On June 3, the 18th annual Dolores River Fest will kick off with music, food, children’s activities and more at Joe Rowell Park from 10 a.m. until dark.
The Dolores River Fest, which has become a marker for the beginning of summer and is put on by Greater Dolores Action, offers multiple vendors, food, local beer and a river boat parade that will once again be part of the year’s festivities after being canceled last year due to low water levels.
Beer will be provided by Dolores River Brewery, Main Street Brewery and Mancos Brewery.
“The Dolores River Festival is a project of Greater Dolores Action, and our mission is to implement sustainable community enhancement projects,” Scott Clow from Dolores River Action said. “The festival is one of those projects in that it is a celebration of the Dolores River.”
“The whole goal is to get people out to celebrate what we all really need and what we rely on and to acknowledge that,” he added.
Tickets are $25 online and $30 at the gate. Children 12 and under get in for free. Those who purchase their tickets online can receive a $5 discount by using the code lowerd23.
VIP backstage passes are also available at $75 for a limited supply.
An exciting opportunity for a free ticket is found in the festival’s promotional poster. The first person to identify the person in the raft on the Dolores River Fest poster and emails their correct answer to firstname.lastname@example.org will receive one free ticket.
Before the festival, a preparty will take place on June 2 at the Dolores River Brewery at 7 p.m. The band Hars in the Dark will be performing, and those who purchased their ticket for the river festival will receive a discount for the preparty.
On the day of the festival, the highly anticipated boat parade will take place about 3:45 p.m., and those who wish to participate can register their boat inside the gate on the day of the river fest. Organizers caution that signups fill up quickly, so early registration is important.
Free raft rides will be available for all in attendance, sponsored by Dolores River Boating Advocates.
Another event sponsor is Dolores River Conservation District under Ken Curtis.
Musical acts include Hars in the Dark band, Horizon, Blu Phunk Collective, Birds of Play, Apres Nova, A-Mac and the Height, Little Brother, King Tree and the Earthmothers and Float Like a Buffalo.
Times of play for each band, and which stage they will be performing on, are available at the event’s website.
The event not only helps bring awareness to the work Greater Dolores Action is doing for the river, but helps provide funds for them to keep doing their work.
“We’ve done some river cleanup projects; we moved about 12 tons of metal out of a section of the river about 5 miles north of town,” Clow said.
They also did a project that installed structures to help make portions of the river deeper and cooler for fish.
Some of the money raised from River Fest last year was used to create signs that are placed along the river walk to remind those using the trail to take care of the river by properly disposing of trash and other potential water hazards.
Clow also highlighted a project they’re working on with the Forest Service to promote boater safety projects.
To make conditions safer for those who boat, raft and float down the river in the summertime, they are making one of the most popular boat launch sites safer by adding gravel and rocks to provide more stable footing, as well as doing some plant work and adding safer places to tie boats.
“We’d like to have that implemented here in the near future,” he said.
“This is definitely the year to celebrate the river,” Dolores Chamber of Commerce Director Susan Lisak said. “We’ve been in such a drought for the past four or five years. It has been nice to finally be able to celebrate the abundance of water in southwest Colorado.”
There are also camping and RV spots still available for those who wish to stay at the park, and these spots can be reserved online.
They are also looking for more volunteers, including volunteers for stage crew, parking, security and clean up. Those who volunteer will receive free admission into the festival, as well as a beer voucher and a T-shirt.
Tickets, volunteer opportunities, music lineup and more can be found at doloresriverfest.org.