In phonetics, contour describes sounds which make an internal transition from one quality, place, or manner to another. For all of its acclaimed icons and Western cues Jackson Hole is a constantly evolving terminus of many cultural and creative interpretations. There are perhaps few better examples for the contours of Jackson’s diverse appeal than the valley’s embrace of music, arts and recreation. This June Jackson Hole welcomes its first downtown multi-venue cross-genre musical showcase the Contour Music Festival.
In this the inaugural year of what festival organizers Jeff Stein and Matt Donovan promise to be an annual celebration of art, music and culture, begins June 11th and boasts over 35 musical lineups. From the avant-garde lyricism of Hip-Hop trinity Deltron 3030 to the rebellious soul of Americana visionaries One Ton Pig, Contour aims to be the cross-interest non-genre specific virtuoso of mountain festivals.
“Contour is a different breed of Music Festival. We designed the Festival to offer a wide spectrum of music, art and culture. When Matt [Donovan] and I began talking about a Jackson festival over three years ago, we knew right away that we wanted to bring a unique cultural experience to jackson. Contour not only features an incredible line up of musical performances, but will offer a number of world-class art and performance exhibitions.”
– Jeff Stein
Kicking off with a veritable chef-d’oeuvre of late night shows, the festival sets its stride with the ragtime blues of Jackson 6 serenading show-goers at the newly expanded Silver Dollar Bar. If the syncopated beats of New Orleans traditional Jazz isn’t your thing, perhaps Patti Fiasco’s audacious fusion of rock and roll and two-step will suit your liking at the Town Square Tavern. No matter your musical inclination, Thursday night’s program extends to The Rose and Pinky G’s to include nearly a dozen genre-bending sets.
Following Contour’s late night initiation, festival fans can recoup at the opening of the Main Stage Friday afternoon at the Snow King Amphitheater. Setting the tone for the venue is the hi-fi amalgamation of The Polish Ambassador’s psy-fi funk electric rhythms coupled with the dynamic video landscapes of visual artist Liminus. For a little more bass-slapping, local group Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons returns to the Snow King ball field on Saturday, offering up a high-energy dose of Rocky Mountain flavored groove-funk. Rounding out the weekend’s main stage headliners is the Washington, D.C.-based electronic duo Thievery Corporation. Described by AllMusic as – “Dub, Lounge, Jazz and Hip-Hop thrown into a blender with latin ingredients” Thievery Corporation closes out the festival with its downtempo remixes of songs by such artists as Sarah McLachlan, and The Doors.
“The three words we’ve used to describe the Contour experience are: intimate, innovative and elevated. Contour is intimate in that it allows the audience to see amazing acts that normally attract thousands of people, all in a beautiful local setting with just with a few hundred people. Contour’s mission to bring innovative art, music and culture from other areas is as essential to this concept as sharing the unique culture of this place with the Artists and visitors. Elevated eludes to the one-of-kind landscape and outdoor playground that we are fortunate to share with one another.”
– Jeff Stein
Through its development the Contour Festival has attracted the enthusiasm of a wide variety of community-minded sponsors. Organizations such as The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board, The National Museum of Wildlife Art and The Clear Creek Group were early proponents of the Festival’s vision. In partnership with Contour, The Clear Creek Group has set aside a handful properties – including the beautiful Three Bedroom Estate at Shooting Star and Granite Ridge Residences – for guests interested in an entirely unique experience at what is gearing up to be “Jackson’s Music Festival. Interested parties can get more information and book their stay by visiting The Clear Creek Group’s event highlight page, while general event information and Contour ticket sales can be found by visiting Contour’s website.