The traveling festival features headliners The String Cheese Incident plus touring heavyweights Keller Williams, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Umphrey's McGee and New Monsoon.


This summer The String Cheese Incident will headline the BIG Summer Classic 2005. The traveling festival, which will launch with two shows at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheater on July 2 and 3, will make 14 stops throughout the U.S. during the month of July, visiting cities such markets as Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. BIG Summer Classic will feature a rotating cast of some of today's most vital touring acts, including Keller Williams, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Umphrey's McGee, and New Monsoon. Now that's BIG! The complete list of tour dates is as follows:

Sat July 02 | Red Rocks | Morrison (Denver), CO
Sun July 03 | Red Rocks | Morrison (Denver), CO
Wed July 06 | Summerfest | Milwaukee, WI
Thu July 07 | GMC Stadium | Sauget (St. Louis), IL
Fri July 08 | Alexian Field | Schaumburg (Chicago), IL
Sat July 09 | Alexian Field | Schaumburg (Chicago), IL
Sun July 10 | White River Park State Park Military Park | Indianapolis, IN
Wed July 13 | Cisco Systems Bluesfest | Ottowa ONT
Fri July 15 | Amphitheatre at Richmond Raceway Complex | Richmond, VA
Sat July 16 | All Good Family Picnic | Masontown, WV
Sun July 17 | Blossom Music Center | Cuyahoga Falls (Cleveland), OH
Tue July 19 | High Falls | Rochester, NY
Thu July 21 | Keyspan Park | Brooklyn, NY
Fri July 22 | Festival Pier @ Penn’s Landing | Philadelphia, PA
Sat July 23 | Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts | Mansfield (Boston), MA
Sun July 24 | Yale Field | New Haven, CT

Visit for each show's artist lineup (please note: aside from SCI headlining slot and New Monsoon's opening slot, performance order will vary daily). Tickets go on sale April 20 at 10:00 am MDT at

Stay tuned for specifics on how BIG will GO GREEN, and for details regarding on-site festivities such as interactive booths, vendors, and other BIG news. Also, Conscious Alliance will be hosting food drives at each show along this tour.

BIG Summer Classic 2005 Bands:


Photo by C. Taylor Crothers
Headliners The String Cheese Incident release their fifth studio album, One Step Closer, on June 28, 2005 on their own record label, SCI Fidelity Records. With the new release SCI divulge, perhaps for the first time, their genuine songwriting voice, and it's every bit as ambitious as you'd expect. It hasn't been easy for these road warriors to translate their skills into the studio, and over the years the band has made it their mission to make better and better studio albums. Early response from those who have heard the album suggests the band may have finally nailed it. One Step Closer was recorded at a friend's home in the hills of Colorado's Front Range, and was produced by Malcom Burn (Bob Dylan, Chris Whitley, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois). The recording experience proved to be cathartic for the five members of SCI, and the high and low points of the process are revealed in an accompanying DVD that features 30 minutes of exclusive B-roll footage. The end result: a gritty, free-wheeling and powerfully honed collection of 13 original songs, and a band reborn and re-inspired to continue their legacy as one of today’s most visionary and talented rock bands.


Photo by C. Taylor Crothers
Keller Williams is a one man band for the digital age. Using innovative looping technology and innate musical genius, Keller's live solo performances pack more music on one stage than a full fledge rock ensemble might. His inspired live shows also pack the house; Keller sells out theatres coast-to-coast, filling them with fans eager to witness his outrageous inventiveness. Today, Keller releases his first ever DVD – finally, a visual souvenir of Keller's awe-inspiring live shows! Recorded at Mr. Smalls' state-of-the-art theatre facility in Pittsburgh, PA, SIGHT features over 100 minutes of concert footage, plus plenty of hilarious b-roll footage recorded over his many years on the road.


Guided by inspiration from his journey to Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations this past summer, musician/poet/activist Michael Franti is just back from Kingston, Jamaica where he teamed up with legendary godfathers of riddim Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, founder of Island Records, Palm Pictures/Music, Bob Marley producer, Chris Blackwell and long-time Beastie Boys collaborator and Jack Johnson producer, Mario Caldato, Jr. to record new studio album. Look for the release in Fall 2005. Michael Franti and Spearhead have toured relentlessly, headlining hundreds of shows for their legions of devoted fans as well as sharing the stage with acts as diverse as Dave Matthews, Ani Di Franco, Trey Anastasio (Phish) and KRS-One. They continue to hit the festival circuit worldwide, in addition to producing the annual "911 Power to the Peaceful Festival" which has drawn over 50,000 people to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco over the past six years. In both popular music and the peace movement, Franti has never been more relevant and influential than now.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described Yonder Mountain’s music as "exuberant acoustic-based bluegrass…and the crowds that come to see them just keep getting larger." Illuminating the band's talent for improvisation and live performance, YMSB's first live double-disc album, Mountain Tracks: Vol. 3, was recorded at the 2003 Kinfolk Celebration and released under their own Frog Pad Records last September. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart. The band will soon begin recording a studio album with producer Tom Rothrock (Elliott Smith, Beck, R.L Burnside). YMSB features Jeff Austin on mandolin, Dave Johnston on banjo, Ben Kaufmann on the bass, and Adam Aijala on lead guitar. Each member adds vocal harmonies and original songwriting. Their diverse musical backgrounds and collaborative composing style is creating a new movement in acoustic music, and their revitalizing energy on strings is changing the perception of the live acoustic music scene.


Photo by Tim Jackson
The past 18 months have been a quick rise for Chicago's Umphrey's McGee. RollingStone's Hot Issue picked Umphrey's as "a band to watch," Relix magazine put them on the cover of their December 2004 issue, the prestigious Chicago Music Awards awarded Umphrey's McGee the coveted Best Rock Entertainer of the Year. The Jammy's has also bestowed Umphrey's McGee with three nominations (the most nominations for any one band): Best Studio Album of the Year (for their critically acclaimed album Anchor Drops), Best Live Performance of the Year and Song of the Year ("In the Kitchen"). In February, Umphrey's spent time in the studio recording their 5th studio album. Look for their new release to hit early 2006.


San Francisco rockers New Monsoon have been storming across the nation, transforming audiences into dedicated fans with their exhilarating marriage of world rhythms and rock bravado. New Monsoon's vibrant percussion and acoustic and electric instruments come together in an irresistible blend of sophisticated songcraft, inventive musical exploration and down home rock-n-roll. Latin, Brazilian and Indian percussion, drum set, didgeridoo, electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, bass and keyboards, unify the musical styles of the band and no two shows are the same and fan recordings of performances have become a favorite among tapers and traders in musical communities throughout the country.
[Published on: 4/15/05]

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