The third annual Beanstalk Music and Arts Festival returned to the State Bridge Amphitheater in Bond, Colorado this past May, proving once again that The Magic Beans, perfect Colorado weather, and a slew of other incredible acts are the perfect recipe for a fun-filled weekend. The Magic Beans played all three nights, filling State Bridge with their mixed-genre, upbeat space funk. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead played two sets Saturday night, as well as The Kyle Hollingsworth Band featuring Michael Kang, Hollywood Nights featuring members of The Disco Biscuits, JRAD, and Particle. The Magic Brownies also played, featuring members of The Magic Beans and The Disco Biscuits, to name a few.
Overall, the festival was great. Camping was held down the road from State Bridge at Rancho Del Rio, which is situated right on the Colorado River. For me, the river and the camping are a major reason I go to most events at this space. The skies were blue, river cold, and sun shining. The music started late afternoon, giving fans plenty of time to lounge by the river, with the occasional frigid but refreshing plunge into the water. Attendants can also float many segments of the river, on tubes, stand up paddle boards, or boats.
I have few complaints other than I wish the music was located at Rancho Del Rio. State Bridge is incredible, one of the coolest venues I have ever been to. But the bus system that transported festival goers to State Bridge was undeniably shaky, with unpredictable pick up times and hordes of people crowding the front (and back) bus doors. I waited an hour to get on a bus once because I didn't feel like pushing through people to get to my deserved space in line. There’s nothing like returning to your camp for a beer or a rest without having to get on a bus to and from the venue.
The Beans were the definite highlight of the weekend. Their energy is untouchable; bringing a fresh, young, upbeat sound that combines aspects of many genres into one cohesive performance. If you like music of any kind, chances are you’re going to love the Magic Beans. It’s been fun watching them grow in the past few years. They are on fire, and will go far without a doubt.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead blew my mind, once again. They play the music we love so dearly, so well. I’m not apprehensive to say that JRAD is the Dead of our generation, it’s what we got and it’s damn good. JRAD is pertinent to current times, while holding on so tightly to the message and the vibes of the Grateful Dead. They have transformed the music of The Dead into something else, stretching and shrinking the sounds into something familiar but at the same time something very different. JRAD gives the people what they want. I walked away from those two sets feeling better than before.
Joey Porter’s Juno What!? was very funky and fun to watch. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be a party if Joey is there. As always, I had a blast with The Kitchen Dwellers. Young, fresh, fast bluegrass at its finest. The Kyle Hollingsworth Band featuring Michael Kang brought the cheesy vibe to State Bridge, with upbeat and positive sounds that got people dancing and smiling. It definitely felt like a String Cheese show.
Beanstalk was a great time. The lineup was diverse, the weather was amazing, and the venue was incredible. For anyone looking for an outdoor Colorado festival with tons of great music, this is the one.