Josh Sweigert

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July 31, 2013
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Brews and grooves coming to Squaw

Free music and festive brews will be the name of the game at Squaw Valley Aug. 10 and 11, when the Brews, Jazz & Funk Fest returns to the Village at Squaw Valley.

“It’s basically just two really fun days of live music, obviously of the jazz and funk variety here in the village,” Squaw spokeswoman Amelia Richmond said. “All the music is free and then we sell beer tickets so you can taste brews from a variety of different breweries.”

All proceeds from beer sales will benefit the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, Richmond said.

This year’s festival will feature beer from more than 40 different breweries, as well as a number of food vendors. A range of free, family-friendly activities are available, including croquet, bean bag toss and slacklining. An outdoor climbing wall, 18-hole mini-golf course and Squaw Valley’s upper mountain activities are also available for fees.

Eight bands will play during the two-day festival, including Reno’s own Jelly Bread. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and MarchFourth Marching Band headline the event.

With a wide array of instruments, stilt-walkers and acrobats, MarchFourth Marching Band makes for quite the spectacle onstage. The band came together in Portland in 2003, and grew out of a handful of performances.

“Ten years ago we put the band together for a Chinese New Year and Fat Tuesday party in Portland, Oregon,” bassist and bandleader John Averill wrote in an email. “We named the band after the date (March 4th, 2003). We had 10 drummers, 4 horns, a flute, 10 dancers/stilt-walkers and me on bass. We learned 7 cover tunes and practiced 3 times as a group. Two weeks later we marched downtown for the anti-Iraq invasion, and after playing 3 hours for 18,000 people we decided to be a band.”

With such an extensive lineup, MarchFourth’s lineup tends to fluctuate somewhat.

“It seems that almost every tour is different in terms of slight changes in personnel,” Averill wrote. “We tour with 13 musicians and 4 dancers, but we have a pool of past members and subs. There are a handful of us who are at every show and few of us have been in the band the entire 10 years.”

MarchFourth plays a far-reaching variety of music, drawing on its diverse instrumentation and membership.

“Our music is all over the map,” Averill wrote. “We do not have a specific genre that we adhere to. We write our own music, and we have several writers in the band (past and present) so it’s definitely a collective vision of diverse elements. The basic criteria for our music is that a song has to groove if it’s going to survive on the set list. We want people to dance, and we like mixing up all kinds of stuff.”

MarchFourth has three studio records to date. The most recent, “Magnificent Beast,” was released in 2011 and produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The group recently finished recording “Shindig,” a single with accompanying music video to be released Sept. 21. MarchFourth hopes to begin recording its next album in 2014, Averill wrote.

The band is also looking forward to develop its intricate live act in upcoming shows.

“Our shows have continued to get bigger and better, and we’ve been working hard to refine our performance, so I see our future reflecting that growth,” band member Aaron Lyon wrote. “We’re always looking to take it to the next level or, ‘next levs’ as we say.”

Onstage, MarchFourth commits its dynamic assortment of members into ensuring that every member of the audience experiences a concert worth remembering.

“We want our audiences to walk away from a MarchFourth show saying things like, ‘Wow, I haven’t danced that hard in ages!’” Lyon wrote. “Everywhere we go, we intend to inspire a spirit of communion and celebration where the line between performers and audience is blurred and everyone in the place has a damn good time.

“It’s a team effort onstage and (hopefully) in the room in general,” Averill wrote. “The more energy we get from the audience, the more likely we are to get crazier.”

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Sierra Sun Updated Aug 1, 2013 12:34PM Published Jul 31, 2013 01:32PM Copyright 2013 Sierra Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.