Whittle the Wood announces musical lineup, bigger prizes for summer festival
The sounds of summer are a few months away, but Craig’s big event in June promises a wide variety of tunes.
Whittle the Wood Rendezvous organizers have announced the musical lineup for the 23rd annual festival from June 21-24. Headlining it will be Gaelic Storm, a California-based ensemble specializing in Celtic rock.
The band has been in existence since the mid-1990s and came to prominence for its appearance in the blockbuster film, “Titanic,” portraying the Irish musicians in the steerage section of the titular ship. The group also contributed several traditional songs to the movie soundtrack.
The band features a wide assortment of instruments and sounds and has released more than a dozen albums since 1998, most recently 2021’s “One for the Road.”
“I had never really listened to it, but it’s pretty neat. It’s the kind of music people are finding again,” said Ryan Dennison, director of Craig Parks and Recreation. “It should be something a lot different than what we’ve typically done before. It’s great music and a great following. We’re excited to get it here.”
Dennison added that the goal with Whittle the Wood’s music this year was to diversify and book performers who will provide several types of music.
Opening for Gaelic Storm during the final night of Whittle the Wood will be Los Texmaniacs, a Tejano group based in San Antonio, Texas. The group has likewise been together since the 1990s and won a Grammy Award in 2010 for the album “Border y Bailes.”
Leading up to Los Texicanos will be Denver act Roka Hueka, a Latin ska band out of Denver.
As part of the Friday night show, spectators can see Front Range band Gasoline Lollipops, whose music is a mix of Americana, folk, rockabilly and associated genres.
Opening for the Gas Pops will be Tucker Rose, a Northwest Colorado-based country rock band that has performed at Craig events like Grand Old West Days and the Moffat County Balloon Festival. The group recently released the album, “Small Damn Town.”
“We’re excited to have more of a local band and be able to get them out there,” Dennison said.
Dennison said that Parks and Rec brought in a planning group of five community members to aid in the preparation for this year’s event.
“That’s been really beneficial as far as the entertainment and scheduling everything,” he said. “We’re really trying to be strategic and fruitful and use our budget well.”
While the schedule of events will not change too much, Dennison said one big change this year will be for the chainsaw artists involved.
“We’re wanting to put the focus back on the carvers, so we increased the prize winnings there,” Dennison said.
To keep Whittle the Wood on the level of elite woodcarving competitions, Dennison said the festival needed to raise the incentives. Previously, the grand prize for the winner was $1,500. That amount has been more than tripled to $5,000. Second prize is now $2,500 and third $1,250.
Dennison said they have 10 carvers currently committed to attend.
“The underlying thing is to keep improving and make it the best it can possibly be,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s great to see the community and visitors come out and enjoy it.”
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