Contour kicks off with a bang

By on June 13, 2015
Hearts and puppy dogs all weekend long.

Hearts, puppy dogs and BASS all weekend long at Contour Music Festival. Photo: Sargent Schutt

Mesmerized by the psychedelic sounds of Papodosio last night at the Pink Garter, I finally connected the dots.

Earlier that day I was dancing barefoot in the sun among smiley festivalgoers wondering what it was that separated this festival from anything else to hit Jackson. Of course there’s the obvious: This caliber and quantity of musical talent stretched across four days and multiple venues has never been attempted in Jackson Hole. But there’s something else brilliant about this festival and it has to do with its creators.

Matt Donovan and Jeff Stein, who, yesterday, could be found bopping around Snow King with hard-earned beads of sweat dotting their grinning faces, contribute strikingly different sensibilities to this multi-day festival. Donovan, a musician himself, leans toward the live instrumentalists; bands with intense performance chops, while Stein, a DJ, is hip to vanguard electronic artists that often have a penchant for heavy bass (yes, please). Oh and then there’s the Art Garden at Center for the Arts – art installations, teepees, merry-go-rounds and more for little and big kids, – mountain and road bike demos, delicious local food, free outdoor yoga and fitness classes, and the chance to connect and dance with your friends all weekend… Are we in Jackson?

Matt Donovan and Jeff Stein are the Contour Fest masterminds. Now if only these guys knew how to have fun.

Matt Donovan and Jeff Stein are the masterminds of Contour. If only these guys knew how to have fun. Photo: Sargent Schutt


Yesterday on the main stage, where sound engineers have crafted an inimitable sound setup, the lineup was heavy on DJs and electronic artists, while live musicians dominated the evening’s offerings at the Garter, Town Square Tavern and The Wort.

Each electronic artist on the main stage yesterday altered the musical landscape. Saqi was a standout. Playing the trumpet while DJing, this classically trained musician dropped sultry percussive rhythms that commanded lawn grazers to their feet. The Portland musician’s intricate jazz-laced beats landed me front row and center for the duration of his performance.

Put this guy on your radar: Saqi.

Saqi gets sexy with the trumpet. Photo: Sargent Schutt


The Polish Ambassador closed out the evening with a mellow, moody set but not before switching gears and dropping his dirty Michael Jackson remix of “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin.”

The masses poured out of Snow King following TPA’s set and divvied themselves up among the Garter, Tavern and Wort. While I found myself unable to escape the spell of Papodosio’s psychedelic, electronic rock, a friend was texting me from the Tavern: “Get here now! It’s incredible! Great beats! Vortex!” (?) Pretty sure this was in reference to Sango, who dosed the Tavern with fast and slow 808s and thick, funky bass lines with Merengue undercurrents.

After the Garter, I hobbled home, sick with anticipation for day two’s menu: Autograf, Moon Taxi, Sage Francis and Quixotic, to name a few. While I’ve got so much more to say about this festival, it will have to wait because I am missing the music! See you at Snow King.

The Polish Ambassador shakes it for the crowd. Photo: Sargent Schutt

The Polish Ambassador shakes it for the crowd. Photo: Sargent Schutt

About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Planet Jackson Hole and Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

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