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Michael Franti & Spearhead ready to rock Durango Mesa Park

Michael Franti & Spearhead will take the stage this weekend at Durango Mesa Park. (Courtesy of Wayan Rodesh)
KSUT, Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College host band at newest venue

Michael Franti is a busy guy: He’s an activist, a filmmaker, owner of the hotel Soulshine Bali in Bali and co-founder of the Do It For the Love nonprofit with his wife, Sara Agah Franti.

Oh, and he’s also currently on the 60-plus date Togetherness Tour with Spearhead and a host of guest musicians, including Bombargo, the band playing with them in Durango.

The local show is brought to Durango by KSUT Public Radio and the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. It will be held Sunday at the newly minted Durango Mesa Park – and it’s a show Franti said he’s looking forward to performing.

“I’m excited, and I’ll tell you why. Because we are just getting started with this tour and we’ve put more time and creative juices into putting this tour together than any other tour that we’ve done before,” he said. “So there’s like five of us in the band and on the crew and we’ve just all been kicking butt to get ready, and we can’t wait.”

Franti said in a phone interview Wednesday that the musicians and crew were getting on the tour bus beginning this week, but that they had played quite a few shows in April as well – although in that case, they would just fly in and out of places.

“We’re in the tour bus until the end of September,” he said. “It’s an interesting time to be making music. Our country – it pains me every day to wake up and see the division that is spread through social media. And then I go out in the street and I talk to people and say hello and they’re just people. And that’s the thing I love about music is the ability to bring people together. Are there important discussions to be had about the direction of our country? Of course. But the meanness that I see doesn’t have any place in this country.”

If you go

WHAT: Michael Franti & Spearhead, with special guests Bombargo.

WHEN: 6:45 p.m. Sunday, May 26.

WHERE: Durango Mesa Park, 161 Ewing Mesa Road.


MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://tinyurl.com/62378vmv.

And while extensive travel by bus sounds like it could be a long haul, especially for musicians who have been doing it a while, it’s not a drag for Franti and the band, especially given the global events of the past few years.

“It’s more fun than it’s ever been. The reason that it’s more fun than ever is first of all, after the pandemic, when we just couldn’t do it for two years, it was hard,” he said. “Of course, we lost income – all of us are unemployed musicians when we started, so we were kind of used to that, but, I didn’t realize how much it affected my soul to not be able to be present in the company of others who are moved by the spirit of music.”

Music is not only a part of who Franti is; it also helps heal what ails him, he said. Like most of us, his choices of music can depend on his mood – or can help change his mood.

“Music for me has been my medicine cabinet,” he said. “I go to songs depending on what mood I’m in to help me find ease of heart. I make a lot of what people might consider happy or optimistic music, but I don’t make music to make people happy. I make music to just give permission for people to feel ease of heart so that whatever is inside can pass through freely, whether it’s tears of joy or tears of sorrow. And I believe that’s ultimately how all of us get to being happy is by being able to express what’s happening. ... I love music to be a part of my mental health and wellness.”

The idea that Franti makes happy music to make people happy is a reputation that he feels isn’t quite accurate. He prefers to look at his work as optimistic, but not unrealistically so.

“I believe that optimism is a form of courage,” he said. “And optimism is different than just being naive. You don’t just wake up and go, ‘Oh, today’s a great day, I’m going to be happy,’ even when you’re super sad inside. Optimism is when you can say ‘yes, this is going to be a struggle today and I’m here to show up for it – whatever comes and let’s go. And I’m going to do it in the most positive way I can and team up with great people and we’re going to support each other.’ And that’s why I feel like it’s such a high form of courage. It’s actually being aware of what’s happening.”

And those who have seen Franti & Spearhead before know that they put on a fun show that makes you feel good. But Franti said it goes deeper than just a good time under Durango’s bluebird skies.

“This is a whole new production that we put together this year,” he said. “But at the end of the day, for me, it’s really about soul ... I’ve written songs that are from my heart. And so we’re playing songs that we’ve been playing for years that people love and expect and we’re also playing some brand new songs that aren’t even on record yet.

“But it’s all about connecting to heart and being around other people who in this time want to just be able to look in the eyes of the stranger and say, ‘I see you as the human being that you are and I appreciate you,” he said.

About the show at Durango Mesa Park

Sunday’s Michael Franti & Spearhead show Sunday at Durango Mesa Park has a website dedicated to getting around the new venue. Check out the link at durangoconcerts.com.

The anticipated schedule for the concert is:

  • All day: Ticket sales are available online only at durangoconcerts.com.
  • 3:45 p.m.: Main Entrance on Highway 3 at Ewing Mesa Road opens. Only vehicles with parking passes, accessible placards or license plates, and shuttle services will be allowed entry past the main entrance on the day of the show beginning at 3:45 p.m.
  • 3:45 p.m.: On-site Box Office and Guest Services open.
  • 4:45 p.m.: Concert Venue Gate opens.
  • 6:45 p.m.: Bombargo performs.
  • 8 p.m.: Michael Franti & Spearhead perform.


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