Wildfest to be held at the former home of Hunter S. Thompson
Two days before Independence Day, the Wilderness Workshop is celebrating public lands in style at the conservation nonprofit’s annual “friendraiser,” Wildfest.
This public party will feature live music, freshly prepared food and beverages, communal art creation, fire dancing and children’s activities on the grounds of Owl Farm, the home of journalist Hunter S. Thompson. This is the first public event hosted at the writer’s legendary spread, referenced so familiarly in his famous works as his sanctuary from outside chaos.
Wildfest runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at http://www.wildernessworkshop.org/wildfest. The more expensive Gonzo ticket at $150 offers a number of added amenities.
Jimmy Ibbotson of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is the opening act, beginning shortly after doors open. Ibbotson is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and longtime Aspen local. Next up are the Smuggler Mountain Boys, a traditional and contemporary bluegrass band that plays everything from Bill Monroe to the Grateful Dead.
The event’s headlining act at 8 p.m. is the Shook Twins of Portland, Oregon, who will play Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver later this summer. Sisters Laurie and Katelyn Shook call on a wide range of instrumentation, including banjo, guitar, electric and upright bass, mandolin, electric guitar and electronic drums.
The Slow Groovin’ BBQ Truck will be parked inside the festival grounds selling slow-cooked meat dishes, donated by local business Crystal River Meats. There also will be vegetarian options and Yerba Mate tea available. The main bar and Gonzo tent bar will be serving spirits by Sopris Liquor and Wine.
The Kids’ Zone will feature Dizzy Lizzy the Clown, who will lead activities for youngsters, including face painting, magic, hula-hooping and bubble-making. Kids younger than 12 get in free to Wildfest.
Local muralist Eliza Rogan of Mural Farm will be leading interested participants in a communal mural creation throughout the evening. Attendees can step up and add their own unique touch to the canvas. Last year’s mural featured a mountain montage with a harmonious blend of natural colors.
A post-music wind-down will feature local fire-dancing troupe Dance of the Sacred Fire.
Wildfest builds on a tradition that began in 2012 when, despite the all-day rain, more than 300 guests came to celebrate public lands at the Flying Dog Ranch in Woody Creek. In 2014, Wilderness Workshop collaborated with several local organizations to host a similar event at the base of Aspen Highlands, the Maroon Bells Birthday Bash. They celebrated the 50th anniversary of both the Wilderness Act and the Maroon Bells Wilderness. It attracted nearly 2,000 people. In 2015, Kate McBride hosted Wildfest at the Other Side Ranch in Old Snowmass.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.wildernessworkshop.org/wildfest or at the Wilderness Workshop office at the Third Street Center in Carbondale. General-admission tickets are $25, and Gonzo tickets are $150. There is limited on-site parking; carpooling is encouraged. Guests are encouraged to bring sunscreen, cash, a water bottle and lawn chairs and/or blankets.
Updates will be provided on the Wilderness Workshop website (www.wildernessworkshop.org) and Facebook event page, http://www.facebook.com/wildernessworkshop.
Sponsors include Sopris Liquor and Wine, Alpine Bank, The Aspen Times, Aspen Sojourner Magazine, Slow Groovin’ BBQ, Element Basalt-Aspen Hotel, Bristlecone Mountain Sports, Ken Ransford PC, Reese Henry Inc, Xssentials, The Agency Aspen, GonzoNation.org, Aspen Brewing Company, Suerte Tequila, Stripped Au Naturale Drink Mixers, Crystal River Meats, Bethel Party Rentals, Gruet, KDNK, Artbase, Mural Farm, Aspen Skiing Company and Steve’s Guitars.
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Don’t freak out if you see helicopters hovering over the Roaring Fork Valley backcountry or fixed-wing aircraft making repeated trips. It is part an annual wildlife study by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.