Resiliency marked the opening of the Rhythms on the Rio Riverside Fest this past Saturday. After the spring fires, the summer monsoons hit the region hard, coloring the Rio Grande with black runoff from the burn scars higher in the mountains and swelling the waters into a rushing torrent. More of those rains hit the festival late afternoon creating some scrambling between the sound crew and the bands and forcing festivalgoers under any available tarps and canopies.
Described as High-Octane Rocky Mountain DanceGrass, Whitewater Ramble (WWR) uses a simple recipe to craft its sound: start with bluegrass instrumentation, add drums, and finish with a boundary-less approach to grassing-up everything from disco house grooves to roots to Americana. For over ten years, WWR has been captivating audiences across the U.S. with an engaging stage presence and insightful and poignant lyrics.
The last day of this festival began slowly with the contemplative music of Tony Vines. Visitors like me new to Rhythms on the Rio might not fully appreciate what they were hearing from this talented young man. A skilled guitarmaker and musician, Vines struggled with bipolar disorder for two decades, often diving deep into depression and near suicide. He sat on the stage on a cool Sunday morning in South Fork, Colorado, unmedicated for his disorder, healed by the power of his faith, singing songs of hope and belief.
Well, the sky looks as if it’s clearing over the Rio Grande River in South Fork, Colorado. The festival grounds was busy today with stage construction and setting up shaded seating and booths….in the rain. It wasn’t a Midwestern downpour but one of those gentle southern Colorado rains that soaks into the ground. It made setting up tents a bit of a trick, but early campers like myself were game and just danced in the rain in t-shirts and jeans as we stretched rain flies and pounded in stakes.
For the 7th year we are celebrating summer on the banks of the mighty Rio Grande with music of all genres. From Songwriters to Soul, Bluegrass to Jazz, Music, Arts, Vendors and throw in some square dancing to keep your feet stompin’ all weekend long. Freelance artists will be on the festival grounds painting what is inspiring them at the moment. There will be a $10.00 parking charge (pack the car full, the more the merrier ) and you will have access to the festival.
The night is young around midnight; the music loud, beads and balloons reflect the Mardi Gras aura at Fox Theatre with WhiteWater Ramble. The show, much like their music, is unpredictable to say the least. The evening consists of staple WhiteWater tunes, a few Mardi Gras classics, an always-packed stage of welcome accompaniments, and a crowd as wild as the performers.