As the gates opened and people swarmed into Washington Park on Friday night they were headed one of two places: the stage or the line for beer.
Taste of Fort Collins is an annual event in Old Town when visitors can enjoy live music, craft vendors and, of course, local food. The event marks the start of summer and festival season and attracts over 80,000 attendees, according to The Coloradoan.
Those headed to the line for drinks were able to purchase drink tokens, which could be exchanged for beer provided by New Belgium and Odell Brewing, or cocktails from Mystic Mountain Distillery.
Many also headed to check out the many food vendors in the area. With offerings from restaurants and food trucks, there were plenty of options to choose from.
“Today was a high of 95, so it wasn’t as bad here under the shade,” said Kendall Krautsack of Austin Taco. “Today was just a half day so tomorrow we’ll see how it goes.”
As people grabbed their drinks and food, more and more headed to the stage for the music.
The opening band for the evening was One Flew West, a Denver-based rock band. The group formed in Longmont in 2010 and has grown from a high school garage band into a group that has shared the stage with the likes of the Dirty Heads and Cage the Elephant. The group brought a high-energy sound to Washington Park and got the crowd pumped up with their own original songs, several of which they said were new, as well as a cover of “Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance. The band seemed honestly excited to be there and to open for the headliner: Plain White T’s.
“When I got the email I was in a subway and ‘Hey There Delilah’ was playing in this gnarly subway I was in,” said Linden Jackson, the lead vocalist of the band. “I was like, ‘this is perfect.'”
After One Flew West finished their set, DJs from 94.3 came on stage to shoot lazer tag passes into the crowd and get everyone excited for Plain White T’s. However, there was very little need for that.
“It’s like a blast from the past,” said Ravyn Cullor, a freshman journalism major at Colorado State University who was at the front of the crowd. “It’s from my childhood.”
Once the Plain White T’s came on stage, the crowd went absolutely wild. Their well-known songs such as “1234” and “Rhythm of Love” had the whole crowd singing along and they dedicated “Our Time Now” to One Flew West, who were excitedly watching from the VIP area. They also performed their newest single, “Land of the Living” and said they were working on new music this summer. The group joked around with the crowd, asking for the Cavaliers and Warrior’s score and singing happy birthday to a girl whose birthday it may or may not have been.
At a certain point, the band left the stage, and the crowd started chanting “Plain White T’s!” Tom Higgenson returned to the stage alone with his acoustic guitar and began chanting “Fort Collins!” He then said, “I’m going to sing this song, and you’re going to sing it with me” before playing their 2005 hit, “Hey There Delilah.” The whole crowd sang along, and the band closed with “Rhythm of Love”
As crowds grabbed a last bit of food and made their way back to their cars, a certain electricity was in the air. People were happy about the music they had enjoyed on a warm summer night, and were excited about what the weekend had to bring.