State Bridge music series returns with Campout For The Cause |

State Bridge music series returns with Campout For The Cause

Vail Daily staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Eric GoodlineBass player Dango Rose of Elephant Revival plays an early set at last year's Campout For The Cause.

BOND, Colo. – Three years after a devastating fire leveled the concert venue at State Bridge, the third annual Campout For The Cause will kick off the summer season and christen the newly reconstructed riverside amphitheater on Memorial Day weekend.

With styles ranging from folk and reggae, to electronica and funk, the eclectic Colorado lineup will be headlined by Great American Taxi, Bonfire Dub, Elephant Revival and Shakedown Street. And the resurrected State Bridge venue, situated on the banks of the Colorado River, offers free camping.

“We have some outrageous memories of playing out at State Bridge,” said Great American Taxi’s Vince Herman, who also fronts Colorado jam-grass group, Leftover Salmon. “People like to go to a place in the country where they can have the opportunity to do what they want. It’s all about living in the land of the free, and ‘The Bridge’ is a fine example of that.”

Taxi’s uninhibited sound is a swinging concoction of swampy blues, progressive bluegrass, funky New Orleans strut, Southern boogie, honky-tonk country, gospel and good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. Put it all together, and you have what the band calls “Americana without borders.” They’ll be celebrating Herman’s birthday over the holiday weekend, as if they needed another excuse to party.

Campout For The Cause is known for artist interaction with the festival community and for encouraging impromptu collaborations among the various performers. Last year, members of Elephant Revival joined Great American Taxi for a rare Colorado performance, while the mixing and matching of DJs and bands made for a unique recipe of styles and sounds.

Elephant Revival, a transcendental folk group from Nederland, has been touring all over the West this spring, and as fun as that has been, guitarist Daniel Rodriguez says the band is looking forward to coming home and playing in front of a Colorado crowd.

“Working with Vince (Herman), everything happens in the moment, and there’s always a chance of some huge collaborations,” Rodriguez said. “It’s good music. It’s a great location, right there on the river. And it’s a wonderful cause – All Hands Volunteers – working in relief of disasters that are currently taking place all over the world.”

All Hands Volunteers is a US-based, non-profit organization, that provides hands-on assistance to survivors of natural disasters around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy.

Having traveled to Haiti and worked with All Hands Volunteers (formally Hands On Disaster Response), Bonfire Dub frontman and Campout For The Cause promoter Scott Stoughton is thoroughly familiar with the organization’s work, both nationally and overseas.

“They are so amazing,” Stoughton said. “Their model is so interesting because they’re all about utilizing free labor and mobilizing volunteers. When I got to Haiti, I was amazed at how many people showed up on their own dime, to a dangerous place, under the worst conditions, to work six days per week. Everyone was in it for the community, and the camaraderie that materialized was really tangible.”

While the talent pool at Campout for the Cause is diverse, the artists all have a couple things in common: They will all be playing pro bono or for fraction of what they would normally make, and they’re all really looking forward to the return of State Bridge.

“I’ve been a part of State Bridge since I first played there in 1996, and I fell in love with it, like so many locals around here,” Stoughton said. “For me, it just represented all things Colorado – river, music, great people, campfires and that whole primal spirit. Everybody, from the East Cost to the West Coast and all corners of Colorado, really lit up when they heard State Bridge was coming back.”