Lift Line: Sun Valley’s Sol Fest 2012

By Alec Barfield

I’ve come to the realization that this town has a knack for names that stick. Off the top of my head, here’s a few good ones:

"Marley in Mountains”— pure Rasta brilliance.

"Irving’s Red Hots" — Chicago meets Idaho.

"Whiskey Jacques" — the one and only.

"The Pio"— short and sweet.

"Sun Valley Summer Symphony"— sophistication with a ring.

And that’s just a small sampling of the catchiness. Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe we’re all sun-drunk. Whatever it is, when it comes to names, locals like quirky and unique. We’re about firsts around here…

Which is why this weekend’s extravaganza is already off to a great start. Say it with me: "Sol Fest." Even my Japanese grandma could tell you that "sol" means "sun" in Spanish. And considering that "sol" is also a homophone of "soul," I’d say that "Sol Fest" is a genius name for what’s happening over the next three days.

Parties. Live music. Skiing down Main Street. More Parties. Lots more music. Plus oodles of Family Fun at Dollar Mountain. What I’ve also realized is that Sun Valley doesn’t mix a great names with mediocrity. When I said "parties," I meant four showdowns at three of Ketchum’s finest establishments: Grumpy’s and Whiskey’s on Friday, Apple’s on Saturday afternoon and Whiskey’s again that evening. And when I said "live music," I meant that there will be seasoned artists, musicians who didn’t just get famous on YouTube, playing at each shindig besides Apple’s (because they’ll be hosting the 4th annual Baldy Poker Run).

Blitzen Trapper

As cool as the Bermuda Cowboys (Friday@Grumpy’s) and Fox Street All Stars (Friday@Whiskey’s) should be, the main event is definitely the Blitzen Trapper show on Saturday. To be clear Saturday, the whole day, is actually the main event. If you’re trying to make a day of it (and I hope you do), then the Saturday’s festivities will begin at Apple’s around nine for the Poker Run. From there, it’s onto the Main Street Party, where Blitzen Trapper will headline a FREE multi-act concerto in Ketchum. Things just keep getting better: afterward there’s going to be a talented crew of long-shirted jibbers sliding across rails at the 511 building. Local favorite, Old Death Whisper, will round out the evening with a 10 o’clock show at Whiskey’s. Not a bad Saturday, eh?

For folks looking for Family-oriented Fun, there will be a Slide, Glide, Ride Relay at Dollar Mountain on Sunday. But don’t worry, the Main Street Party and subsequent Rail Jam will definitely be a good time for little ones. I should mention, however, that Sol Fest is going to be a young crowd. In the company’s own words "Sun Valley Resort is rolling out the red carpet for college students." Yup, everyone’s favorite demographic is getting some love from the nation’s oldest ski resort. Specifically, college students with a valid student I.D. will get 50% off lift tickets and "aggressive" lodging specials. Sounds gnarly.

So if you like wintry festivals with tons of good music and possibly gelande quaffing, don’t get stuck inside this weekend.

It’s time for Sol Fest, everybody. Come join the pun, err, fun!

Schedule of Events:

Friday March 23

      5:00 pm SolFest kick-off party at Grumpy’s Bar and Grill with musical request specialists Bermuda Cowboys

      10:00 pm Southern rockers, Fox Street All Stars, play Whiskey Jacques

Saturday March 24

      9:00 am – 2:00 pm Baldy Poker Run, register at Apple’s Bar and Grill

      5:00 pm Main Street Party. Blitzen Trapper headlines multi-act, free concert

      8:00 pm 511 Rail Jam at 511 Building, downtown Ketchum

      10:00 pm Local troubadours, Old Death Whisper, play Whiskey Jacques

Sunday March 25

      11:00 am Slide, Glide, Ride Relay at Dollar Mountain, a fun event for families and friends of all ages and sizes.