Gotta let the music play. The Spring Creek Fire hasn’t stopped the music. The third-largest wildfire in Colorado State history raged through the summer of 2018 and halted an outdoor concert high in the Sangre di Cristo Mountains where the music group POCO was scheduled to perform just a day after the fire began. While the show did go on, fans missed the opportunity to ride the rails into the lush Colorado Mountains with the show scheduled at the Fir Amphitheatre directly in the path of the fire. The show was moved graciously to the Richardson Hall Auditorium at Adams State University.
The Spring Creek Fire continued a devastating march through the region with the railroad helpless to know the fate of its Fir Summit Amphitheatre. The railroad aided efforts to put out the fire in any way possible, supplying tanker cars of water to firefighters deep in the mountainside. When the fire was beginning to be contained, rail crews were finally able to ride the route, where they saw the iconic box car stage where more than 300 concerts have been performed by acts like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Larry Gatlin, Ricky Skaggs and Pam Tillis was burnt to the ground. All that remained were smoking piles and twisted scraps of the metal wheels the stage had once been resting on.
Now almost a year later the railroad has made every effort to use the opportunity to build a bigger and better venue. “We have begun executing plans to improve the Fir Summit Amphitheatre using our ‘wish list’ of improvements created from running concerts the past decade. Once completed the site will truly be a bucket list venue, our original vision for this ideal mountaintop setting allowing our guests to hear some of the best acts from across the country,” says Director of Passenger Operations, Andrew Christl.
The 2019 Mountain Rails Live concert season features first-time headliners Judy Collins, Tom Rush, Lee Roy Parnell, Junior Brown and Jim Curry’s Tribute to the music of John Denver. Returning favorites include Peter Yarrow, Suzy Bogguss, Pure Prairie League, Riders in the Sky, Trout Fishing in America, and Michael Martin Murphey who has performed in every concert season since 2007.
The first event at Fir is the 12th annual Rails & Ales Brewfest with more than 40 craft brewers from the region and the music of the Salt Creek Boys departing June 15th.