Leftover Salmon kicks off NewWestFest with energetic set

Alec Erickson

“I want to see Fort Collins get carried away,” said Leftover Salmon to the large crowd in Old Town. Leftover Salmon is the headlining band who performed Friday night at the most anticipated festival of the season, Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest.

Leftover Salmon headlined Friday night of NewWestFest



NewWestFest officially began Friday evening, and while it was the shortest of three days, it still was packed full of local artist, attracting thousands from in and around the city of Fort Collins.

Rich Vincent from Laramie, Wyoming, said, “It’s such a unique opportunity here, and I wish more people from Cheyenne and Laramie knew about this.”

Eight bands played Friday night, but many fans waited all day for Leftover Salmon.

Pandas & People opened for Leftover Salmon Friday evening.


After opening acts Michael Kirkpatrick and The Honey Rider Band and Pandas & People were done playing the Mountain Ave stage with energetic and exciting sets that got the crowd moving early, there was even more dancing when Leftover Salmons took the stage


Michael Kirkpatrick and The Honey Rider Band were one of Friday’s opening acts.

Leftover Salmon performed like a group that has been together for a decades, which makes sense because that’s exactly the case; they have been doing this since 1989. In that time, they have built up dedicated followers, otherwise known as “Salmon Heads,” that were shouting along to every word when there was a song with lyrics. While the band calls their style “Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass,” at their core, they are a jam band. Each song the band played seemed like the finale in both sound and look, but more songs just kept coming, and fans loved every second of it.

A common sentiment from younger attendees was that they had never heard of the band. While that may have been the case, it didn’t stop most people from dancing, jumping, clapping and swaying along to the music Friday evening. From whole families to young college students, Leftover Salmon had no problem getting the crowd moving.

“It’s pretty wild,” Vincent said. “You look at the crowd, and it’s pretty cultured, and everyone seems to get along.”

Leftover Salmon performed plenty of their hit songs for the crowd.

Leftover Salmon was very technical in both how they played and the way they prepared their set. There wasn’t a lot of time in between songs before a member of a band would strike up a chord and start playing the next one. Then there were times when the band would stop to talk to the crowd. In one of those instances, they said, “Nothing like music in the street to restore your faith in the country.” The band finished their hour and a half set at 10 p.m.


A few loyal fans stuck around, holding out hope for a encore, but when roadies started breaking down the stage, they knew it was never going to come, and they joined the hundreds of others leaving Mountain Ave after a night of energetic music.

Originally from Boulder, CO Leftover Salmon packed Mountain Ave Friday night.

Collegian Reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @CTV_Ace.