Rock in a high place
September 16, 2009
ASPEN – A couple of years ago, Julie Lampton heard from a close friend about an unusual event that included trekking up Everest and a musical performance.
The friend had an interest in the mountaineering part; some years earlier, he had climbed Everest with Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to reach the world’s highest peak. But he cared little about the concert part.
“He said, ‘There’s this trek up Everest with a bunch of rock stars that I’ve never heard of. Maybe you’d be interested,'” recalled Lampton. “I looked it up and went ape-s—. I knew them all.”
Lampton, an Aspenite whose love of adventure and music are roughly equal, found herself, in October 2007, hiking above 18,000 feet to listen to an acoustic performance featuring Mike Peters of the Welsh rock band the Alarm and Glenn Tillbrook of Squeeze. The effort was for a good cause: Lampton and her fellow trekkers/concertgoers raised money for Love Hope Strength, a foundation that builds medical centers and provides medical equipment around the globe. The organization was built on musical grounds, founded by leukemia survivors Peters and James Chippendale, whose company sold insurance to music festivals.
The Everest hike raised money to purchase the first mammography machine in Nepal; last year’s hike up Machu Picchu, with Lampton among the group, helped build a medical center in Peru that has served some 30,000 patients.
Lampton is participating again as Love Hope Strength takes on Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. Later this month, she will be part of a group of 30 cancer survivors, musicians and supporters aiming to summit Africa’s highest peak – and, on the way, hearing tunes from Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats and Cy Cumin of the Fixx, as well as Peters and Tillbrook. If the upcoming adventure follows the Everest event, each day will start with one of the musicians singing.
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Lampton’s route begins in Aspen, where she has lived for 20 years. She will present “Everest Rocks,” a 90-minute documentary of the 2007 trek that has aired on MTV’s high-definition Palladia channel. Before the screening, there will be a reception featuring music by the Tuesday Night Bluegrass Band, with Lampton on guitar, and guests Sandy Munro, Dave Notor and Kory Krahl, as well as silent and live auctions. Admission is free, and Lampton will accept donations. All funds raised tonight will be given directly to Love Hope Strength, as Lampton and her fellow volunteers pay their own expenses. Money raised from the Kilimanjaro event will be given to an existing cancer center in Kenya.
Lampton sees it as a small price to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime concert. The Everest performance was billed as the highest concert ever held.
“Seeing them play their guitars at 18,000 feet, or having an impromptu concert in the Sherpa bar in Namche Bazaar – that’s pretty great,” she said. “I have a friend who’s such an Alarm addict, and he can’t believe I’m hanging out with Mike Peters.”