THE BUZZ: Music city madness

By on June 16, 2015

A few memorable moments from the groundbreaking Contour Music Festival

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The awe-inspiring dancers of Quixotic. Photo: Sargent Schutt

Jackson, Wyoming – A pulsating music metropolis – words not typically used to describe Jackson Hole, until now. Contour Music Festival spiked the valley’s cultural pulse and satiated a musical appetite many folks didn’t even know they had.

We’re talking artists across myriad genres, performing at Snow King’s main stage each day – with a spectacular alpenglow dotting the sky each eve – and then late night shows at the Pink Garter, Center for the Arts, The Silver Dollar Bar and Town Square Tavern. The energy coursing through these packed locales was reminiscent of New Orleans, where, on any given night, you can wander from one haunt to the next and hear world-class music pumping through the walls of multiple venues. But Contour did it better than the Big Easy this weekend because each venue’s offerings varied considerably from the other.

The Nth Power performed Steely Dan at the Tavern. Mr. Charles Bradley, who funked up the main stage Saturday, was in attendance. Photo: Sargent Schutt

Nth Power served up an exclusive performance of Steely Dan at the Tavern. Mr. Charles Bradley, who funked up the main stage Sunday, just happened to be in the audience. Photo: Sargent Schutt

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Meanwhile, deep, dirty bass lines and chromatic visuals infiltrated the Garter care of G Jones. Photo: Sargent Schutt

The Center for the Arts, whose lawn became a relaxing oasis known as the Art Garden with art installations and community lounging, hosted two standout events: a Sunday night dance party that transformed the space into a seductive bass haven with DJs El Papa Chango, The Librarian and Barisone, and stunning aerial acrobatics and visuals set to violin and heavy percussion care of Quixotic on Saturday. Contour co-organizer Jeff Stein jumped on stage after the performance while an enraptured full house paid their adulation. The crowd’s reaction was among Stein’s favorite moments of the weekend.

“Looking into the audience during Quixotic and seeing the expressions of wonder, amazement and awe on people’s faces was beautiful,” he said.

Quixotic's musicians and dancers brought the house down Saturday night at Center for the Arts.

Quixotic’s musicians and dancers brought the house down Saturday night at Center for the Arts. Photo: Sargent Schutt

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Violinist of Quixotic Shane Borth crafted an auditory journey for a sold-out crowd. Photo: Sargent Schutt

A rare sense of gratification and contentment could be detected on the faces of festival and venue promoters who realized they were part of something historic, including the indefatigable Dom Gagliardi, owner of The Pink Garter/Rose.

“It was great to see our community opened up to the full experience of what a festival like this has to offer – laughing, dancing, letting go of the stress of life and appreciating it,” Gagliardi said.

The first full day of Contour Music Festival kicked off Friday at Snow King. Many Jacksonites heard the call of bass. Photo: Sargent Schutt

The first full day of Contour Music Festival kicked off Friday at Snow King. Many Jacksonites answered the call of bass. Photo: Sargent Schutt

Deltron 3030 lit up the Garter on Sunday eve with Del tha Funkee Homosapien on the mic, Kid Koala on the turntables, a full band, and Dan the Automator as maestro. The sweaty, beguiled crowd lost all composure during the encore when Del broke into his famed Gorillas track “Clint Eastwood.”

Futuristic super group Deltron 3030 brought Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Kid Koala, Dan the Automator and a full band to the electrify fans at the Garter. Photo: Kyle Haynam

Futuristic super group Deltron 3030 flabbergasted fans at the Garter Sunday eve. Photo: Kyle Haynam

Perhaps few in the audience for Thievery Corporation’s main stage closing set had any idea what they were in for. Thievery crafted an electrifying live music experience with multiple vocalists, singing in French, Spanish and English, instrumentalists and performers, including hip-hop icon Mr. Lif. Each addition to the group doled out a different flavor, from reggae and dub to trip-hop, hip-hop and samba. The set concluded with a soulful rendition of the haunting melody “Sweet Tides,” sending a stunned crowd out into the night in search of more music.

Famed hip-hop emcee Mr. Lif gets down with Thievery Corporation to close out the main stage Sunday night. Photo: Kali Collado

Famed hip-hop emcee Mr. Lif gets down with Thievery Corporation to close out the main stage Sunday night. Photo: Kali Collado

Thievery Corporation engaged a massive crowd Sunday evening for killer main stage closing set. Photo: Kyle Haynam

A patchwork of performers each offering a different style and sound comprised the unforgettable closing set a la Thievery Corporation. Photo: Kyle Haynam

Similar to enervated festivalgoers – some who traveled from as far away as England, Hawaii and Mexico – gracious promoters Stein and Matt Donovan are already thinking about next year. Among their thoughts for 2016: “We’re looking at how to take some of the best parts of the event and make them better while expanding the art offerings, workshops and classes,” Stein explained.

We’re with you, Stein and Donovan – let’s start talking about next year.

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About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine and former editor of Planet Jackson Hole. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

One Comment

  1. Crowds as big as

    June 17, 2015 at 5:48 am

    “The energy coursing through these packed locales was reminiscent of New Orleans”

    must have been the drugs..

    ….seemed like a typical friday night in LA.

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