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Long-running Colorado festival just keeps on going

A Taste of Colorado was lackluster.
Photo: Victoria Moffat · The Sentry

A Taste of Colorado 2019

Labor Day weekend brought along with it the 36th annual a Taste of Colorado: a free music, arts, and food festival found in the Lower Downtown area. Despite its long tenure as an acclaimed mile-high festival, however, this year’s edition turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. 

The food, (surprisingly so at an event with the word “taste” in the title), seemed to take a backseat to the other features of the festival. Most of the promotional material in and around the three-day shindig dared to call it, “Denver’s Ultimate Music Weekend.” The food was pretty good overall, with some tasty flavors and no shortage of common fair foods, from funnel cakes to corn-on-the-cob to giant turkey legs.

The real problem was a largely asinine “soft ticketing” system that demanded festival goers to first purchase carnival cut-out tickets, and then find a decent way to divide them amongst the various booths to get the best possible deal. Still, this portion of the festival was lively, engaging, and an overall good time. 

Sadly, the same can’t be said for the musical performances spread over the weekend, as most of what could disappoint, did disappoint. 

Chief among these dilemmas came from the scale of the festival’s musical environment, or the lack thereof. One main stage was seated squarely in the yard of the City Council building hosted the larger national acts, while only one other, the “Four Corners Stage,” was essentially a pint-sized platform for the smaller acts. Despite this simplicity, only one stage was active at a time, and the main stage suffered some serious sound problems for the duration of the festival.   

Locash’s Sunday-afternoon set seemed to bear the brunt of these issues. On tunes with guitar solos, the volume seemed to fade in and out, even within a solo, and the drums seemed to have a similar issue, with almost random volume levels from song to song, yet as a whole the overall sound was simply far too loud. This didn’t do much to compliment Locash’s tunes either, providing a corny sort of country-hard rock fusion with a surprisingly large number of ill-fitting but briefly played covers, including AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” Backstreet’s “I Want it That Way,” and The Outfield’s “Your Love.” 

Monday evening’s major performance didn’t fare much better. Scott Stapp of the 90’s grunge-rock band Creed made the bill as headliner, transporting a mostly unenthused audience back 20 years with another chorus of “With Arms Wide Open.” Not only did Stapp’s set endure the same technical issues as Locash the day before, but a particularly low and ear shattering tone from some kind of feedback on stage that lasted the better part of the set carried over the entire festival, even above the band itself. 

For a free event, a Taste of Colorado is pretty much as good as to be expected, and the food is certainly worth the trip. Those looking for a quality concert experience, however, would likely have a better time simply throwing their old Creed CD in the stereo.

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