Live review: Echofest '09 @ Echo MountainBy Billy Thieme | October 1st, 2009 | No Comments »
If the inaugural festival is any indication of its future, Echofest may become a significant annual event before you know it. While the outdoor festival at Echo Mountain is certainly no Monolith (yet), it was well attended. The all-day lineup featured 20 Denver indie bands on two stages set up on the mountain’s bunny hill, nestled against the “magic carpet” lift. At one point the crowd grew to over 100, despite some pretty stiff winds, wild temperature swings, and a rugged, campground atmosphere.
Not bad for a first time. And, considering it was on the side of a mountain, more than 12 miles from the nearest significant power grid, it was a lot better than not bad. Besides typical equipment and sound considerations, there were weather, terrain, and power challenges that other venues don’t need to consider, even on their worst day.
Massive props to Echo Mountain, along with Whisper Fiercely and JamSpace (two partnering companies that helped put Echofest ’09 on), for making it happen.
A couple of things they did to pull it off: power for both stages was supplied by Echo Mountain’s generator, parked on a catwalk. Thankfully, there was only one outage instance. The closest parking was a hundred yards from the stages, over rough terrain, so each band’s equipment was “ferried” by truck from the lot and unloaded, and then it was all reloaded and taken back after their set, as the next band setup.
And then there was weather. It never rained (or snowed for that matter) while I was there, but as the winds picked up and temperatures went down, fans and bands both took respite inside Echo’s two lodges, or gathered around the bonfire outside. Thankfully, cold winds, stiff fingers and red cheeks all were only small matters. The bands filled a total of over nine hours of music, and all were ecstatic to be a part of the festival.
The lineup featured nearly as many punk, metal and rock genres as it did bands. Many came from Denver suburbs, which proved that, while downtown gobbles up a lot of focus, the Denver scene is strong everywhere. There was chunky, Mudhoney-style grunge funk from Circle # Dot, and edgy prog-rock from Portamento. Apex Vibe and Can’t Quite Get Right featured their unique blends of dub-ska rock, and AudioFlux poured on some straight up punk thrash.
And then there was metal.
As the sun crept behind the Rockies, the focus shifted to harder rock, from System of a Down-type angst from thiC and Cypher, to pure, unadulterated death metal from Smackfactor. The crowd loved it, and by that time was larger than at any point earlier in the day. As I left, there were still five bands in the lineup left to play, and there were no signs of slowing down. Hopefully the momentum will continue, and we’ll get to see this festival grow, and continue to focus on Denver’s great local bands.
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