2017 Meltdown Events
POWERHOUSE SCIENCE CENTER FREE CONCERT
Friday, 5 – 7 p.m., Powerhouse Science Center, 1333 Camino Del Rio, Along the Animas River
The warm-up for the Meltdown has become one of our festival’s more popular traditions. This free, two-hour concert is held at the Powerhouse Science Center on Friday afternoon, when the festival opens. Powerhouse Science Center is the Four Corner’s hands-on, interactive science center, providing innovative learning and unleashing human potential. Located on the banks of the Animas River in a historic coal-fired, steam-generated AC powerplant, Powerhouse Science Center presents a wide range of programs, exhibits, and activities for curious minds of all ages. They are committed to developing a science center that is welcoming and engaging to all communities in the Four Corners and beyond. They strive to be inclusive because we believe science and technology are for everyone.
Enjoy exceptional bluegrass music and help us kick off the festival for the weekend with Colorado College Bluegrass Ensemble and Last Nickel. Please use the crosswalk at 12th street and Camino Del Rio.
Saturday, Noon – 6 p.m., Balcony Backstage, College Ave. & Main Ave.
Since the early years of the Meltdown, the Band Showcase has provided a stage for bands that want to participate but for whatever reason aren’t ready or willing to play the ‘main stage’. ‘Bluegrass Band’ criteria are sometimes bent for the Band Showcase, but it never lacks for entertainment, and this year is no exception. For 2017 we will kick it off with performances by up-and-comers the Next Generation Fiddlers, a group of over 10 fiddlers who have played the Showcase several times, and a group of Escalante Middle School bluegrass students, also returning from last year. Colorado College will debut two new and fresh bluegrass ensembles, then we will feature new groups Sunny and the Whiskey Machine and the Shaky Hand String Band, two newer incarnations featuring singers and players who will be familiar to veterans of the local bluegrass scene. This perpetual Meltdown favorite continues to be free to the public and will take place at the Balcony Backstage Bar, at College (6th) and Main Ave, from noon to 5 pm on Saturday.
Saturday, 7 – 10 p.m., Henry Strater Theater, 7th St. & Main Ave.
Join the spontaneous fun of the Meltdown’s Superjam. The event has become a festival tradition and no two are ever the same. Local, regional and national talents come together to collaborate and inspire on the stage of the Henry Strater Theatre. The bluegrass community is a small circle of incredibly talented musicians. It’s often amazing to witness how individuals from different bands are sometimes old friends, past band mates, or just like-minded individuals. It’s impromptu magic, so sit back and see what happens! Long-time Durango bluegrass connoisseur now residing in North Dakota, David Smith will be hosting the event and is sure to throw together some incredible collaborations for the stage.
OLD TIME BARN DANCE with THE FREIGHTHOPPERS AND SIX DOLLAR STRING BAND
Saturday, 7:30 – 10 p.m., Balcony Backstage, College Ave. & Main Ave.
Admission free with Saturday or Weekend Meltdown Wristband or $10 at the Door.
Do you know how to tell the difference between old time fiddle tunes? They have different titles.
In 2006, after recognizing the popularity of the old timey music scare with bands such as Reeltime Travelers and Sweet Sunny South, the Meltdown introduced the Old Time Barn Dance, at the Elks Lodge dance hall. The Freight Hopper will host this year’s Old Time Barn Dance at the Balcony Backstage, upstairs and inside at the corner of College Ave. and Main Ave. This has evolved into a “don’t miss” event. Nobody has more fun during the entire Meltdown weekend than the kids of all ages that pack the Balcony Backstage’s dance floor.
LATE NIGHT SHOW WITH DANNY BARNES, GRANT GORDY AND JOE K. WALSH
Saturday, 8 – 10 p.m., Durango Art Center, 8th St. & East 2nd Ave.
The Durango Bluegrass Meltdown presents an evening with The Danny Barnes Trio.
Admission free with Saturday or Weekend Meltdown Wristband or $10 at the Door)
Danny Barnes first picked up the banjo as a kid in Texas after seeing John Hartford on television, and he hasn’t put it down. The early 1990’s saw Danny Barnes bring bluegrass music to the punk-rock crowd as a founder of the seminal band Bad Livers, who were just as likely to play bluegrass versions of Motorhead songs as they were to cover Bill Monroe, playing traditional festivals and rock venues.
Post Bad Livers he’s maintained a steady solo career releasing CD’s, 7-inch records, and cassettes that fall into bluegrass and alt-country genres, rock and pop, and his own creation of what he calls “Barnyard Electronics.”
He’s also played the banjo alongside the likes of Tim O’Brien, Bill Frisell, Robert Earl Keen and The Yonder Mountain String Band, among other artists outside the bluegrass and roots music circles.
His songwriting is quirky, daring and catchy, his banjo picking striking, bold and full of ideas. Witnessing Barnes perform is an experience; he’s a masterful player dedicated to the musical traditions the banjo has been a part of while unafraid to use his talent and abilities take the instrument and the music into limitless directions.
Winner of the2015 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo, Barnes latest release is “Stove Up,” a bluegrass album recorded at E-Town in Boulder, Colorado. This is his first Meltdown appearance. Bryant Liggett
For several years Brooklyn, New York-based guitarist Grant Gordy has been a major voice in the American roots music world, and one of the most highly regarded young instrumentalists of his generation. He held the guitar chair in the legendary David Grisman Quintet for six years, and has also worked alongside such musical luminaries as Edgar Meyer, Steve Martin, Tony Trischka and Darol Anger. Grant’s music has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, and he’s performed all over the world, from Carnegie Hall to Bonnaroo, Finland to India.
“Grant Gordy is a special musician. While being a bluegrass musician at heart, Grant’s incredible breadth of harmonic and rhythmic knowledge from jazz gives him a strikingly singular voice on the guitar; one that is worth giving your attention.”
JOE K. WALSH
Hailed by CBC-Newfoundland as “one of the best mandolinists of his generation” and by Vintage Guitar Magazine as “brilliant”, Portland, Maine-based mandolin player Joe K. Walsh is known for his exceptional tone and taste, and his collaborations with acoustic music luminaries including legendary fiddler Darol Anger, flatpick guitar hero Scott Nygaard, folk star Jonathan Edwards, and pop/grass darlings Joy Kills Sorrow have taken him all over the global and musical map. He’s played with everyone from John Scofield to Bela Fleck to Emmylou Harris, and performed everywhere from festivals to laundromats to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. After a number of award-winning years as mandolinist with bluegrass stars the Gibson Brothers, Joe currently splits his time between an inventive string band called Mr Sun (featuring Darol Anger, Grant Gordy and Ethan Jodziewicz) a duo with Grant Gordy, and his own band. An avid educator, Joe is a mandolin instructor at the Berklee College of Music. He teaches regularly at music camps throughout North America and beyond, and teaches online through Peghead Nation.
Sunday morning, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Durango Art Center, 8th St. & East 2nd Ave.
You don’t want to miss the gospel set on Sunday morning. This set highlights the versatility of at least three of the bands performing at the festival. There’s no reason to fret about missing church during the Meltdown, the a cappella vocals bring out heavenly harmonies. God is definitely present on Sunday mornings!
David Parmley and Cardinal Tradition, Quicksand Soup and Chokecherry Jam will host the morning congregation at the Durango Arts Center.
The Meltdown features many indoor and outdoor (weather permitting) locations for informal jamming. The management of the Strater and Rochester Hotels welcome musicians to gather and play for their own enjoyment as well as that of the hotel guests. Numerous downtown bars and restaurants also encourage musicians to play at their discretion, and may offer complementary food and drink. Spring afternoons in Durango are often very pleasant and jamming on the sidewalks and at outdoor cafes can be a pleasant way to make new friends and expose the general public to the joys of bluegrass. Look for the Meltdown Flyer in the windows of participating establishments.
The Strater Hotel lobby is open for jamming until midnight, late night jamming is open in the Pullman room in the basement of the Strater Hotel into the wee hours.
Friday & Saturday nights, see program guide for location
Part of the fun during the Meltdown is enjoying live bluegrass music while sampling great food and drink at some of Durango’s finest downtown bars and restaurants. See schedules on side bar for locations and times.