Rhythms on the Rio Benefit Festival

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The weather was warming and clearing on the last day of the 2017 Rhythms on the Rio Music Festival. Once more there was yoga in the morning by Durango, as well as the special showcase performance by children who had benefited from this festival’s generosity. Rhythms donates the proceeds of this festival to the children’s music program in the region that not only provides instruction but instruments.

Celebrating twelve years, this festival continues to provide some of the best acts in the region and some amazing full touring bands. This year’s campground was huge, with quiet tent camping, a rowdier camping area, and an RV park—all along the beautiful Rio Grande. There were also activities for children in the Kid Zone, this year marked by huge tipis that were constructed on the site. An art area sprung up by the Beach, a sandy area where a few people launched floats or played in the bracing water.

The little festival that could, Rhythms on the Rio 2017, did it once again, bringing a stellar lineup and unmatched Colorado hospitality to a welcoming festival audience. This year’s fest started out overcast and chilly (we are in monsoon season, after all), with the promise of rain. But none of that dampened anyone’s spirits.

Every August, I look forward to driving up through forested northern New Mexico into God’s Country, southern Colorado to cover Rhythms on the Rio. This festival with a big heart has been going strong for eleven years and I’ve covered six of those. It’s always like coming back for a family reunion.

The last day of Rhythms on the Rio began as Day Two did with a free yoga class from the good folks at YogaDurango. This festival inaugurated yoga last year as a special addition to the line up of great music, good food and brews, and the awe-inspiring Colorado landscape. After yoga, the festival had an open stage, also on days two and three for children’s performances. These were local kids who were part of the music program that Rhythms on the Rio sponsors.

There was a stir of anticipation throughout the festival grounds in South Fork CO as Day Two of Rhythms on the Rio opened. Headliners always get festival-goers hyped, and today we were seeing some of the best of the best.

The monsoons came late to southern Colorado and New Mexico this summer, causing festival promoters to watch the skies. Here in South Fork, CO at the opening of the 11th annual Rhythms on the Rio Music Festival rain-heavy clouds released their payloads earlier in the day, well before the festival opened around 5 pm. Alexander Kofi and the Jah Kings’ great vibe pushed those clouds further away to reveal a great night for some spectacular music.

The last day of Rhythms on the Rio 2015 was clear and sunny—and really quite pleasant temperature-wise. The day’s event began as Saturday’s did with YogaDurango offering an hour all-levels yoga class for festivalgoers. This free class was well attended by about twenty, very obvious advanced yoga practitioners yesterday, who were stretched out on the grass and under canopies. Today’s participants were fewer. But yoga seemed to set a tone for a laid back kind of day today, though the music was definitely hot.

Today’s Rhythms on the Rio opened up with heavy cloud cover, promising rain. That’s not a good sign with an outdoor festival, but these Coloradoans are a hardy lot and will dance to music no matter the condition. For Blake Himert and his sound crew, though, it’s a lot of extra tarping and strategic towel placement, which they already did a bit Friday night. Luckily, what rain we did have was light that came mid-afternoon.

Rhythms on the Rio is celebrating its tenth year, bringing music to the San Luis Valley of Colorado. And the South Fork Music Association (SFMA) pulled out all the stops!

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