It’s no secret that the pandemic took a major toll on live events.
After cancellations due to the threat of COVID, HomeVibe Presents’ SpringFest — which originally began as WinterFest — will take place Friday at Roots Music Project in Boulder. The lineup includes a grouping of the Front Range’s most notable artists. Bonnie and Taylor Sims, Dave Tamkin and Paul Kimbiris will deliver engaging sets starting at 7:45 p.m.
From singer-songwriter gold to scorching country, roots and Americana, SpringFest is the satisfying appetizer — a perfect prelude — to festival season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing our community all together again, enjoying the shared experience of live music,” said SpringFest organizer Mike Ligon, a veteran concert booker, artist manager and founder of HomeVibe Presents.
The event was initially slated for December 2021, then it moved to February 2022, which was then scrapped due to the looming Omicron variant, so there will certainly be a level of delayed gratification for both acts and attendees this week.
“All of these artists are incredible, and to have them all on one bill is really special,” Ligon said. “Bonnie and Taylor Sims play in multiple projects together, and their project Everyone Loves an Outlaw has received some recent critical acclaim — including getting picked up by a major label (Columbia Records). And Bonnie’s project Big Richard was just invited to play a set at the coveted Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June.”
Equally intriguing as the lineup is the unique industrial venue. Roots Music Project is more than just a place for artists to plug in and perform. It’s also a nonprofit organization that mentors rising talent and keeps established artists inspired and supported.
For seven years, Roots Music Project — founded by musician Dave Kennedy — has offered coaching, a vibrant rehearsal space, feedback from industry pros and even tips on how to run a successful social media campaign.
“I met Dave Kennedy — of Roots Music — at a Sofar Sounds event I was hosting in August of 2019,” Ligon said. “He told me about the venue and I then went and toured it and was blown away by the vibe of the room and the mission of Roots Music Project. This will be the first HomeVibe Presents show we’re hosting in the room. You really just have to come see the space and experience it for yourself, there is nothing else like it in Boulder.”
From the colorful exterior to the intimate space within — adorned with overhead string lights and Persian rugs on the wall — this listening-room experience supersedes a typical bar or concert hall.
“One of the most rewarding parts of RMP is watching the reaction on the faces of musicians when they walk into our doors,” Kennedy said. “Whether they are up-and-coming local talent or established national acts, musicians feel at home and inspired inside of our walls. I credit our amazing volunteer team that focuses on making musicians feel valued. Our No. 1 goal is to inspire musicians to keep creating.”
Dave Tamkin is enthused to return to the beloved venue and play alongside skilled peers.
“I just heard the Sims play live for the first time at a Sofar show at Roots Music Project a few months ago,” Tamkin said. “It was an inspiring set and I really look forward to hearing more. I’ve known Paul (Kimbiris) for some time and it’s a pleasure to hear where he is going with his new songs. Those tunes will also be a highlight for me. The Roots Music Project has really dialed in their sound and the volunteers go above and beyond to make the musicians and guests feel at home.”
With rhythmic guitar playing and thoughtful lyrics, Tamkin continues to draw fans with his high-energy live shows. Whether playing solo or with a band, he brings undeniable heart to each gig.
“My friend Chadzilla (Chad Johnson), on drums, has been adding some creative textures on keyboards during our set,” Tamkin said. “The new sound has given each of us more room to experiment on our instrument and pedal boards, as well. It will be nice to have Neil Ross Hebbert on bass guitar, as well. We haven’t played music with him for some time, so it’s always a pleasure to hear what he brings to the set.”
This is just one show in an upcoming number of tour dates for Tamkin.
“We are already looking to hit the road in June and planning for 2023 as venues have been waiting to fill their seats for some time,” Tamkin said.
During the pandemic, Tamkin kept music lovers engaged and entertained with livestream shows, including virtual offerings at Boulder’s Stone Cottage Studios.
Creating content for an online platform is something he hopes to continue, allowing his art to have a greater reach and dive into new territory.
“I hope to bring the livestreaming with us, though,” Tamkin said. “I have a new VR 360 camera that looks amazing on an Oculus headset and on YouTube. It will be fun to show people a different livestreaming experience.”
Up next, Ligon is hopeful that music fans can look forward to a possible SummerFest.
“The idea was that WinterFest would be the first of quarterly shows to celebrate each season, and we intend to keep them going for the rest of the year,” Ligon said. “This show also kicks off a series of shows we’ll be producing in partnership with RMP this year.”
May 13, HomeVibe will host Tony Lucca at Roots Music Project. Fans can keep an eye on social media for upcoming show announcements.
Ligon is optimistic about forging ahead with scheduled gigs, but also realizes the possibility of shows being scaled back depending on which way the COVID numbers go.
“I’d be naïve to think we won’t see some form of another surge in the months ahead,” Ligon said. “For me, it’s always about weighing the risks of gathering and creating the safest environments possible for the conditions. If that requires cancellations to keep our community safe — we’ll be the first to do so. But for now, I’m really excited about what the data is telling us here in Boulder County.”
Ligon also plans to give back to Colorado organizations once the series gets going.
“We will be rotating in local (non-governmental organizations) in the future, as it’s important work to support,” Ligon said. “But for this show, we’re just happy to say that it’s finally happening and look forward to seeing everyone.”
Tickets to SpringFest are $25.50. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
“The current Front Range music scene owes so much to the musicians who have created music here since the ‘70s,” Kennedy said. “The history, lifestyle and natural beauty of Colorado are a magical combination that inspires and attracts amazing artists and hardcore fans. I also credit the venue owners who support local music.”