Lukas Nelson & Promise of Real in Vail (August 18, 2017)

Twenty-nine summers ago, President Gerald R. Ford and Willie Nelson led the way for the opening ceremonies of a fledgling performing arts space alongside Gore Creek in the Vail Village.

Three decades later, the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater will celebrate in style all summer long, culminating in the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater 30th Anniversary Concerts featuring Rodrigo y Gabriela and Third Eye Blind on Aug. 18 to 19.

Lucas Nelson and the Promise of the Real will open on Friday night, Aug. 18, for Rodrigo y Gabriela and Dead Man Winter featuring Dave Simonett, of Trampled by Turtles, will open on Saturday night, Aug. 19, for Third Eye Blind. Two more opening acts are expected to be announced soon.

Tickets, passes and weekend-long VIP experiences for the celebration are on sale today and expected to sell quickly at http://www.grfavail.com.

“Great music, great experiences, a beautiful structure and an incredible mountain backdrop have made the Ford Amphitheater a special place for everyone who has a connection to Vail,”Dave ChapinVail Mayor

Cultural centerpiece

In the 30 years since its opening ceremony, the Ford Amphitheater has grown to play an iconic role in regional and local art and culture. It has welcomed top-tier orchestras via Bravo! Vail, international dancers and dance companies via the Vail Dance Festival, the GoPro Mountains of Music free concerts in June and hundreds of pop-rock icons to its now-storied stage.

“If you’ve been to Vail in the summertime, then you almost certainly have a wonderful memory from the Ford Amphitheater, whether it’s from a major performance from a marquee artist like Bob Dylan, a lawn picnic Hot Summer Nights free concert, an evening out at the Vail Dance Festival or a moment of inspiration at a Bravo! Vail orchestral concert,” said Jen Mason, director of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater for the Vail Valley Foundation. “We’ve even had hundreds of young people graduate here and held weddings — it really is a cultural centerpiece of life here in the Vail Valley.”

The Vail Valley Foundation, which manages and operates the Ford Amphitheater, is stepping up its commitment to bring top-shelf music acts to the venue this year and for years to come.

“For years, we’ve heard from our community loud and clear that they would love more headliner, contemporary music,” said Mike Imhof, president and CEO of the Vail Valley Foundation. “The 30th Anniversary of this venue gives us a perfect opportunity to deliver on that front and pave the way for even more great music in years to come.”

The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater 30th anniversary concerts in August will be the crescendo of a summer-long series of celebrations that begin in June with the GoPro Mountains of Music free concerts on June 8 to 10, followed by a dialed-up lineup for the famous Tuesday-night Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Nights free concert series from June to August.

“Thirty years is a big deal for us, so we’re going to spend the entire summer celebrating those memories with the celebration peaking Aug. 18 and 19 with our Gerald R. Ford 30th Anniversary Concert celebration,” Mason said.

Main acts

Rodrigo y Gabriela are a Spanish guitar duo that have sold out Red Rocks and performed at the White House during a meteoric rise that has taken them from the beaches of Ixtapa, Mexico, to busking on the streets of Ireland to a now-acclaimed role as maestro and mistress of a new, metal-infused version of modern Flamenco. They also recently sold out a Boulder Theater show in less than one minute.

Thrid Eye Blind have been selling out shows since their blockbuster hit “Semi-Charmed Life” overtook the airwaves in 1997. The band cranked out a series of hits that became anthems for the late ’90s and early 2000s, including “Jumper,” “How’s it Going to Be,” “Anything,” and “Never Let You Go,” and this summer embark on a Summer Gods Tour throughout the U.S.

A 30-year circle will come complete when Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real open up for Rodrigo y Gabriela on that Friday night, Aug. 18. Nelson is the son of country legend Willie Nelson, who opened the amphitheater in 1987. Dead Man Winter featuring Dave Simonett, of Trampled by Turtles, will open for Third Eye Blind on Saturday, Aug. 19.

A hotter Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Nights Free concerts have been a part of the Ford Amphitheater since the very beginning. To celebrate 30 years of Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Nights free concert series, the Vail Valley Foundation is offering the most exciting lineup in recent memory, including:

June 13 — Dustbowl Revival

June 20 — Hurray for the Rif Raff

June 27 — The Samples

July 11 — Donovan Frankenreiter

July 18 — Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors

July 25 — Shooter Jennings Band

Aug. 15 — Jojo (of Widespread Panic)

Aug. 22 — Super Diamond

“The Ford Amphitheater has been an amazing asset to the entire town of Vail community since its very first day in operation,” said Vail Mayor Dave Chapin. “Great music, great experiences, a beautiful structure and an incredible mountain backdrop have made the Ford Amphitheater a special place for everyone who has a connection to Vail and we applaud the Vail Valley Foundation for taking initiative on this project and ensuring that this venue has flourished for the past 30 years and for many years to come.”

For more information, visit http://www.grfavail.com or http://www.vvf.org.

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