The road to Snowmass Village is paved with the bones of early summer pop fests. In recent years, the town has seen the Chili Pepper and Brew Fest give way to the Mammoth Fest, which folded after 2015 and was replaced by the Rendezvous Craft Beer Festival, where the focus is on tasting, not tunes.
Enter Bluebird Art + Sound, which takes over Fanny Hill and Base Village for its inaugural weekend, June 30 to July 2. The festival promises a unique blend of rock, electronic music, fine art, and cutting-edge immersive multimedia experiences.
The brainchild of Los Angeles–based concert promoter and talent agent Garrett Chau, Bluebird arrives with an elite music festival pedigree (Chau has worked on top-tier American festivals and helped expand Lollapalooza internationally). “We’re not just doing another music festival,” he says. “We’re doing something that will also embrace art, that has social and political relevance. Because the big festivals are so big, I felt it was inherently important to do something that wasn’t trying to replicate those bigger festivals on a smaller scale.”
Most importantly, Bluebird comes out of the gate with a strong booking of a hot, top-shelf band that has a passionate local and national following: the Drive-By Truckers. The Georgia band is riding high off of its acclaimed 2016 album American Band, a Southern rock clarion call for progressive values and national unity (the band launched its fall 2016 tour with a sold-out show at Belly Up Aspen). They’ll play a ticketed concert Friday night on Fanny Hill, with Louisiana rock band the Seratones opening.
The rest of the weekend’s festivities—including interactive art installations and DJ shows on Fanny Hill—are free.
The festival is building a 2,600-square-foot art experience in Base Village, which will be filled with video, sound, and virtual reality works. “It has this flow to it,” explains artist Jesse Fleming, who is curating the art side of Bluebird. “So someone enters and they can kind of get lost in this section or that section, this installation or that virtual reality.”
Chau and Fleming are developing the festival around the theme “us,” looking at ways to celebrate differences and inspire unity through music and art. “We want to create a coming-together,” says Fleming. “The work is provocative and entertaining and envelops you like a sensorial hug. The tent as a whole will do that.”
Chau hopes 2017 is just the beginning for Bluebird; he already has a five-year expansion plan in place. “We’re not going to get to everything we want to do in the first year,” he says, “but we feel we’re off to a decent start.”
For the complete Bluebird Art + Sound schedule and to purchase passes and tickets, visit gosnowmass.com.