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Taken from Teton Valley News (March 20, 2015)

Michael Franti shares what keeps him coming back to the Tetons

by Stephen Henderson TVN Staff

Michael Franti headlines the Jackson Hole Rendezvous music festival
on Saturday night in Teton Village

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is already well into their March RADness event—31 bands over 31 days—and this weekend they’ll host the 2nd Annual Jackson Hole Rendezvous Festival, a four-day lifestyle and music event, with performers taking the stage both at the resort and in downtown Jackson. The free event will include performers like Screen Door Porch, Robert Earl Keen, Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Mix Master Mike (of Beastie Boys fame) and Lukas Nelson & P.O.T.R.

“Spring is one of the best parts of Jackson’s season,” said JHMR’s VP of marketing, Adam Sutner. “It’s our pleasure to be able to offer this level of talent and shows, all entirely free to our guests.”

The TVN recently caught up with Michael Franti, whose chart-topping R&B, reggae and hip-hop-infused rock albums have hit the top of the charts, to talk about his upcoming show and what keeps him coming back to the Tetons.

TVN: You’ve played in the area before, what keeps you coming back?

Franti: When we were first starting out we would spend a month in the sort of Colorado/Utah/Idaho region playing shows. We’d ski during the day and play at night. We actually played about five shows at the Mangy Moose. I learned to snowboard on that mountain and that’s kind of where our roots of coming to that part of the country come from.

TVN: So, what’s different about playing at 7,000 feet versus by the beach?

Franti: I live in San Francisco, the big city. I didn’t grow up being in the mountains at all. As a sea-leveler, going up to the mountains, they’re full of wonder and challenges. It’s just awe-inspiring to see the snow in the winter and the lush green in the summer.

TVN: What’s it like to perform in the winter?

Franti: The weather is usually really cooperative, but one time we played in the Tetons and it was like -10 degrees and all of us bought glove liners and cut off the fingertips to play the guitar. But that wasn’t enough. Halfway through the show I stuffed three or four of those handwarmer things into my gloves. That was how we got through it.

TVN: Did the audience still show up?

Franti: The great thing about being in a mountain town is that, whatever the weather, it doesn’t deter the audience from coming. Our shows are about that connection with the audience and live music.

TVN: Are you planning on snowboarding when you visit?

Franti: I’m actually four weeks out of surgery for a torn meniscus, so unfortunately I’m not gonna be able to do any snowboarding. But I’m definitely going to take the gondola up. Even when you’re not well, it’s always great to just go to the top. We have this amazing luxury of technology; I try not to miss an opportunity like that.


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