If you actually needed an excuse to lounge around on cool, green grass, basking in the dwindling rays of a sunny summer's evening while enjoying good music and good company, then the Ketchum summer music festival, Ketch'em Alive, will willingly provide.
The hugely popular event, one of the most anticipated of the summer, according to event organizer Will Caldwell, runs for nine weeks through June, July and August. This year the shows will be on Tuesday nights, beginning Tuesday, June 28, and running until Tuesday, August 23. The music starts at 7 p.m. at Forest Service Park at First and Washington streets in Ketchum.
The lineup of bands this year looks better than ever. Headliners include the unforgettable Maria Muldaur on July 19; Fiamma Fumana, an Italian band who mix traditional Italian violin with a techno beat, on August 2; the West Coast's hottest Cajun/rock act, Tom Rigney, on July 26; the world beat sound of the Motet on July 5 and opening the festival next week, June 28, are Jamaican reggae act Zion Roots. The opening acts for these sizzling headliners will be local valley bands, ranging from bona fide music mavens to valley children just discovering the joy of musical instruments.
"We're now in our sixth year," said Caldwell, also a local artist and gallery owner. "A lot of people feel that it's the best summer event in Ketchum and they love it and I get all kinds of good feedback. It's a Ketchum thing, sponsored by the city for the city and it's free." What's not to love?
The idea for the festival grew out of a discussion held seven years ago by the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau.
"They wanted to create something that would stimulate activity in the town core during the summer, because on any given night a lot of times there wasn't anything to do, except restaurants and movies," explained Caldwell. "We wanted the tourists that come here to feel that the town was interacting together and that there was excitement and more to do than there would be in their home towns, where there are restaurants and movies."
The inaugural concert was held right on the streets of Ketchum, but after the first year it was moved to the more comfortable location of the Ketchum Forest Service Park. "It's more friendly (in the park) and people can picnic and the kids can come."
Caldwell selects the bands who headline the event. "I'm very discriminating in who I bring, but I try to bring a variety and the music is geared towards people dancing. There's always a lot of people dancing. This is very interactive, get up on your feet and dance together. We also always have some local bands as headliners (this year The Bobos, Toast Points and 812 Band do the honors) as well as the local bands who open, which makes it a community event."
The concerts attract a broad range of valley residents and visitors—all shapes, ages, sizes and musical persuasions. "We have 600 to 800 people there on concert night, all demographics. It's a really community spirited event. It has always been about bringing people together more than the music. The music is the catalyst to get people together, to enjoy their company, make new friends and enjoy the summer nights together."
The business community, after ironing out a few kinks, has been incredibly supportive of the festival. This year the event is sponsored by KSKI, First Bank of Idaho, Atkinsons', Phone Directories Co., Ketchum Dry Goods, Barry Peterson Jewelers and Rocky Mountain Hardware.
Tuesdays in Ketchum
Ketch'em Alive is a free music festival held in Ketchum's Forest Service Park at First and Washington streets on Tuesdays throughout the summer. Picnics are welcomed and dancing is encouraged. Beverages will be available from Sun Valley Brewing Co. and fresh-squeezed fruit juice and iced tea will be offered.
The first concert kicks off on June 28. The opening acts begin at 7 p.m. and headliners Zion Roots play from 7:30-9 p.m. Details: 726-9059.