Riverfront concert series is a staple of summer

The March Fourth Marching Band is pure entertainment, with dancing girls, twirlers, stilt walkers, loud drums, louder guitars and a drum section. And have we mentioned the fire twirlers? Come join the fun at the Colorado Riverfront Concert Series at the Fruita section of the Colorado River State Park on Aug. 3.


Focus on March Fourth Marching Band

Regardless of how many concerts you’ve experienced, the March Fourth Marching Band show is worth the experience.

It’s more than music, more than dance and more than fun. Imagine Mardi Gras running away to join the circus and you might get an inkling of the group’s live performance.

The group has been performing together for more than eight years, with membership and participation being somewhat fluid.

“We were larger in the early years,” said Nayana Jennings, one of the original members, “but now we tour more, so we keep the numbers down.”

Even with reduced numbers, the group still travels with close to 20 people, which includes dancers, stilt walker, twirlers and traditional musical performers in the horn section, the percussion section or on electric bass and guitar.

“We have a different roster on every tour,” Jennings said. “We have a pool of 35 people to draw from.”

The group hails from Portland, Ore., where it holds an anniversary show each March 4. Touring season begins in earnest after that, and the group has been logging between 80,000 and 100,000 miles each year.

Each show is different, depending on the venue and the audience. Oftentimes, the stage isn’t big enough for the entire group, so the dancers and stilt walkers mingle with the audience. And sometimes, the band marches offstage to go play with the audience.

“We tell the audience to get up and dance with us,” Jennings said.

The stilt walkers also do acrobatics and the wild costumes add to the spectacular nature of the show.

No one is ever bored during a live performance when the March Fourth Marching Band comes to play. Wear your dancing shoes, but leave your stilts at home. Some things are better left to the professionals.

WHERE: James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, Fruita section
TICKETS: free, but must have ticket, distributed at Gene Taylor’s in Grand Junction and Over the Edge Sports in Fruita on June 18, June 25 and July 9
July 20
Otis Taylor Band
Aug. 3
March Fourth Marching Band
Aug. 4
Los Lonely Boys

The concerts at the James M. Robb – Colorado River State Park in Fruita have become an entrenched part of the summertime music scene in the Grand Valley.

The state park offers a gorgeous setting, the tickets are free and the musical acts always deliver a stellar performance.

This year, concert promoters are making a few changes to find ways to attract more people to the concerts and reduce costs. The concerts benefit the Colorado Riverfront Commission, so fewer expenses mean more money goes toward the commission and the riverfront projects.

There will be no concert in June. The July concert will feature the Otis Taylor Band — the blues band that opened for Joe Cocker at last year’s Home Again concert. Tickets for the concert, which will be Wednesday, July 20, will be distributed June 18 at Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods in Grand Junction and at Over the Edge Sports in Fruita.

The two concerts in August are happening back-to-back, on Wednesday, Aug. 3 and Thursday, Aug. 4.

“Setting up and tearing down the Fruita venue is expensive,” said Ron Wilson with Sandstone Entertainment.

By 2013, the riverfront commission will look for corporate sponsorships to help defray the costs of the concerts, as the original funding source will expire next year.

In an effort to bring two totally diverse audience groups to the concerts in August, the March Fourth Marching Band (M4, as they are known by fans) will perform on Aug. 3 and Los Lonely Boys will be at the riverfront venue Aug. 4.

Ticket distribution will be June 25 and July 9, respectively.

As always, attendees are welcome to bring lawn chairs, picnics and snacks. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed.

Beer, wine and food will be available for sale.


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