New festival comes to Buena Vista

It is plain to see why Buena Vista is quickly becoming a favorite festival locale. With its million-dollar fourteener backdrop views and the Arkansas River running through town, there are many recreation activities to fill in the void between festivities, complete with a friendly, small-town atmosphere. However, not every festival revolves around craft libations and live music. For its inaugural debut in the picturesque South Main neighborhood of BV, The River Gathering festival is branding itself as “a working vacation” for female entrepreneurs, founders, creatives and outdoor enthusiasts.

This four-day event (Sept. 23-26) offers an entire package of educational conferences in branding, social media marketing and content strategy in the brand-new, luxurious boutique-style Surf Hotel plus yoga, daily hikes and intimate dinners complete with fireside chats to provide an environment for these women to walk away feeling rested, rejuvenated and with a whole new outlook on their personal businesses and companies. Additionally, attendees will receive 20-minute, one-on-one sessions with certified life coaches.

The brainchild and co-founder behind the River Gathering, Robin Vega, who is also owner of Brand + Bash, a creative branding and marketing studio, used her own past experiences with the long hours and dedication involved with entrepreneurialism to spark the inspiration for such an event. After meeting her River Gathering partner, Maggie Gentry, on Instagram and collaborating on the specifics of the gathering for a Denver location, it wasn’t until she relocated to Buena Vista that the true identity of the River Gathering unfolded.

“I first thought of this working-vacation idea many years ago when I was running a startup software and marketing company that I co-founded and was pretty much working around the clock. I didn’t really take vacations, but when I did find time to get away, this was typically the time I worked on my business. I discovered that working with beautiful views in a relaxed setting and maybe with a cocktail in hand didn’t quite feel like work. I find I’m more productive in spaces like this and believe it’s because I’m inspired by new scenery, and I’m working on things that matter to me, without daily life interruption,” Vega said.

She added that the inspiration of Buena Vista and all the outdoor activity it offers, plus her first glimpse of the vision behind Surf Hotel, solidified this location for the event.

“I’d say the new Surf Hotel also played a key role in our decision to host the first River Gathering in Buena Vista. We want to pamper, wine and dine our gatherers but in a low-key, approachable and comfortable way. And the most essential feature of all for a working-vacation like this located in the mountains of Colorado, is their super-fast, super reliable Wi-Fi,” she added.

Though she and Gentry are the women behind the event, Vega gives credit to an entire team of women dedicated to making this gathering the highest standard of enthusiasm, inspiration and instruction that the attendees deserve to experience. A surrounding filled with like-minded dreamers and makers provides an outlet where these women can work on what matters to them.

“Just thinking about the four-day agenda has me grinning ear to ear. We’ll have experts on hand each day for ‘office hours’ in branding, design, content marketing, SEO strategy and brand photography ready to share their knowledge and experience with anyone who needs support in these areas. I think I’m most excited about our guest-of-honor dinner and fireside chat nights,” said Vega.

“Rather than a traditional slide show speaker presentation, we’re opting for a more casual dinner conversation and après dinner fireside chat speaker format.”

The lineup of speakers includes Niki Koubourlis, founder and CEO of Bold Betties, a platform that combines content, community and commerce to make the outdoors more accessible for women, and Elsa Rhea, artist, digital nomad and brand ambassador for BioLite, WeBoost and Onnit.

“We have women coming who are in early startup launch mode looking for an abundance of guidance and direction, small business owners who need to get a strategy in place and seasoned founders who simply need dedicated time to work on their business initiatives and to get a Q1 calendar in place. I also think the River Gathering would be an incredible experience for an entrepreneur or young marketing executive looking for professional growth. Bottom line, no matter your phase, if someone is feeling led to come, we want to figure out how to get them here. We also created a BV Townie Package for locals who want to come but would rather save and/or sleep in their own beds,” said Vega.

To register and for a full list of everything included visit