Organizers say this year’s Yampa River Festival is only the beginning |

Organizers say this year’s Yampa River Festival is only the beginning

Reggae bands will take the stage on Saturday for festival at Loudy Simpson

The new stage at Loudy Simpson park that was recently built to host events like Yampa Fest and Whittle the Wood.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

This Saturday, the first-ever reggae festival in Moffat County will be kicking off at Loudy Simpson Park. 

Yampa River Roots Reggae Fest will be an all-day affair centered around a key feature in the community — the Yampa River — and, of course, it will come with some reggae music.

One of the event organizers, Josh Veenstra, said the main inspiration that brought this festival to life was to create an event showcasing the Yampa River and everything Craig has to offer. 

“We have this Yampa River, and we’ve never had a festival that has been named to highlight the river that runs through our town,” Veenstra said. “ I think that the future of our town is the river.”

Looking at other concert series on the Western slope, Yampa River Festival organizers saw that the focus has always been on other genres like country or bluegrass, and there was a need to bring a new vibe to town. As a result, Yampa River Festival’s lineup will include an eclectic assortment of reggae artists in a show themed with glow lights.

The local hosts for the reggae festival are Rocky Mountain Cannabis and Good Vibes River Gear. The main sponsor for the event is Rocky Mountain Cannabis, which has made it possible for the entire festival to be free.

Festivities will start with a 5K fun run at Loudy Simpson. Following the race, there will be a free yoga class in the park with local yoga teacher Kristin Skowronski. People should bring their own yoga mat and a water bottle for the morning activities. There will also be food and drink vendors in the park starting at 11 a.m. 

As a way of celebrating the festival’s namesake, a river cleanup is scheduled to run from the Ranney Street bridge to the train bridge at Loudy Simpson from 11 a.m. to noon. This will be a good way to give a little back to the river during the festival. 

Additionally, Good Vibes River Gear will be hosting paddle board demos at the park in the afternoon, featuring locally made Hala boards, which are carried at the river shop. People can stop by to test out the water and the river gear to cool down. 

The whole festival is set up to be a family friendly event.

During a big chunk of the day, the Craig Skatepark Alliance will be hosting a skate day with ramps set up near the soccer fields and boards for people to ride on a first come, first serve basis. The Craig Skatepark Alliance will also be accepting donations that will go toward the skate park project.

Music will kick off at 4:20 p.m. with opening act Ghost.Wav, a reggae/rock/hip-hop band from Denver. The beer gardens, sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company, will open be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with a cash only bar.

Proceeds from liquor sales will go to the Parrotheads, Craig Chamber of Commerce and the Good Vibes River Fund to support local nonprofits focused on helping the community and the Yampa River. 

Concert-goers will be able to enjoy the music from the grass, where they can bring blankets and camp chairs. There won’t be any dogs, outside alcohol, coolers or firearms allowed at the festival. 

Once the sun goes down, the park will be full of glowing lights and dancing. The Yampa Fest organizers invite concert-goers to wear glow-in-the-dark, neon clothing and bring anything that glows. Organizers encourage LED lights because they are rechargeable and reusable. 

Both headlining acts were hand selected by Veenstra and fellow festival organizer Paul James. 

“Sensi Trails is absolutely one of my favorite reggae bands,” Veenstra said. “They play a vibe I’ve listened to forever — ‘Just Livin’’ — which kind of set the tone for Good Vibes River Gear.” 

The headliner, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, was picked by James, and will be playing into the night in what the band describes as “a perfect blend of hip hop, punk, reggae, rock and soul.” 

This will be the first festival of its kind in the community, one that Veenstra said was created with the intent of evolving into a signature event that can grow alongside more activity on the Yampa. 

“The future of this is going to be huge,” Veenstra said. “It’s kind of based around the white water park being built in Craig.” 

The whitewater park project started years ago with the Parrotheads and has since gained traction with support from the City of Craig and aided by grant funding. 

“This is the year we need to make it shine,” Veenstra said. “And before you know it, it will blossom.”

Yampa River Festival schedule of events

9 a.m.-10 a.m. — 5K Fun Run

10 a.m.-11 a.m. — Yoga in the Park 

11 a.m-noon — Yampa River Cleanup

11 a.m.-8 p.m. — Food and Art Vendors

11 a.m. – 11 p.m Beer Garden

noon-2 p.m. — Paddle Board Demos (provided by Good Vibes River Gear)

noon-5 p.m. — Craig Skatepark Alliance (Ramps will be set up in the northwest corner of the parking lot between the soccer fields)

4:20 p.m.-5:20 p.m. — Ghost.Wav

5:50 p.m.-6:50 p.m. — Flowmads

7:20 p.m.-8:50 p.m. — Sensi Trails

9:20 p.m.-10:50 p.m. — Tomorrows Bad Seeds

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