At Pioneer Park located on N. Pikes Peak Avenue (Hwy. 67) between 3rd and 4th Street in Florence.
Weaving in and out of the antique stores on Florence’s Main Street, one word comes to mind, charming. It’s an everybody-knows-everybody kind of place where everything you need is within a couple blocks of each other and there’s always a familiar face at the post office and TrueValue Hardware store, but the small town of just around 4,000 residents will grow, nearly triple, for three days this month while hosting the Americana Music and Art Festival.
The festival will make a return to Florence for its second year. 28 bands and 20 visual artists will make up the entertainment for the three-day festival located in Pioneer Park, between 3rd and 4th Streets.
Musicians scheduled to perform at the festival are bluegrass, folk and Americana acts from across the country.
Headlining bands include Portland based Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, who will perform the first night of the festival, Fort Collin’s band You Me And Apollo and Grammy nominated The Greencards.
Indie rock band Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside has been called a mix between “Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Waits” by social media site Mashable. With a rebel vibe, the group will be a stand out.
Colorado’s You Me And Apollo is quickly making a name for itself in the indie rock world as well, as they have been guests at Film on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheater this summer.
Other acts include Southern Colorado favorites. Blank Tape Record’s Joe Johnson and Grant Sabin, Americana focused J. Miller Band and Florence based The Flumps will all play sets.
In addition to the music, festival-goers will be able to watch artist John Alderman, painter and sculptor or marble and bronze, and Canon City sculptor and painter, Sheldon Roberts, create a tree sculpture titled “Florence and Friends”.
The twenty-foot tall sculpture will be a carving of Florence, the daughter of the city founder James McCandless. Florence Arts Council requested the historically-based sculpture.
Alderman’s painting, “Buffalo Jam,” will also be a festival staple as it was chosen out of seven entries to be the logo for the three days.
A number of his murals and sculptures can be seen in the Canon City area. As a sculptor, Alderman said in a news release, “I prefer working in timeless media that will leave a lasting impression.”
The festival started last year when Florence was seeking a grant from Colorado Creates to help improve and restore crumbling buildings.
“(The festival) formed out of necessity,” said Charlette Henager, Executive Producer of Frog Dawg Productions.
The city was really missing the tourism aspect to receive the grant and so a group put together the first annual Americana Music and Art Festival to bring visitors to the area.
A portion of the money raised will benefit non-profit organizations in the community. The SEED Fund will receive the money which will give revenue to programs in the community that are beneficial like urban renewal, business education classes and youth programs.
With an attendance of 3,000 last year, $5,000 was donated to the SEED Fund. Frog Dawg Productions didn’t make a profit but was still able to donate the money.
“We’re hoping to raise the level. If we can break even this year we will donate around $10,000,” Henager said.
Bringing in national acts and moving the festival to the park are two factors Henager said will likely increase attendance.
“The Americana Music & Art Festival is not just another event but rather a vehicle to revitalize a historic town and instill new-found pride. The Festival offers a real chance to make a difference,” said a news release from Frog Dawg Productions in June.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the festival’s website. Three-day passes as well as individual day tickets will be available for various prices.