Campout for the Cause organizer Scotty Stoughton’s band, Bonfire Dub, plays a powerful original blend of roots music with reggae, folk and dub influences. Bonfire’s lyrical repertoire is inspired by Eastern philosophy, indigenous struggles, political injustice, and a deep respect for the soul of love and the balance of nature (courtesy photo by Zach Mahone).

Scotty Stoughton, front man with Bonfire Dub, organized Campout for the Cause in 2009 to provide a platform for musicians, yogis and artists to bring their talents and positive energy together in a magical Colorado setting while generating awareness and support for worthy nonprofit organizations. The philosophy behind Campout emphasizes diversity in the music, sustainability in the event, and a community of responsible and respectful festival participants.

Into this unique atmosphere, Stoughton brings an incredible line-up of musical talent from Colorado and beyond. This year’s family-friendly event welcomes Trout Steak Revival, Grant Farm, Pickin’ on the Dead, Mama Magnolia, Andy Falco and We Dream Dawn, to name just a few. And of course, Bonfire Dub will perform.

“Campout for the Cause is more of a relaxed family gathering than a festival,” Trout Steak Revival fiddle player Bevin Foley observed. “Everyone is there because they want to be there and raise money for something good. You can feel it in the energy.”

In addition to the scheduled line-up, Foley suggested there could be an unexpected treat for music fans. “There is usually some sort of special guest who is way too cool to be playing such a tiny little festival. One year DJ Logic played a surprise set.”

Foley also confirmed that much of Campout’s magic happens when musicians from the diverse bands “sit in with each other and create really special moments on stage and in the campgrounds. Last year we had a huge jam in the campground with the Lil’ Smokies and some other bands and went rafting with everyone. Some of our best memories of our year were made at Campout.
“Campout is the kickoff to the festival season for Trout Steak this year in Colorado, and I think we are all excited to get outdoors and see all of our festival friends and family. It’s definitely like a family reunion.”

A big part of the positive energy of Campout comes from the knowledge that everyone there is supporting a good cause, and this year’s cause is especially important to Foley. “The proceeds this year go to helping a little lady named Emmy, who has a rare form of childhood cancer. My Dad has been fighting cancer for the last five years, and the band has a close friend whose youngest son is fighting leukemia. Cancer really has a way of taking over a family’s life.”

Between the stress of cancer’s insidious attack on a loved one and exorbitant medical costs, even with the best health insurance, “a family can be overwhelmed,” said Foley. “I am so excited that we have the opportunity to try to help alleviate a little bit of that stress in someone’s life, and that it is as easy hanging out at a festival all weekend.”

In addition to the special energy and atmosphere of Campout, Foley and her bandmates are excited to be back in the Ark Valley. “We love the Arkansas River Valley. It has always been an area of the state that we as individuals love visiting. Travis wrote part of the song “Colorado River” about driving down 285. … We have been really lucky to be embraced by the community. The band has a partnership with Elevation (Beer Co.). We have friends all over the valley that have shown us so much love and support; we have hiked the mountains, soaked in the hot springs and rafted the Arkansas River. It’s actually pretty overwhelming how much love and support we feel.”

Reflecting on the success of Trout Steak Revival, which won the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition, Foley believes the band just continues to get better. “I think the longer we are together and the more we get to know each other, it becomes easier and easier to play as a group and communicate musically. We’ve been focusing a lot on our songwriting and harmony singing over the last couple years, really pushing ourselves to keep getting better.

“I think that the most exciting part is that we keep discovering things we can get better at, and we really try to put in the effort to improve. It is a constant challenge as a band to get along, be creative together, travel and live with each other, and improve musically. I think we continue to get better and better at all of these things.”

Having enjoyed the band’s music for several years now, we wholeheartedly agree, and viewed in the context of all the other great bands featured at this year’s Campout, this gathering promises to be the highlight of the Ark Valley’s numerous praiseworthy events.