Two major musical events happening on the same day is not a problem Durango has on a regular basis. Like exorbitant rent prices, homelessness and panhandling, these are big city issues rearing their heads in Durango. Yet, referring to two concerts happening on the same day shouldn’t even really be referred to as a problem. Call it an inconvenience.
The events, KSUT Radio’s Party in the Park and the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown’s Meltdown on the Mesa, both happening Saturday, are anticipated summer events, big concerts that draw music lovers from around the region for a full day of music and concert festivities. Their falling on the same day is just flat-out bad luck, an unavoidable calendar calamity that will result in people having to make a tough decision about which event to attend, save for a hearty few willing to buck up for the long haul and taking a town musical challenge by attending both.
KSUT’s Party in the Park, happening in Buckley Park, will feature local Afrobeat band Afrobeatniks along with Front-Range funk powerhouse The Motet. The Motet is a big band that dips into Afrobeat, jazz and American funk. Led by drummer Dave Watts, they can lay down an improvisational groove with the best of the jam bands and also dip into heady funk inspired by a 1970s gritty-city soundtrack.
Now in its 16th year, this event has become a summer Buckley Park tradition; KSUT has had a heck of a run of fundraising, meeting its million-dollar goal for its forthcoming new facility. Fundraising, however, never ends for either of these organizations, and Party in the Park, along with Meltdown on the Mesa, ensures these organizations will have the funding to keep up the day-to-day operations.
Meltdown on the Mesa will kick off south of town at the scenic Durango Mesa Park and will feature Six-Dollar String Band, Crooked Measures, Smelter Mountain Boys, Woodland Remedy, The Badly Bent and two sets from Liver Down the River. There will also be on-site camping and general festival revelry that will go well into the evening.
The history of the Meltdown on the Mesa goes back five years when local bluegrass musician Mark Katz bought the property that was then called Ewing Mesa. Katz may have done one of the nicest things anyone has done for the city of Durango – he purchased a bunch of land and then handed it over to the city. Meltdown on the Mesa has gotten the ball rolling on what could be a gem of a venue.
“This event gives people an opportunity to go up, check out the space, enjoy the views, check out some music and give people an opportunity to camp inside of the city limits,” said Durango Bluegrass Meltdown Board Vice President Tommy Frederico.
First-timers at this event will likely be heard muttering phrases like, “There should be more shows here.”
Like some fans torn between which event to attend, organizers of the events, who never intended to be in competition with the other, aren’t thrilled with the reality that both events fell on the same day. They’re working together so people can make it a two-venue, two-festival day. Show up at Buckley Park with your Meltdown on the Mesa wristband and you can get in for free. The same goes for those doing the opposite: Show up at Durango Mesa Park with a Motet wristband or ticket stub and you’ll scoot right through the gate.
Perhaps this is the start of a great musical problem to have every once in a while.
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at email@example.com.