Crestone Music Festival drums up dancers

Photos by Patrick Shea

CRESTONE — Tom Dessain, Executive Director of Crestone Performances Inc., steered another Crestone Music Festival to success on Aug. 6 with the help of volunteers, vendors, quality performers, and decades of experience putting on public spectacles.

Before an interactive demonstration of a Brazilian tradition called “Capoeira,” Dessain said, “We take acts like you’re about to see to the schools in Saguache County, Salida, and into the San Luis Valley. The Japanese Taiko Drummers that you saw earlier, they’re our most popular act in the schools. We’ve done 25 shows over 20 years with the Taiko Drummers.”

Saturday marked the 21st anniversary of the festival. Dessain and his crew have produced 251 shows over the decades, featuring almost 50 different presenters. Events have highlighted steel drummers, jugglers, a falconer, and many other acts from all over the world. Dessain mentioned that they are reviving Open Mic Night for students this fall.

Two of the acts sandwiched between original songwriters, aerial acrobatics, drumming, blues, and jazz on Saturday also highlight the school shows. The Taiko Drummers performed mid-afternoon, and a group from Colorado Springs and Brazil showcased Capoeira before ONDA closed out the night with Latin-infused dance grooves. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial arts practice from the 19th Century, a combination of dance and combat movements.

Crestone’s own Malana Ramadei spun for the crowd.

“We started playing music together when she was in sixth grade,” Dessain told the crowd before she started her show. “Just letting you know; Malana can really play the trap set drums.”

Suspended above the ground, Ramadei’s aerial display entailed wrapping herself in fabric while twirling, twisting, and unraveling to the ground. She performed twice during the festival.

Blue Rooster featured a few more musicians on-stage for their refined renditions of classic rock cover songs. Earlier in the lineup, a trio of bass, guitar, and cello called Rhondavoo shared jazz standards and more. Rhonda Schoenecker played guitar and sang. On cello, Mark Dudrow provided more vocals while Charley Johnson sang and played bass.

The bouncy house throbbed with children throughout the day, and bands took turns on two adjacent stages made possible by generous sponsors. Thanks to Amica’s Pizza in Salida, one stage was fully funded.

The Crestone Community Stage received money from Crestone Mercantile, The Crestone Eagle, Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa, Shumei International Institute, Alamosa Live Music Association, Crestone Creative Trade, Valley Roots Food Hub, Higher Elevation Dispensary, One Eleven Dispensary, Shaman 1214, Harrell Quality Homes, and Shangrilah Colorado LLC.

Photos by Patrick Shea


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