OPINION: Music Festivals Here, Near, and Far

I inadvertently double-booked myself this weekend, and as a result will miss the June 5-7 Folk N’ Bluegrass music festival in Pagosa Springs for the first time in years. More on that later.

This weekend, June 5-6, also brings the first 2015 Gentlemen of the Road Stopover to Seaside Heights, New Jersey. The Friday headliner (tonight) is Alabama Shakes, and Mumford & Sons on Saturday night.

The final of the four U.S. Gentlemen of the Road (GOTR) Stopovers is August 21-22 in Salida, which is why I am interested in Seaside Heights.

Three music festivals. One on a New Jersey Beach in a densely populated part of the country. Another in the Ponderosa Pines on a hill in the rural town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The third is on an ex-ranch in rural Salida, Colorado.

I’ve read some online articles (and entertaining comments) about the Seaside Heights festival, and, even though the venue is completely different from Vandaveer Ranch in Salida, the articles and photos give a sense as to how Salida will be transformed for the festival. Festival promoters Madison House Presents have downsized Salida GOTR ticket sale expectations from 35,000 to 20-25,000. At $199 a ticket, that’s an unexpected and considerable revenue loss to the for-profit company Madison House.

Meanwhile, 35,000 are expected to crowd the beach and boardwalk at Seaside Heights. Apparently it helps to have a large population in the immediate area to draw from. It seems that the Seaside Heights locals have some of the same concerns that many of Salida’s locals have about the largest event ever to be staged in their respective towns.

This June 4 article,
Seaside Heights gearing up for Gentlemen of the Road Stopover has a wonderful photo gallery of the preparation for the festival site, as well as quotes and comments from the locals.

This June 1 article, Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers tour: Set times and info for major shore festival perhaps gives an idea of what the Salida festival site schedule will be.

Another June 4 article, Campers braving cold and wind for Seaside Gentlemen of the Road concert
talks about that big outdoor music festival unkown – unpredictable and perhaps unpleasant weather.

Another article talks about the havoc the festival will cause to weekend traffic – also a shared concern between the Salida surrounding community and the Seaside Heights community.

In contrast, a much more laid-back, family-friendly music festival will take place this weekend (June 5-7) atop Reservoir Hill, overlooking the little town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado and — in the distance — the majestic San Juan Mountains, decked with fresh snow by an unseasonably moist springtime.

Here’s a short video created for the festival organizers, FolkWest, following last year’s event, shot among the towering Ponderosa pines that cover Reservoir Hill Park. Enjoy.


This festival has around 3,000 attendees. Folk West is a non-profit organization, so they aren’t affected by the current lawsuit and laws that require for-profit festivals to pay their “volunteers” minimum wage – thus making them employees – not volunteers.

There is plenty of room at the Pagosa music festival for attendees, who may bring in beach chairs and blankets, or sit in the tent where chairs are provided.

Of course, the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover provides “world class talent” with bands such as Mumford & Sons. The tradeoff for that talent is a huge festival of 20,000-35,000 attendees, and standing room only to see and hear that world class talent. No chairs, blankets or coolers are allowed in the stage area.

You can learn more about the Salida Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers at their website, and more about the Pagosa Folk & Bluegrass Festival festival — and also, about FolkWest’s annual September event, the Four Corners Folk Festival — on the FolkWest website.

Cynda Green

Cynda Green is an investigative reporter who enjoys writing about various and sundry topics, least of which is politics. But someone has to do it. Contact: cyndagreen@gmail.com