Dierks Bentley’s Dishes on Upcoming Seven Peaks Music Festival: ‘If Nobody Else Comes I’m Going to Have Fun’

For Dierks Bentley, all the magic is in the small details. So when planning his upcoming Seven Peaks music festival, he wanted authenticity in every component.

“If nobody else comes, I’m going to have fun,” Bentley tells PEOPLE. “That’s the goal — just me having fun and doing something really personal that has meaning for me.”

That’s why the “Burning Man” singer decided to return to Colorado — where he recorded his last studio album The Mountain — and host a music festival in the middle of the Rockies. “Selfishly, I set it there just because it gives me another excuse to go back to one of my favorite states in the country,” he admits.

However, in planning the inaugural festival, Bentley was everything but selfish. His fans were the priority when he was considering a campground that could fit his fans’ campers and cars (“some of these fans are going to drive the biggest vehicle they can find”), the stage design, and the musical lineup, which includes a kickoff ’90s night featuring headliner Clint Black and a special performance from Bentley’s cover band Hot Country Knights.

“When you’re making a festival that has your name on it you definitely want to include all those elements that make it your own, so having a ’90s night is right up my alley—very me, very my band,” Bentley says. “It’s wild what’s going on with that genre of music. We’ll throw a few of those songs into our set and you’ve got kids — 16, 17 year-olds — that are singing along to these songs that were made before they were born. There’s definitely a resurgence in that area of country music and we’re really excited to be the only festival that has a designated night for that genre.”

Alongside ’90s night on Friday, Aug. 31, Miranda Lambert‘s scheduled headlining performance on Saturday with Brothers Osborne among the openers, and Bentley’s closeout show on Sunday night, he also wanted to give fans multiple stages where they could enjoy music. The beach stage (complete with a lifeguard chair, sand and a lake in the middle of the campground) will be manned by a DJ and references the summertime vibes that go hand-in-hand with country music. The Whiskey Row stage, named after his franchise bar and restaurant, will feature upcoming artists and bluegrass musicians, which Bentley exclusively tells PEOPLE is the “lifeblood of the genre.”

That stage will feature acts Abby Anderson, Boy Named Banjo, Brown & Gray, Cody Canada, Dillon Carmichael, Travis Denning, Walker McGuire, Mipso and Rapidgrass.

WATCH THIS: Dierks Bentley Launches Clothing Line with Flag & Anthem

Bentley was so invested in the fan experience of the festival he wanted to make sure there was easy access to sunblock, water and ice, and even went so far as to make sure there were more female port-a-potties than men’s because he “didn’t want to see girls waiting in line.”

“When you make a record your attention to detail isn’t so much for the fans sometimes as it’s more for you, just so you can sleep at night knowing that you gave it all you had,” Bentley says. “Whether that’s the type of fonts you’re using on your credits, the way you say thank you, how you list your name as a songwriter on a song. I list my name last—just these little details matter to me. It’s the same with this festival.”

Even though choosing a venue in Buena Vista, Colorado, held a personal tie, Bentley admits he also made the decision with the fans in mind because there are so many activities people can enjoy during the day, including biking, hiking and rafting.

“If I had to describe my best day it would be being outside,” Bentley says. “I’m curious to see how I’m going to hold up because I’m planning on doing all the stuff during the day and then jumping up on a lot of the stages, including the Whiskey Row stage. I also wanna jam and hang out with the campers at the campground and try to get some sort of festival jam session tradition started.”

But Bentley is no stranger to making the most of his life on the road. In late July, he went mountain climbing in Wyoming the same day he had a show in Boise, Idaho, and then flew to Palm Springs, California after his performance.

“It’s going to be an adventure for me on many levels — a marathon of sorts — but you know, I am not afraid to pack it all in,” Bentley tells PEOPLE.

As for what to bring to Seven Peaks over Labor Day weekend? All Bentley suggests is “positive vibes and an attitude where you’re open to having a lot of fun. Oh, and beer and ice are essential items.”

“This isn’t about making money,” Bentley says. “This is about trying to create a really genuine, authentic, awesome experience for the fans.”

Tickets for the Seven Peaks music festival are available here.


PEOPLE.com

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus Finds Hidden Message About Seinfeld in Old Frame from 1993: ‘Fun, Right?’

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but even Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘ photo frames have a few things to say.

The Veep star, 57, was going through some of her late father’s belongings when she came across a little surprise from some Seinfeld fans.

“Today I’ve been going thru family photos from my dear dad RIP, organizing them, taking them out of frames etc,” she captioned a  Twitter photo of her unexpected discovery on Monday. “Look what I found in the back of a frame-a message from the framers in Mt Kisco, NY from 1993. Fun, right?”

They had scrawled the note, ” ‘Elaine’ Rules!!! We Julia.” Louis-Dreyfus, of course, starred as Elaine Benes on the hit NBC sitcom.

The actress’ father, billionaire business mogul William Louis-Dreyfus, passed away in September 2016, just two days before the Emmy Awards where his daughter took home her fifth consecutive Emmy.

“Lastly, I’d like to dedicate this to my father, William Louis-Dreyfus, who passed away on Friday,” she said in her acceptance speech at the time. “I’m so glad that he liked Veep because his opinion was the one that really mattered.”

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Earlier this month, Louis-Dreyfus watched the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards from home as she continues her battle with breast cancer. The actress was honored and celebrated for her work on Veep with the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series.

Minutes later, she addressed her win in a tweet.

“I wish I could have been @SAGawards tonight but have to admit it’s pretty fun to watch in my pj’s,” she joked on Twitter.

“So honored to win. So proud to be a union member,” the star continued. “So happy for my @VeepHBO bozos for winning ensemble award. Miss being at the table with you all. How was the chicken?”

The honor marked Louis-Dreyfus’ eighth SAG award, out of a total of 21 nominations. She previously won the honor last year for Veep, and again in 2012. Her other wins were for her role on Seinfeld — both as solo star and as a member of the show’s ensemble.

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Timothy Simons, who costars as Jonah Ryan on Veep, revealed that although the cast hadn’t been able to call Louis-Dreyfus right after her win — “the cell service in this thing is actually pretty terrible” at the SAGs — the actress has been “incredibly strong” throughout her cancer battle.

“She’s generally been in good spirits when we’ve seen her,” he said. “She has a good sense of humor, which I think it does wonders when you’re going through something like this. She’s incredibly strong. She’s uniquely able to combat something like this. She’s incredible.”


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Jimmy Fallon And Kevin Bacon Spoof The Beach Boys’ ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’

Is there anything more fun, fun, fun than a hamburger stand? The Beach Boys don’t think so.

Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Bacon parodied the rock band’s song “Fun, Fun, Fun” on Friday by showing what the “first draft” of the classic hit sounded like. It turns out it was basically just the guys singing about a hamburger stand the whole time. 

Bacon has gone on record saying people still come up to him and say his “Footloose“ entrance on “The Tonight Show” was the greatest thing he ever did. Now with this segment too, we’re just wondering when Fallon is going to bring him on permanently. 

Wow. If that would happen, we’re talking hamburger-stand-level fun here, people.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

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The Tonys, ‘Fun Home’ and Kids

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I am not one for predictions, particularly where the Tony Awards are concerned. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I watched a Tony broadcast. I know the last ceremony that I attended personally was when Rent won everything posthumously for my late-friend Jonathan Larson in 1996. That was almost more than I could bear, and I haven’t been back since.

This year, however, two things intrigue me: My kids’ first-time stake in the proceedings, and Fun Home. Lea and Sara have seen a lot of Broadway theater this season. As a result, they feel personally invested in their Tony connection to You Can’t Take It With You, On the Town, An American in Paris, Something Rotten!, The King and I. Each show is real to them. They know the names of even the supporting players (no-one made a bigger impression all season on all of us than Annaleigh Ashford and her sublime terpsichorean daffiness as Essie Carmichael in You Can’t Take It With You). Sara is rooting hard for Robert Fairchild, the City Ballet-based star of An American in Paris, to take Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Lea is pretty high on Christian Borle’s rock star turn as Shakespeare in Something Rotten! for Best Featured Actor, but she refuses to play favorites. “They were all pretty good,” she maintains.

The point I come away with is this: The Tony Awards really need kids. If the Theater Wing could find a way to give kids a routing interest by getting more of them in to see these wildly overpriced productions (I know, it does try to), then the Neilsen numbers would follow. Kids ought to be part of the television show’s focus — not to infantilize the telecast any more than it already is, but to trumpet the party innocently and joyously, and end it early. Start the whole thing at 7:00, I say. Make the kids welcome and their parents might just follow.

Which brings me to Fun Home. I found it as exquisitely excruciating to watch as I first found Sweeney Todd, when I saw it at the Uris Theatre way, way back in 1979. The unexpected parallels between these two diversely original musicals only struck me after I’d gone home to recover from Fun Home. Not since Sweeney Todd has there been a Broadway musical anti-hero more sickeningly appealing and appalling then the child predator dad, Bruce Bechdel, whom Michael Cerveris grotesquely conjures. As with Len Cariou as Sweeney, I could not take my eyes off Mr. Cerveris, even as I badly needed to look away. I am, myself, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse — though my predator was not a father figure but a rabbi, which, given the recent New York Times stories about the dastardly, sauna-centric Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt up in Riverdale, remains a painfully unresolved issue. But enough about me and rabbis.

A little over a decade ago, in my book Ever After about “The Last Twenty-Five Years of Musical Theater” up till that time, I devoted the better part of a chapter to Jeanine Tesori, then a promising young female Broadway musical composer (rarity of rarities). Ms. Tesori’s progressive evolution since then has been a wonderment to witness. From Violet to Thoroughly Modern Millie to Caroline, or Change, and now Fun Home, her musical palette has shape-shifted and expanded, taking on new colors with the new demands of each project. While I couldn’t say that her music for Fun Home is as spectacular as Stephen Sondheim’s for Sweeney Todd (what is?), her score is clearly a noble descendent in its intense manipulation and reinterpretation of tradition. Classic Broadway music is alive and well in Ms. Tesori’s Fun Home score (abetted by effortlessly expressive lyrics from Lisa Kron), yet it sounds reborn. Seventies Pop is, in a sense, Tesori’s equivalent to Sondheim’s deployment of Britsh Music Hall strains in Sweeney, and, as Sondheim did, the songs dramatize discomfitting moments in Lisa Kron’s kaleidoscopic retelling of Alison Bechdel’s extraordinary, troubling story in ways that I really have never experienced before.

Though it is full of kids — talented kids, like the Tony nominated Sydney Lucas, who plays Small Alison — Fun Home is not for kids. That said, I have discussed the show with Lea and Sara, who typically grill me these days when they find a Playbill lying around for a show they have not seen. Having already talked with them about my own childhood abuse — in an effort to, if nothing else, warn them to be vigilant in their own self-defense — it was not a huge leap to explain what Fun Home is about. Even my selectively generalized description disturbed them… thankfully. They should be disturbed. Both agreed that this was not a show they needed to see right now. Should it actually win the Tony Award Sunday night for Best Musical, I think they will share my surprise. They will also understand my satisfaction.

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