Durango Massive “Celefunktion” festival has in its six-year existence grown into a musical showcase celebrating beloved regional bands and acting as a foothold for younger bands growing their audiences. It’s a nice music showcase, a now multi-night and multi-venue show bringing funk as its moniker suggests, but also highlighting hip-hop, jam and rock.
Celefunktion will kick off tonight (Thursday) and run through the weekend, featuring headliners The Motet performing tonight and Friday at the Animas City Theatre. There’s also a strong local band showing among the three nights, as the weekend features sets by Durango Funk All-Stars, Elder Grown, Diabolical Sound Platoon, Pants Party, Posh Josh, D.J. Noonz and Liver Down the River. Also playing are Zach Deputy, Tnertle, Andreas Kapsalis, DJ Dan, Greener Grounds, and Steve Raskin and Q-Dup from Fort Knox Five.
It was the Fort Knox Five full band that kicked off Celefunktion six years ago; Eugene Salaz of Durango Massive and the Animas City Theatre were really just trying entertain friends and family while also building a fan base for The Fort Knox Five, the Washington, D.C., outfit that has since become local favorites. “Give the people what the want” may be a general cliché, but it’s also a solid act when you know it will be supported.
“I started the CeleFunktion at the Summit in 2010, it was a three-night event that I organized with (the late) Jon Horvath of the Fort Knox Five as a request from my wife to bring more funk to Durango and to build the Fort Knox Five in our market,” said Salaz. “Over the years, CeleFunktion has continued to draw music fans from out of town and out of state.”
While “funk” is in the name, it wouldn’t be a Colorado festival without a promoter taking liberties with the styles, flexing their confines to include musicians with some different appeal. Greener Grounds isn’t a funk band. Andreas Kapsalis is a badass, but no funk artist. They might have slight funk influences, but it’s not like you’re seeing Maceo Parker. This palette-broadening exercise is nothing new in the festival world, as it’s ultimately an attempt to do some general good for its listening audience. “I look for bands that appeal to the Durango mindset” said Salaz. “Bands that have been popular in our market, and bands that are new to the market that deserve exposure.”
The must sees include:
The Motet: Drummer Dave Watts has led this band for years, a band as capable of a night of Afro-Beat as they are a night of a blaxploitation film soundtrack.
Fort Knox Five: Any and all configurations of this band have drawn a large local following. Celefunktion will feature the genre mashing D.J. duo of Steve Raskin and Q-Dup.
Andreas Kapsalis: The guitar dork’s wet dream, a classically trained nod to Django Reinhardt and Eddie Van Halen.
Durango Funk All-Stars: Trust your music teachers and support explorations of improvisational and original funk.
A complete schedule with performers and venues is available at ww.durangomassive.com
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected].