Excitement is in the air at the Moab Grassroots Music Exchange (MGME) headquarters, as musicians, artists and collaborators set their sights on a new horizon.
After two music-filled campouts at Area BFE, the group is moving its free outdoor concert series to a different venue off Kane Creek Boulevard west of Moab, where it will host featured musical guest “Funk&Gonzo” on Sunday, June 28.
MGME co-founder Jenna Talbott said the new location on Dax Clifford’s property will have a similar feel that uses the natural lay of the land and is set against a breathtaking backdrop.
“We are looking forward to hosting Funk&Gonzo at the new space — it’s good timing because they are the largest group we’ve featured and now we will have a bigger stage, as well as more sound from Scott Ibex,” Talbott said.
Clifford’s vision for the property includes the development of a venue — a mission that Talbott said MGME is happy to help with.
Local artist Tim McAllister, also known as “MIK,” has been assembling the stage for MGME events and says that he is relieved and enthusiastic about the switch.
“Now we are really ready to build,” McAllister said.
The first concert at Clifford’s property is set to begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday, although guests are welcome to arrive at the new venue any time after 5 p.m. that afternoon.
Salt Lake City-based Funk&Gonzo has been an evolving “reggae rock hip hop” band for eight years now. Vocalist Eric Pehrson has been along for the ride from the beginning.
“We have kept the name because we keep a lot of the songs and they just evolve as we do,” Pehrson said.
About a year ago, Funk&Gonzo added two horn players, Dylan Vessel and Adam Swenson.
“We put an ad out on KSL for a horn player. We liked them both, so now we have harmonizing horns,” Pehrson said.
Other band members include Jeramy Stephan on bass, Casey Nay on guitar, and Nate Brown on drums.
“We just want to play and spread positivity through music,” Pehrson said. “We have a lot of fun, but we definitely have a conscious message throughout our music.”
Vessel, who joined the band last June, said that Funk&Gonzo has been a new experience for him.
“It’s been fun coming in on a project that has established material and such an amazing and loyal following,” Vessel said.
Vessel, 21, is the youngest member in the band and is bound for the University of Denver in the fall on a full-ride scholarship for music. He intends to stay with the band to the fullest capacity that he can, hoping also to bridge the gap between Salt Lake City and Denver with tour destinations.
“We didn’t have to teach him much, he jumps right in and writes some pretty cool parts,” Pehrson said.
In addition to the headliner’s show, the event will feature performances by local supporting musicians, as well as bonfire jams, fire-spinning, seed bomb demos and low-impact-camping.
Before this month’s campout, MGME events at Area BFE featured the likes of musicians Talia Keys, Andrea Burggraf, Chad Biddle, Pixie and the Partygrass Boys and Simply B, as well as more than a dozen local musical acts.
Talbott said that MGME would like to thank Area BFE for its support, and she encourages the community to keep enjoying and caring for the land there.
“The amount of collaboration it has taken to set up a venue for a one-night event has been an impressive accomplishment by the Moab community,” she added.
For more information, go to www.facebook.com/moabgme.
To reach Clifford’s property from downtown Moab, drive south on Main Street and turn right on Kane Creek Boulevard at the intersection near the Burger King. Stay left on Kane Creek Boulevard when you reach the “Y” intersection with 500 West. Eight miles past the intersection, turn right at a gated dirt road off to the right and follow the parking guides to the festival.
Funk&Gonzo kick off MGME campout series in Kane Creek Canyon
When: Sunday, June 28; concert starts at 7 p.m.; guests welcome any time after 5 p.m.
Where: Kane Creek Boulevard, about eight miles west of the intersection with 500 West. From downtown Moab, drive south on Main Street and turn right on Kane Creek Boulevard at the intersection near the Burger King. At the “Y” intersection with 500 West, stay left on Kane Creek Boulevard, following the river. Eight miles past the intersection, turn right on a gated dirt road off to the right and follow the parking guides to the festival.