Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Itís music in the mountains

Sawtooth Music Festival celebrates community

Express Staff Writer

The Sawtooth Music Festival in Stanleyís Pioneer Park features a full day of music and fun to benefit the Salmon River Clinic. Photo by Sarah S Glazer

Set in the majestic Sawtooth Mountains in Stanley, the Sawtooth Music Festival has fast become an anticipated summer event. In its third year, the festival expects 1,500 people to enjoy a full day of music, dancing, eating and arts and crafts as well as forest education and non-profit awareness.

From noon to midnight on Saturday, July 26 the festival will present an array of bands, which include Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Free Peoples, Elephant Revival, Jeremiah James, EqualEyes, Dgiin, Heads Like This, Bucky and The Damphools.

Headlining the festival will be Thao with the Get Down Stay Down who have been described as "a bluegrass outfit hijacked by a punk-rock singer with a burning desire to write pop music," by the weekly alternative paper, The Stranger, in Seattle, Wash.

From San Francisco the festival welcomes back the fun and lively music of Free Peoples, and this year another Bay Area band Dgiin will also play. Coming all the way from Boulder, Colo., Elephant Revival will join the line-up to play its brand of experimental, folk inspired music.

In addition, several bands from Boise will appear, including EqualEyes, Heads Like This and Jeremiah James, who are a mix of Sawtooth Music Festival veterans and Stanley summer staple acts. Making an appearance from the Wood River Valley, The Damphools will be present to play their blend of bluegrass and folk music.

The festival is the brainchild of two river guides, Nicole Johnson and Patrick Condon, who were looking for any excuse to spend summers in Stanley.

"I am a student in the winter, and Patrick is a seasonal guide, who goes to South America in the winter," said festival organizer Johnson. "It's an all-volunteer effort and all of our friends come up to the park and work really hard."

Johnson said when the Braun Brothers moved its festival to Challis, the Stanley city council still wanted to have a music festival. Keeping funding in the area, Johnson and Condon felt they could make it happen.

"It's really the fourth year because the first year was a prelude," Johnson said. "We started planning from there and got support from local businesses and non-profits and forest service educators."

The festival is a fun family environment. Camping is encouraged and coolers as well as picnics are welcome. This year, proceeds from the event will benefit the Salmon River Clinic in Stanley.

"They are trying to be a year-round clinic and open for three days during the winter," Johnson said. "There is a need for a clinic because people are recreating in the winter. The clinic wants to build a new ambulance bay and be a place for people to come to in a time of need."

The festival receives several donations and on Sunday it takes volunteers and musicians on a river trip donated by White Cloud Rafting with food donated by the Horseshoe Pit.

For details and directions, visit

Festival info

· No glass is allowed in Pioneer Park, which is located in the heart of Stanley.

· Coolers are welcome.

· Camping is permitted at Pioneer Park on Saturday, July 26, only.

· Vending booths include arts and crafts, food and beverage and Experiential Education.

· RV campers welcome but there are no hookups.

· Beer and wine are available and proceeds benefit the Salmon River Clinic.

· Lost and found is located at Stanley Chamber of Commerce.

· Bring: camping gear, a blanket or low back lawn chair, sunscreen, sunglasses, warm clothes when the sun sets and dancing shoes.

· Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. Tickets for seniors are $20 and children under 12 free. Camping is $10 per vehicle.

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