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Some venues are so beautiful they become an experience all themselves. This isn’t just something noticed by fans, but by artists as well.
That’s a big reason the non-profit Vail Valley Foundation is able to bring quality acts to the free Moe’s Bar B Que Hot Summer Nights concert series, said Tom Boyd, the venue’s Director.
The Wailers, who play Tuesday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m., are a great example of that, he said.
“We’ve built a 30-plus year legacy here at the Ford Amphitheater, and the word has gotten around to bands that this is an extraordinary place to play,” said Tom Boyd, new Director at the Vail Valley Foundation. “It makes it all the easier to attract bands that are coming through Colorado to this staple of our community culture, especially those who have been through here before.”
Reggae from one of the greats
The last time the Wailers came through was one of the most well-attended shows of the Hot Summer Nights series, filling the under-cover pavilion seats as well as the open-air Susan and Harry Frampton lawn, Boyd said.
“The Wailers is always a home run,” Boyd said. “It’s classic reggae, all the hits – and this Valley absolutely loves it.”
Best known for performing with Bob Marley up until his death in 1981, The Wailers have continued to play for large audiences worldwide for nearly the past four decades. The Wailers are now led by Aston Barrett Jr., drummer and musical director for the band. Barrett Jr.’s father, bassist Aston “Familyman” Barrett, was one of the original members of The Wailers who played with Marley.
‘When music gave you goosebumps’
The Wailers are currently working on a new album, which will feature the band’s signature bass-heavy sound, while also taking a cue from the reggae music styles of today.
“My father said that when the ’80s came and into the ’90s, something felt different about the sound,” said Barrett Jr. in a May 22 interview with the Charleston City Paper. “It started to get a little thin, especially for reggae. But they had to go with the times. They had to decrease some of their levels to go along with whatever was going on in the digital world, until now. The industry found a way to bring back that beefy analog sound. It’s gonna be back closer to the sound they had back then, just with no noise … It’s like it was back in the day, when music gave you goosebumps.”
For Barrett Jr., continuing The Wailers’ musical tradition has always been a priority for the band.
“Whatever legacy my father didn’t get to fulfill, it’s my job to fulfill,” Barrett Jr. said. “I am not him, but I still have to be on the standard that he is on, or higher. He’s already made the albums of the century, and I would never compare to that, but what my father taught me is priceless, and I honor him.”
‘The best party in town’
The Wailers represent kaleidoscope of musical colors playing at Hot Summer Nights this year.
That’s intentional, Boyd said.
“We work closely with Diane Moudy and Resort Entertainment to make sure we have something that will work for all the many different sets of tastes that live and visit here – and that’s a pretty tough challenge,” Boyd said. “It’s important that Diane and her company understand our community, who we are, and know where to stretch the boundaries and what will work for that. We think this year is a great example of that.”
The music is only part of the draw: the legendary tacos from Big Delicious catering and the quality beverage selections from Gore Creek Concessions are a perfect side-dish to the free music on tap throughout the series.
Organizers remind fans that the Ford Amphitheater is an outdoor venue and to dress for the Rockies’ changing weather, and arrive early for prime seating.
Learn more about the non-profit Vail Valley Foundation’s FREE concert series’ at grfavail.com.