Jon Rista / Courtesy photo
Locale Summerfest Courtesy photo
Locale Summerfest Courtesy photo
If you go
What: Locale Summerfest
When: 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday and Sunday
Where: DV8 Distillery, 2480 49th St., Boulder
Cost: $30 two-day pass, $20 single-day, $10 Saturday silent-disco only; (40% off all tickets when purchased with online discount codes dailycamera or longmonttimescall)
More info: localesummerfest.com
Whether it’s selling out shows for big touring acts at Red Rocks or Chautauqua Amphitheater — or just unusually big crowds at smaller venues — Coloradans are known for supporting live music. In fact, one local musician said the state’s residents have become so well-regarded in the music industry for turning out at live shows that it can actually be challenging for local artists to get opportunities they would typically find in their home states.
“So many bands from all over find that Colorado is one of their best markets,” said Patrick Sites, who sings and plays mandolin in Fort Collins dance-grass band Whitewater Ramble. “It’s created a situation where everyone wants to come play here. So we are almost being overrun and oversaturated, which means our local artists can get lost in the shuffle.”
But not at Locale Summer Fest, the new two-day music festival Whitewater Ramble is headlining in Boulder this weekend, which was launched with the specific intention of being a showcase for and celebration of not only Colorado’s music scene but the Boulder community and culture.
The two-day festival, which will feature 11 bands, plus a silent disco event on Saturday night, is the brainchild of concert promoter Kallista Alli, who returned to her native Boulder four years ago after spending several years booking shows in San Francisco.
Alli found a venue — and partner — for her festival in Pearl Street’s DV8 Distillery, which is the second distillery in the nation to produce vodka and gin from rice. However, it wasn’t DV8’s liquors that got her attention, so much as the distillery’s events. Alli said she has found, “DV8 to be throwing some of the most consistent culture-related parties — be it a mermaid or ’80s-themed dance party — in Boulder, out of anyone.”
“They wanted to book a bigger event like a fest and I love doing this with every fiber of my being,” she said. “And we both have the same vision as far as no ticket fees and just keeping all the tickets really affordable, supporting local businesses and local community radio.”
Part of that vision is the concept of a festival experience that includes attractions beyond just music — including food, trucks, arts and craft vendors and cocktails from DV8. The festival grounds, which will take up DV8’s 2,200-square-foot parking lot, will feature a food truck row on one side and a dozen craft vendors on the other. The stage, which Alli said was fashioned out of an old school bus, will be located at the back of the grounds.
Alli is also attempting to cultivate a family-friendly environment with free admission for kids and kid-friendly elements, like face painting and Henna tattoos.
Booking a festival in her hometown has been a fulfilling experience for Alli, who said every act in the festival “has a story” for her — whether that story came from seeing the band perform at Boulder’s Fox Theatre 10 years ago (the case with Whitewater Ramble) or booking a group like hip-hop trio Whiskey Blanket for Nederland’s Frozen Dead Guy Days for the last three years.
Alli said she is particularly excited to be bringing the latter’s unique band of hip hop to the festival.
“They have cello, violin, harmonica, beat boxing, trumpet and keys,” she said. “They are just one of those groups where, even if you don’t like hip hop, you will love them.”
Also on the lineup is electronic music duo Spectacle, which blends violin, percussion and guitar with drops and beats as well as Denver-based electro-funk and hip-hop group Tnertle. Whitewater Ramble, meanwhile, will playing a unique set in which they will reinterpret Led Zepplin hits with their dance-grass style.
“It’s great to have a festival like this that shows you don’t need to have a major national band headline your festival and can give someone from the local scene that opportunity,” Sites said.
That devotion to the local scene is one Alli said she hopes to maintain as she works on growing the festival in the coming year — while maintaining its low ticket prices and $5 price-point for all alcoholic drinks.
“I feel really lucky because Boulder is so unique and so special and I want to preserve that,” she said. “This is a way to help do that and have a community effort with all these businesses and the people (who) work so hard to follow their dream and make a difference in their community. To me, there’s nothing better.”
Paul Albani-Burgio: 970-699-5407, firstname.lastname@example.org