Colorado Riverfront Concert Series

Free shows are a staple of summer fun

Sonny Landreth plays June 28 at the James M. Robb Colorado State Park in Fruita. (Jack Spencer/Courtesy photo)


Sonny Landreth plays June 28 at the James M. Robb Colorado State Park in Fruita. (Jack Spencer/Courtesy photo)



All concerts are free, but a ticket is required for admission. Pick up no more than four tickets at Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods in Grand Junction or Over the Edge Sports in Fruita on the distribution day. 

Tickets Concert date Artist
June 9 June 28 Sonny Landreth
June 23 July 12 The Samples
July 14 Aug. 16 The Emmitt-Nershi Band

Gates open at 6 p.m. Shows start at 7:30 and will go on, come rain, shine, wind or unbearably hot weather.

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, although this is the final year of funding for the concerts.

“This may be the last year for the concerts unless we get corporate sponsorship,” said Ron Wilson with Sandstone Productions.

Because the concerts are at a state park and all visitors are supposed to pay to enter the park, there may be a parking fee for those who want to park there. Those who want to walk in from the Dinosaur Museum can still park for free.

The June concert features slide guitarist Sonny Landreth, an American blues musician who has collaborated with Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Winter, Michael Doucet with Beausoleil, Eric Clapton, Vince Gill and Eric Johnson, among dozens of others.

The July concert features The Samples, a Boulder-based band formed in 1987. The August concert features the Emmitt-Nershi band, fronted by former members of Leftover Salmon and the String Cheese Incident. The Emmitt-Nershi band plays a mixture of bluegrass, newgrass, with a little bit of blues and country influence.

As always, the concerts are free, but a ticket is required. Distribution dates are listed at left. Food, wine and beer will be available. Attendees are welcome to bring a picnic, but no outside beverages will be allowed. Bring your lawn chairs and umbrellas for shade, but please, fold up the bumbershoots when the music starts so those behind you can enjoy the show, too.

ARTIST FOCUS: Sonny Landreth

Sonny Landreth is kicking off the Riverfront Concert Series in a big way, bringing his own unique style of slide guitar musicianship to western Colorado for the June concert.

Landreth, who was born in Missippippi but grew up in Louisiana, played guitar with Clifton Chenier, one of zydeco’s all-time masters, as a young man. He was also a huge fan of Chet Atkins and drew on the delta blues tradition that surrounded him as he developed his talent and his own unique approach to playing slide guitar.

When playing, Landreth picks and chords on both sides of the slides. While his fingers are flying, he utilizes his thumbs and even the palms of his hands to create a sound that is truly his own. Any serious student of guitar music will want to get in line early to get their ticket to the Sonny Landreth concert.

Landreth was named Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year in 2005.

On his 2008 album, From the Reach, Landreth collaborated with Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Vince Gill and other guitar greats. Not only did he invite them to play on the album, he wrote songs that incorporate their guitar styles and occasionally their vocals for the album.

Landreth’s latest album, Elemental Journey, is an all-instrumental offering and also features great musicians.

Expect to be amazed when you see Sonny Landreth live in concert. A true guitar hero is playing.

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