Today’s the day. Colorado’s premier boutique music festival, Beanstalk Music & Arts Festival, is opening its gates to live music enthusiasts from across the country for a weekend chalk-full of music that spans across the entire sonic spectrum. Over the past 5 years Beanstalk has developed a reputation for not only delivering a standout musical experience, but also an authentic Colorado outdoor adventure. The festival’s host venue, Rancho Del Rio in Eagle County, CO, is renowned for its wildlife, sport fishing, and scenic views of the Colorado River. A smorgasbord of outdoor excursions are just minutes away from the main festival grounds, so in short people return to Beanstalk year-after-year not only for the lineup, but for the complete sensory experience.
Beanstalk was founded five years ago by Colorado’s finest jam band, The Magic Beans. Comprised of Scott Hachey (guitar), Chris Duffy (bass), Casey Russell (keys), and Cody Wales (drums), The Magic Beans have tirelessly worked at their craft both on the road and in the studio since 2010 to establish the sterling reputation they’re known for today. The band is on the brink of national fame, and this upcoming weekend will not only showcase the talented friends they’ve made along the way but also the badass jams and musical maturity The Magic Beans have grown into.
Earlier this week, I had a chance to catch up with Scott Hachey to discuss their upcoming EP, Beanstalk 2017, some major back-office advancements in 2016, and much much more. Two years ago over 900 people showed up at Rancho Del Rio to buy tickets at the door, so I’d highly recommend playing it safe and purchasing your tickets online if you haven’t already. Have a fun and safe weekend Beanstalkers.
Sound Fix: Hey Scott, thanks for taking some time to catch up with us ahead of this weekend’s festival. So 2017 is already half way over – how’s the year treated The Magic Beans so far? Any big news or developments for the band?
Scott Hachey: Yeah well you know at the very end of last year we had a bunch of huge changes on the business end of things. We switched our agency over to Madison House here in Boulder, and then we got a new management company called Go4Dindas based out of New York City and Nashville. For years I was managing the band as a sort of mom-and-pop shop booking agency, and last year we started approaching higher profile companies. So those were big changes. As far as this year, we’ve spent most of the first six months out on the road doing a lot of touring and we also spent some time in the studio to record an EP which is coming out the week after Beanstalk! Presently we’re working on the next big thing which is a full length LP.
SF: So for this new EP, have you put out any singles ahead of the release?
SH: We did! We released a single a couple weeks ago through L4LM, called “Always Cool.” It’s a funky instrumental song and it’s on our SoundCloud right now.
SF: What about specs? Is there a name for the EP, how many tracks, and how would you say it compares to the band’s previous discography?
SH: So it’s 5 tracks in length and I’d compare it to the EP we did right before. Our last two studio efforts have both been EPs, just because we’ve been touring so hard we can barely get in to the studio for enough time to do a full album. It’s essentially some songs we’ve worked on and debuted on the road, and after performing them a few times we thought it would be cool to take these tracks and give them a little studio shine.
SF: Where do you guys record? What’s the name of your studio?
SH: We use KMZ Studio in Boulder – it’s a great space. They hook it up, have amazing staff, and great equipment.
SF: I noticed you have a 612 number – are you originally from Minnesota as well? I know Casey’s from their and went to Breck with a good friend of mine.
SH: Yes I am. I actually went to three different high schools – I was a bit of a trouble maker back in the day! I ended up at Hopkins, and before that I went to Wayzata and then before that I went to Benilde.
SF: Let’s shift focus over to Beanstalk for a bit here. It’s just a couple days away, and I’m sure ticket holders and musicians alike would be interested to hear about the history of the event. Is there a story from years back where the band had an epiphany to create and build a music festival?
SH: You know, I’d say Beanstalk was a very organic process coming together. I had a good relationship with State Bridge, which is the venue next to Rancho. I got the Magic Beans booked at that venue for two nights, and it’s just a beautiful place and location that can hold about a thousand people. So we were thinking about different crafty ways to get people up there, and at the time we didn’t think we could do it alone so we honestly took all the money we stood to make and spent it on other bands to come join us. And then we were driving on tour trying to come up with a name for the event and the whole play on words with “Woodstock” came into conversation. At that moment one of us suggested “Beanstock,” not even thinking about the actual plant and current festival name, “Beanstalk.” And so that first event 5 years ago we had about 200 people attend, then the next year it doubled in size to 400 people, and then the third year there were 1,500 people, so it grew exponentially year-to-year. Then last year because we had sold out at 1,500 the third year we switched locations to West Cliff, CO, and it just didn’t have the same mojo as Rancho, so we switched back this year and everyone’s very pumped about it and so are we.
SF: So the capacity for this year’s festival is 1,500?
SH: So it’s actually a little less, it’s down to 1,200 this year. We brought the most people that have ever been up there, and then afterwards the county got after us a bit. That third year we went up to the festival and had about 300 advanced tickets sold, so we really didn’t know what to expect and when the gates opened that first day we had so many people buy at the door. At that point we weren’t anticipating that many walkups so we actually had to open up a second camp ground down the road. This year we decided to cut down a little bit to keep everybody in one place.
SF: For somebody who’s traveling to Rancho for the first time, what’s so great about the venue? You mentioned before the location has a special “mojo,” what did you mean by that?
SH: Well it’s right on the Colorado River, and that’s it’s biggest sell, especially with the intense heat we’re experiencing so far this year. You can literally hike to the top of the site, hop down on a raft and raft down to the bottom of the venue where there’s a beach. Or you can just keep going down all the way to State Bridge. There’s also a rafting route that takes about 2 and a half hours from Rancho if you’re really feeling wild. And you know it’s kind of hard to put a finger on what’s so great about it. The site is amazing, it’s beautiful to look at, and it feels great to be there. There’s a train that goes on the other side of the river that will come by and sometimes it happens during the music. When that happens the band and everyone in the crowd will stop to look at the train. There’s no cell phone service or wifi, which is also a huge part of the vibe. It keeps people present, prevents everyone from Instagraming and texting. It kind of compels people to make memories for the sake of making memories, versus sharing those memories in the moment online! Lastly it’s right over the hill from some ancient Ute Indian burial grounds, and the whole area was a very spiritual place for the Ute Indians. They would go there every summer and it was supposed to be enlightening, and honestly I really think you can feel that ethos when you’re on the grounds. It adds a unique aura to the entire experience that is Beanstalk.
SF: This is making me really wish I could make it this weekend from Brooklyn. I might’ve misread this somewhere but is there a hike you can take from Rancho to a hot spring or watering hole?
SH: Yeah there is, it’s called Radium Hot Springs. To get their you go up the road about 20 minutes, so you have to hop in your car, but then you park and you hike over this hill and then down to the river, and the springs are built into the side of the river coming out of the rocks. You’re basically sitting in this warm pool next to the river – it’s pretty unique. You can enjoy the warm water and scenery and then hop back into the cold water to do some cliff jumping, which is widely considered to be world class.
SF: Sounds like a complete experience, very cool. Shifting back to the music here, with regards to the lineup what are some highlights for you personally this year?
SH: I’d say I’m really looking forward to the Moshi Fameus set at 1am on Saturday.
SF: That’s what I like to hear! For someone not as familiar with the outfit, how would you describe the group?
SH: It’s one half of the Disco Biscuits, Aron on keys and Allen on drums, and it’s an all-improvised livetronica set that is really impressive and perfect for the atmosphere up there because it’s entirely improvisational. So I’m pumped to see what happens, because you don’t really know. It’s one of those acts where you can’t predict what you’re going to get, and it could go in any direction. So that’s always exciting for me as a musician and music fan. I’m also very excited for Theo Katzman from Vulfpeck – he’s going to crush it. I’m a big fan of his album that he just put out.
SF: I heard through the grapevine that Joe Dart’s making a surprise appearance at Beanstalk. Are you at liberty to confirm or speak to that?
SH: Yep, Joe is going to be there. I hit Theo very early on and told him I understood he’s planning to showcase his new solo project, but can I tell everyone Joe’s going to be there? And he said it was totally fine. People love Joe.
SF: Very cool. Anything else that you can share about potential surprises without revealing too much?
SH: This might sound a bit cliche, but I would say to expect the unexpected! As far as sit-ins go, the vibe up there is pretty opened more than other festivals, so lots of things come together last minute. For example I’m thinking some of the dudes will end up playing with Moshi Fameus but I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I’m thinking Tom Hamilton might slide in there, or even Reed Mathis. Expect to see a lot of sit-ins, and expect to meet lot of these artists as well! Apart from an artist tent with food there isn’t much of a place for the musicians to hang out away from the regular festival, so attendees can expect to meet a number of the performers on site.
SF: Returning to the Beans here, you just signed with Madison House and I’m sure you’ve laid out a one-year and five-year plan for the band. What’s the main goal or pointed achievement The Magic Beans are striving to accomplish over the next 12 months?
SH: Well the long term goal for us is to get ourselves into Red Rocks next summer. We’ve been paying dues for a while, and we’ve been hopping around Denver playing lots of shows and having lots of success, so currently we’re trying to funnel it in to a focused approach to get on those Rocks next year, and that’s the big game plan. Besides that we’re aiming to grow our presence outside of Colorado and perform with as many bands as possible, touring around the country with different support in each city. We just completed that run with Brooklyn’s Teddy Midnight, which was an absolute blast. Those guys are so talented and such a nice group of people, and they’re performing here this weekend on Sunday at 3pm.
SF: Last question here, you mentioned that full length LP earlier in the conversation. Do you have an idea of when you’ll release that record?
SH: So for that project we won’t use any of the material released on the last few EPs, it’s all going to be new original music. And one big thing with us right now is we’re trying to not put a hard date on that record at this point. We’ve had release dates on all our previous studio music, and sometimes it gets down to the wire and we’ll end up skipping things we’d like to include. So for this LP we’re going to keep widdling away at it and when we decide it’s done, it’ll be done!
SF: Awesome, great catching up with you Scott. Have a great festival.