As the year pushes forward into the month of July, Alyeska is starting to feel like summer more and more each day. The mountain is almost 100 percent clear of residual winter snow and the hiking trails are drying up leaving hiking shoes and boots merely dusty after a tromp up North Face Trail. Everyday looking up at the mountain paragliders can be seen taking guests for a thrilling sight seeing tour of the surrounding valley, sometimes as many as five to six at a time. Mountain bikers on the weekends are starting to show up in bigger numbers each weekend to hone in on their big mountain skills. Alaska has never had a lift-assisted downhill mountain bike arena until 2011 and people seem to be adjusting their gear and riding style to the more challenging style of riding that is offered.
All of these activities are tied together with good music. It has been said that music is better when heard live, which happens to be scientifically true. Science has also recently proven music to be even more enjoyable when it’s not only live but live in a beautiful, outdoor, mountain venue. Luckily for Alyeska guests and the surrounding community or Girdwood, all of these pieces are in place right at the Daylodge lawn, complete with concert tent, sound stage and beer garden!
The first two concerts went off with perfect weather, midnight sunshine and an energetic crowd that left both Peter Rowan and Pato Banton excited to come back to Alaska. Peter Rowan and the Bluegrass Band was the first act to take the stage during the annual Fiddlehead Festival spanning two nights in early June. Peter played songs from his very impressive resume into the wee hours of the morning, making the crowd dance bare foot in the grass despite the chilly temperatures. He invited members of his opening act “Whiskey Richards” to jam with him during the encore, producing a unique sound of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass and guitar. This energized the crowd leaving them wanting more even though the clock read 1:30 am.
On June 24th the reggae singer/songwriter Pato Banton took the stage for a high energy soulful reggae show. Fresh off a plane from Brazil Pato and his band “Now Generation” played with synchronized dancing and a rock concert attitude. Pato got the crowd involved by calling out people who were not dancing or dancing in a way that looked funny to him from the stage. He invited 5 or 6 kids to come on stage and have a dance off to the song left right. This had everyone’s attention as they voted for the best dancer with shouts and cheers. For the end of the show the band jammed out to a methodic melody in which each member had a solo to express their talents individually. The horn players threw their long dreads around as they jumped around stage blowing into their Saxophone and trumpet. Tony, their guitar man slide around stage like Slash in the late 80’s making everyone (especially the ladies in the crowd) ecstatic, Mikey on drums had a few minute solo of banging the drums while twirling one drum stick that would have made John Bonham proud. Pato ended his evening with a prayer circle while the band returned to the green room for some after hours activities.
The Wailers have been synonymous with reggae since the mid 1960’s when Bob Marley came out of Kingston Jamaica with a smooth sound and relaxing lyrics about peace, love and happiness. On July 23rd and 24th, The Wailers will be taking part in the Alyeska Summer Concert Series on the Daylodge Lawn. The Summer Concert Series wraps up with the Tennessee alt-country band Lucero on August 19th and 20th.