local side of things, over 80 Colorado bands will be playing the fest, including the Emmitt-Nershi Band, Mountain Standard Time, Dead Floyd, Constitution, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Fierce Bad Rabbit, Musketeer Gripweed, SHEL, Sour Boy Bitter Girl, Whitewater Ramble, The Motet and The Patti Fiasco.
Bringing so many great bands together and using a successful selection process is a key ingredient in giving the festival its shape and scope.
“We work with a group of talented individuals who come together and form the Bohemian Nights Talent Advisory Committee. The committee members have a vast and diverse knowledge of the Colorado music scene…Our objectives include providing a rich musical experience for audiences that reflects original music by local artists and a diversity of genres. We also want to expose artists to large-scale audiences and high-quality technical productions,” said Merry Hummell, Director of Musical Events at Bohemian Foundation.
Along with the abundance of musical acts, the festival, which is co-produced by the Downtown Business Association, has many other activities available through-out the weekend.
Beet Street’s Creative Garden will be located at the Remington Street and Oak Street parking lot and will turn the space into “a shady
café-style oasis bursting with the talents of Fort Collins’ arts and culture community.” The Creative Garden will also offer the singer/songwriter stage, gourmet food, specialty beer and wine and performing arts showcases and art exhibitions.
In addition, the festival will offer 250 arts, crafts and food booths, free water stations, a special “Kids’ Area,” a children’s carnival, two beer gardens, and nine stages to house all the great music.
And if that wasn’t enough, the promoters are introducing a few new options to the fest as well.
“Keeping our ideas fresh and new while also presenting a nostalgic experience for our attendees helps us evolve. This year, for instance, we’re experimenting with new technology. We’ve developed a free phone app for stage schedules, created Q.R. codes for fans to scan and download free Colorado music from about forty-five of our participating bands, and there are a number of other new and exciting offerings,” explained Hummell.
All told, this year’s NewWestFest is shaping up to be a beauty.
“I know [the city] takes great pride in our community and in all its diverse facets, including music and the ability of Bohemian Nights to attract and produce some of Colorado’s most talented artists,” said Hummell.
Visit downtownfortcollins.com/dba.php/nwfest/ or bohemiannights.org for more information regarding the festival.