Inaugural Holiday Valley Rail Rider Jamboree this weekend | Cattaraugus County

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ELLICOTTVILLE — A weekend of live music and entertainment is on the way this weekend when Holiday Valley Resort hosts its first Rail Rider Jamboree.

Presented by the Borderland Music + Arts Festival, Holiday Valley’s first Rail Rider Jamboree will feature a celebratory weekend filled with music, skiing, snowboarding competitions, food trucks, beer, craft vendors, yoga and more. The resort hopes the new outdoor winter music festival will become an annual event.

The weekend event kicks off with a Rail Jam in the Rail Fun Park at the foot of the Mardi Gras lift on Friday from 5-7pm. pm Rail Rider tickets will not be required for the Cabana Bar party, but there will be specials for ticket holders.

Saturday’s Rail Rider Jamboree is a ticketed event taking place from 2-10:30 p.m. on the grounds in front of the SnowPine chairlift along Route 219. Local, regional and national bands/acts will perform on two stages, including co-headliners Dark Star Orchestra and Keller Williams. Other artists featured include A Girl Named Genny from Rochester, Drift Wood from Binghamton and a New Orleans-style Brass Band from Buffalo.

Formed in Chicago, Dark Star Orchestra is a Grateful Dead tribute band that has been creating the Grateful Dead concert experience since 1997. With over 20 years and 3,000 shows under their belt, Dark Star Orchestra builds their shows from the vast catalog of Dead and the talent of their seven musicians.

Band members include Rob Koritz, drums; Lisa Mackey, vocals; Jeff Mattson, lead guitar and vocals; Rob Barraco, keyboard and vocals; Rob Eaton, guitar; Skip Vangelas, bass guitar; and Dino English, drums.

A Virginia-born singer, songwriter, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist, Williams is literally a “solo jam band.” He will perform solo, backing himself on bass, drums, guitar and more through a technique called live phrase sampling or looping.

Influenced by the Grateful Dead and the late virtuoso acoustic guitarist Michael Hedges, Williams released his debut album, “Freek,” in 1994 and has since followed with more than 25 albums, including his latest release, “Grit.”


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The music starts at 2 p.m. with a number of regional, local, and national Bluegrass/Americana bands performing throughout the day. Featured in the lineup, A Girl Named Genny, 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Brass Machine, 2:30 p.m.-3 p.m.; Driftwood, 3-4 p.m.; Keller Williams, 4:30-6 p.m.; and Brass Machine, 6-6:30 p.m. Dark Star Orchestra will play two sets — one from 7-8:30 p.m. and a second from 9-10:30 p.m.

Stretch yourself with yoga on Sunday mornings from 10 to 11 a.m. Presented by “The Practice” of Buffalo, the activity will take place in the Snowledge Room at the Tamarack Club, or outside weather permitting. The festival will end on Sunday with the free “Bluegrass and Bloodys” event at the Cabana Bar where there will be live music from “A Girl Named Genny” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Marketing manager Jane Eshbaugh said they were expecting a sold-out crowd and tickets were selling very well. She said that even if the weather is not ideal, it should be a big event.

Eshbaugh said Jennifer Brazill, owner of Ginger Root Productions and Borderland Festival, approached Holiday Valley with the idea, which had been at the forefront of her mind for a few years.

The East Aurora native said she’s been producing West Coast winter festivals and Colorado ski resorts on a much larger scale for eight years, so it’s great to be able to bring this event to Holiday Valley.

“I’m really excited to merge the music and the mountains and put on a one-day boutique event. It’s always such a good time,” she said.

For more details or to purchase tickets for the Saturday show, visit online at holidayvalley.com or railriderjam.com. Admission for children 10 and under is free.

Parking and shuttle service will be available near the resort at 55 Jefferson St. for $10. Hosted by the Holiday Valley Ski Patrol, shuttles will be provided from 1-11 p.m. to and from the festival site. All proceeds from parking will go to the Holiday Valley Ski Patrol.


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