Down by the River:
Tips for parking, attending weekend's three big music events on the riverfront
If you like being in the thick of things, the energy of live music and the warm glow of supporting local causes, the Colorado riverfront will be the place for you this weekend.
From the Amphitheater at Las Colonias Park to Edgewater Brewery to the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, you’ll find a vigorous music scene.
At Edgewater, 34 local bands will play at the Grand Junction Local Jam from Friday through Sunday, July 21–23.
At the amphitheater, Head for the Hills takes the stage at the Chilled by the River event on Saturday, July 22.
And at the botanical gardens, The Company is up next in the Garden Groove Summer Concert series on Saturday, July 22.
Here are some details about each of these events to help you navigate this riverfront scene — think parking! Parking! Parking! — this weekend and beyond.
GRAND JUNCTION LOCAL JAM
This three-day event packs in the local music. With 34 bands playing, it is a great way to get to know the variety of bands, musicians and genres that are part of the Grand Valley’s music scene.
The music will go from 5–10 p.m. Friday, July 21, from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 22, and from noon to 6:15 p.m. Sunday, July 23, at Edgewater Brewery, 905 Struthers Ave.
There will be two stages, with solo and duo acts playing on a smaller stage while band changeover happens on the main stage. “So there will be constant music,” said Jeff Steele, one of the organizers of the event and publisher of Grand Valley Live magazine.
This is Local Jam’s third year, but its first year at Edgewater. Started by Aaron Seibert of Jack+Jill and Bill Monroe of Suite Vibes in 2014, the event spent two years at Sweet River Gardens along the banks of the Colorado River off 29 Road.
Each year the event became bigger, and when Steele, Greg Hartman (Grand Valley Live editor) and Dave Brewer (former Bicycle Annie bassist) took over its organization for 2017, they looked for a location with more infrastructure. “Edgewater was the perfect place,” Steele said.
As in the past, all 34 bands are donating their time to play at Local Jam, which shows the kind of people involved in the local music community, Steele said.
“Everybody gets along with everybody and it’s just going to be tons of fun. A lot of camaraderie,” Steele said. There also is a “phenomenal amount to talent.”
Fifteen percent of the proceeds from Local Jam also will go toward two local charities: Delaney Donates and the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation.
Delaney Clements, 13, who died of cancer in 2016 “was such a loved person in this town,” Steele said. “We wanted to kind of continue that legacy” by donating to her nonprofit organization.
And the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation was selected because of recent suicides among a number of young people in the Grand Valley and in the music community. “It felt close to home for us,” Steele said. “We know they could do a whole lot of good with any money we could raise.”
Advance tickets for Local Jam cost $12.50 per day or $25 for a three-day pass and are available through localjamgj.com and monumentalevents.com. The ticket cost increases the day of the concert.
There will be seating in Edgewater’s patio area for a $5 cover charge and all those funds will be donated to the nonprofits, Steele said.
There also will be a drawing for an acoustic guitar donated by Hart Music and signed by all performers at Local Jam. Each drawing ticket will cost $1.
Another part of Local Jam that is new this year is a few hours of live streaming on Facebook from the event thanks to Mesa County Libraries’ 970West Studio.
On Friday, three to four cameras and a director from 970West will be at Local Jam from about 8 p.m. on, doing a live stream to Mesa County Libraries’ Facebook page.
It will be the first time 970West has done a live stream outside the studio at this technical level, according to Bob Kretschman with Mesa County Libraries.
As for how the sound from Local Jam will play with the sound that drifts over from the Chilled by the River event at the amphitheater, “We’ll have to see,” Steel said.
He spent some time at Edgewater listening to the opening bands for the recent Lukas Nelson concert at the amphitheater and noticed mostly “low frequencies. Bass and kick drum and a little bit of high frequency.”
Learn about Local Jam at localjamgj.com. Check out the band lineup in the Entertainment Calendar on pages 10–11.
CHILLED BY THE RIVER
With lawn games, post-modern bluegrass and a brand-spanking new venue, Chilled by the River offers a full evening while also supporting United Way of Mesa County.
Gates open for Chilled by the River at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at the Amphitheater at Las Colonias, 925 Struthers Ave.
The Colorado band Head for the Hills will perform at 7 p.m.
Like the event’s title, it will be a “chill” event, family friendly with a nice vibe, good music and highlighting the beauty of the riverfront, said Honora Thompson, marketing and events manager for United Way of Mesa County.
Bring a chair to sit in and plan to participate in a lawn game, enjoy dinner and the music, of course, she said.
Local food trucks Colorado Q, Michael Angelo’s Wood Fired Pizza and Gelu Italian Ice will be at the event for those who want to purchase food.
There also will be beer and hard cider from High Country Beverage, Talon wines, soda and water, and each adult ticket comes with a free drink.
Those who attend can enjoy the music from their chair or while playing lawn games, which will include bocce ball, badminton, ladder toss, croquet, corn hole, Twister and more, Thompson said.
“It’s going to be a great night for families in Grand Junction,” Thompson said.
And that includes the music of Head for the Hills, which has played several times in the Grand Valley and has a strong following here.
United Way decided to feature a well-known band at Chilled by the River as a way to grow the event, Thomspon said.
Head for the Hills released its fourth album “Potions and Poisons” in May. It has 10 original songs and fans likely will hear some of those at Chilled by the River.
Head for the Hills features Adam Kinghorn, Joe Lessard, Matt Loewen and Sam Parks “at the peak of their powers of musical alchemy, building little worlds of sound from the detritus of bluegrass, jazz, hip hop, folk and soul,” according to headforthehillsmusic.com.
Tickets for Chilled by the River cost $30 for adults, $12 for children age 12 and younger and are available through monumentalevents.com and at the gate.
With two other music events scheduled and located so close to Chilled by the River, Thompson hopes they can all “benefit off of each other.”
It’s a musical extravaganza all connected by the Colorado Riverfront Trail, she said.
“At United Way, we’re really excited to be part of the amphitheater opening up .. just another way to expand culture, music and events for families here in the Grand Valley,” Thompson said.
GARDEN GROOVE CONCERTS
When Doug Sorter approached The Company about playing at Strive’s Garden Groove Concerts at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, “they said, ‘gladly.’”
“When you find those people who have the willingness to help others, you find a really great segment of the community,” said Sorter, business operations and development vice president for Strive, which operates the botanical gardens.
The Company, a progressive rock band, which won the Battle of the Bands earlier this year at Mesa Theater, recently released the EP “Venus.”
“We were pretty lucky that we got them,” Sorter said. “I had seen them earlier and had really liked them… they are really a very, very good band and they are local talent.”
“They will bring a following to the event that will be quite nice,” Sorter said.
The concert will go from 7–9 p.m. Saturday, July 22, on the lawn of the botanical gardens, 641 Struthers Ave.
During the evening the lawn is shady and those at the concert can enjoy that shade, pick up a glass of wine and walk through the gardens, or watch their children dance to the music, Sorter said.
Along with wine, there will be food and beer available, he said.
This concert and all of the Garden Groove Concerts are fundraisers for Strive’s children’s services. Strive is a nonprofit that provides services and support to people with disabilities and their families in Mesa County.
For children, those services range from working with kids with autism, developmental delays, to those with hearing or speech impairment and more. While those programs are “incredibly successful and very much needed by our community,” they are also underfunded, Sorter said.
“We’ve got to fund it somehow,” and Garden Groove is one of those ways, he said.
This event is fun, “but the point of the whole thing is to raise funding for the children who need the services so desperately,” Sorter said.
Tickets to this concert cost $15 at the gate and at strive.webconnex.com/company.
Learn about Strive at strivecolorado.org.
Next up in the Garden Groove Concert Series: The Boys of Summer, which plays the music of the Eagles, at 7 p.m. Friday, July 28, at the botanical gardens.