There are many music festivals in the Upper Arkansas Valley each year, but only one can boast that it’s 100-percent homegrown.
Summerdaze Music Festival returns for a second run this year and will feature 10 regional bands playing 10 hours of music. I recently caught up with Chris Nasca, local musician and event organizer, to query him as to how he came up with the idea for Summerdaze.
“We saw that having a grassroots, local festival was really important. If you start outsourcing things, you forget about local people; but that’s what this is all about. This festival showcases local talent. If you don’t give them a platform to play on, no one will ever know who they are. And we wanted to keep it funky and weird, so we run it behind Wanderlust.”
Nasca pointed out the substantial number of instrumentalists per capita who reside in the valley. “We have a lot more musicians here than we think we do.” One of Nasca’s goals for the festival is to provide a networking opportunity to forge connections within the music community. The 2016 festival connected a good number of people within Chaffee and Fremont counties, Nasca said, and he hopes to have another lively crowd again this year. Because Summerdaze is free to concertgoers, Nasca depends on local business sponsors to make the event happen and to allow him to put a little cash in the musicians’ pockets.
In selecting the festival lineup, Nasca looked for “gigging musicians,” or people who are performing live on a somewhat regular basis. “They are part of the mix – out there doing what they love to do.” While blues-soul band Blue Recluse is the headliner for the event, a wide range of genres will be covered at Summerdaze 2017, from Americana, singer-songwriter and bluegrass to jam band, Latin soul and country tunes. Nasca’s own band, Roundhouse Assembly, is among those performing.
The musical lineup includes Keeper Koepplinger at noon; Old Mose, 12:40-1:30 p.m.; Justin Allison, 1:40-2:10 p.m.; Random Shuffle, 2:20-3:10 p.m.; Yogi & Stew, 3:20-4:20 p.m.; Big Meadow, 4:30-5:30 p.m.; Pint & A Half, 5:40-6:40 p.m.; Roundhouse Assembly, 6:50-7:50 p.m.; Wanderlust Road, 8-8:50 p.m.; and Blue Recluse, 9-10 p.m.
No one characterizes a festival better than its own visionary, and Nasca summed it up like this: “There are a lot of heart players here; they are in it for the love of music. These bands aren’t touring and they aren’t national acts. When you come to this festival you’ll be supporting the people that you know; that’s the point. It’s a party.”