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Big names take the stage at Plunge Music Festival

click to enlarge Tre Hardson of The Pharcyde will be just one of many - musicians hanging out at the Plunge Festival.
  • Tre Hardson of The Pharcyde will be just one of many musicians hanging out at the Plunge Festival.

The second annual Plunge Music Festival, taking place in the historic theaters and clubs in and around Telluride, is, in essence, creating a Sundance for the snowboard generation.

"We would like it to be sort of an industry-type of feel," says executive producer Morgan Young. "The nice thing about festivals in Telluride is, they're so intimate. And to be here with the hip-hop artists and rock artists and, to some degree, skiers and snowboarders, it's going to create a really nice atmosphere where you're very close to the musicians and you see them in smaller venues than you would anywhere else around the country. It's an opportunity to create a postmark in Telluride that says every spring there's going to be hip-hop."

The notion is that the mountain summits allow for riding by day, while the eclectic bill begs for music by night (and perhaps into the morning), with DJs, MCs, art exhibits, free clinics, bands and artists blowing the minds of all involved.

This year's Plunge Music Festival lineup centers on headliners Rahzel of the Roots and Tre Hardson of The Pharcyde on Friday and Saturday nights, with indie rockers Enon and The Slip performing as well. There's also half a dozen more acts performing at various times around town, and plenty of other unique events, such as a featured art show by Fred Breunig and feature presentation of the classic ski/snowboard film, Tangerine Dream.

"I first experienced Telluride from a snowboarder's perspective during a snowboard tour with my band," says Hardson. "Michael Franti had told me about the Telluride people and its beauty, and I can remember the moment coming down See Forever [ski run] that I realized Telluride was the shit. I am really looking forward to getting back there to share the love of hip-hop and snowboarding."

While last year's inaugural three-day event was a success, this year's five-day congregation already is getting recognition from coast to coast.

Plunge organizers scored a huge coup by securing The Adam Deitch Project, a New York City hip-hop, drum-and-bass and trip-hop act, to provide the music for a rotating list of MCs. The Project features musicians from G-Unit, Robert Randolph's Family Band and The Fugees.

"When I heard about the Plunge Music Festival, I knew I had to be there," Adam Deitch says. "I've known Rahzel for a minute and have worked with him in the studio. This is the first time I'll get to play with him with my band. It's an opportunity to take our studio magic to an audience, and I couldn't think of a better setting than the Plunge."

This is the exact sentiment Young hopes the Plunge Festival creates this year and into the foreseeable future.

"I do think it's going to get notice," Young says. "There is really no one out there doing hip-hop festivals. Rock festivals like to promote hip-hop, but hip-hop festivals don't really exist, except for in certain urban markets. And a hip-hop festival presenting rock and the commonality here I think is very unique. That's really the inspiration."

capsule

Plunge Music Festival

Telluride and Mountain Village

Through Sunday, March 26

Tickets: Call 800/525-3455 or visit plungemusicfest.com.

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