by JENNIFER LIEBRUM
Portland's Blitzen Trapper band has a song called "Might Find It Cheap" on its latest album, "American Goldwing." The lyrics were inspired by a neon sign on a junk shop reading "You might find it cheap, but you're never gonna find it for free."
Eric Earley, the band's principal songwriter, told Rolling Stone that it conjured a song about "selfless love that asks nothing in return, only wants to give."
The members of Blitzen Trapper will be showing that kind of love and more when they bring their show to town, shutting down Main Street in Ketchum as the centerpiece for the debut of SolFest, a spring break opportunity that organizers and supporters hope will become a regular annual draw. And, they'll be giving the love for free.
At a time when skiing and snowboarding can be at their best, days are long and warm, and the spring vibe fills the air, SolFest organizers hope to extend the party, bringing out the heart and soul of mountain-town culture.
SolFest 2012 is described as an event "embodying the energy of spring with a weekend of snow, sun and rock 'n' roll" on Friday through Sunday, March 23-25.
Blitzen Trapper will headline the weekend events, playing Saturday in downtown Ketchum.
"We're starting a spring tradition and using our creativity and resources to show younger generations just how much fun Sun Valley is," said Whiskey Jacques' booking agent, Thatcher Marsted. "We're lining up a great event, the skiing is always awesome this time of year and having talent like the Fox Street All Stars and Blitzen Trapper on board is going to put the party over the top."
Marsted noted that most exciting was the amount of support from Ketchum merchants when organizers requested shutting down the Main Street for the Indie Rock band, a first.<
"This thing is really grassroots, and the cool thing is that everyone has chipped in and really pulled together to make this happen—it's unprecedented," he said.
With Northwest and Rockies colleges on spring break, Sun Valley Resort is rolling out the red carpet, offering college students up to 50 percent off lift tickets and generous lodging specials.
"Never has there been a better time for those looking for a memorable spring break to make the trip to Sun Valley," said Visit Sun Valley's Greg Randolph. "There is something special about Sun Valley in the spring, and we're serving up SolFest to bring people to town for a great time. Few things are better than tearing up the ski hill with your friends rocking a neon one-piece with the bars and streets filled with great music and good times."
Blitzen Trapper is a group of native Northwesterners, most of whom grew up in Salem, Ore. They have lived and played together in Portland since 2000. Critics and fans have compared their music to just about everything; there have been calls to coin a new genre.
After self-releasing "Wild Mountain Nation" in June 2007, the group ventured beyond the West Coast for the first time to tour extensively in Europe and North America. "Furr" is its first Sub Pop Records release, " and was named one of Rolling Stone's best albums of 2008.
Blitzen Trapper was among a few bands included in an inaugural Heartbreaker Banquet, a two-stage event purposely scheduled to take place at the same time as SXSW out at Willie Nelson's ranch, called Luck, Texas, which was the backdrop for the 1986 Western "Red Headed Stranger."
Though Nelson was playing a gig in Oakland, most of the performers paid homage to the singer. Jenny O told Rolling Stone, "This is the coolest thing I've ever done."
Obviously wearied by the grind of SXSW, one member of Blitzen Trapper said it was nice to be out of the city for a while. They should really love this little town, then.
For more information on Solfest, visit www.visitsunvalley.com/events/solfest.
SolFest 2012 with Blitzen Trapper
Friday, March 23
- 5 p.m. SolFest kickoff party at Grumpy's with musical request specialists Bermuda Cowboys.
- 6 p.m. Dan Cummins featuring Ryan Wingfield for comedy at The Boiler Room.
- 10 p.m. Southern rockers Fox Street All Stars play Whiskey Jacques'.
Saturday March 24
- 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Baldy Poker Run, register at Apple's Bar and Grill in Ketchum.
- 2 p.m. Gelande Quaffing drinking competition on Main Street.
- 5 p.m. Main Street Party. Blitzen Trapper headlines multi-act, free concert.
- 8 p.m. 511 Rail Jam at 511 Building, downtown Ketchum.
- 10 p.m. Local troubadours Old Death Whisper play Whiskey Jacques'.
Sunday March 25
- 11 a.m. Slide, Glide, Ride Relay at Dollar Mountain, a fun event for families and friends of all ages and sizes.
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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.