By Betsy Welch
Although their show at Bohn Park on June 4 will be The Dirty Dozen Brass Band's first appearance playing by the banks of the St. Vrain River, it won't be the first time the horn-heavy New Orleans group has played with Lyons in mind.
On Dec. 14, 2013, two months after the St. Vrain flooded Lyons, a group of some of New Orleans most prominent musicians gathered to share their songs in an effort to raise money and morale for the Lyons, Colorado community affected by the flood. Nolarado raised over $15,000 for Lyons residents in the aftermath of the flood. The fiscal facilitator of the funds raised was the Lyons Community Foundation. The Dirty Dozen was part of that NolaRado lineup and thus the subsequent connection between New Orleans and Lyons that lives on today.
The shared experience of a natural disaster can create bonds stronger than state lines.
For CR Gruver, a musician with the New Orleans Suspects and the brainchild behind the NolaRado benefit, the people listening to music under the Spanish moss-spangled Live Oak trees had more in common with the mountain folk in the Centennial State than looks would imply.
"A lot of people don’t realize this, but after Katrina hit, Colorado was the fourth-most popular state for evacuees, a remarkable statistic given the sheer distance between the two places," said Gruver. "And for New Orleans musicians, Colorado is one of the most receptive and supportive areas in the country. Anyone who has been to a late-night New Orleans Jazz Fest show can attest to the impressive number of Colorado residents who make it down to the Crescent City."
For music-lovers in Lyons, the NolaRado relationship means that we don't have to travel far to see some of the Crescent City's best in our own backyard. From Dumpstaphunk in 2013, to Anders Oborne in 2014, to the Revivalists last year, Lyons Outdoor Games has made an effort to having musicians from New Orleans headline the event. It's no question that the music rocks; what makes it an even better show is the poignancy of the connection.
“When flood hit Lyons, these NOLA musicians reached out to us, and crafted this amazing concert for our town that was so far away,” explains Rebecca Louzan, event director at the event’s production company, Onda Creative. “I had the honor of being present for the Nolorado fundraiser with Brent Boland and his family. The genuine care of the New Orlean’s musicians for the people of Lyons touched people deeply here, and we work to keep that connection strong.”
Lyons Outdoor Games is a fundraiser for the Lyons community’s parks and outdoor culture with proceeds benefitting the Town of Lyons Department of Parks and Recreation. The Outdoor Games has undergone enormous growth over the past four years, and this year there will be a small admission charge to the Bohn Park venue. The admission charge will act as a donation to the event’s original philanthropic intent. Lyons Outdoor Games tickets can be purchased for $10/adult and a 50% discounted rate of $5/child until this Friday at http://www.lyonsoutdoorgames.com/buy-tickets, or purchased on-site on June 4th for $10/adult, $10/child. The Under the Stars concert will open with local Big Thompson Flood and Na’an Stop before Dirty Dozen hits the stage. Music starts at 5pm. The Oskar Blues Burning Can Festival will take place from 3pm-6pm (VIP starts at 2pm) and Burning Can tickets can be purchased at http://burningcan.com/locations/lyons-colorado. Camping is available on festival grounds, and encouraged for the safety and fun of festival guests and can be purchased at www.lyonsoutdoorgames.com/buy-tickets. The Lyons Film Festival takes place on Sunday morning and tickets can be purchased at http://www.lyonsfilmfestival.com/tickets.
See the full schedule for the Lyons Outdoor Games: www.lyonsoutdoorgames.com/schedule
About the production + marketing group, Onda Creative: www.ondacreative.com