It felt like a Sunday surprise. We heard only the day before about reggae legend Pato Banton’s free concert last Sunday at Mt. Werner’s base area, and it turned out to be one of the most rockin’ shows I’ve seen this season.

When their scheduled gig was canceled at the last minute, the band decided they still wanted to play for the people of Steamboat. Steamboat offered their mountain stage, the Sheraton set up a stage-side bar in front of The Bear River restaurant and a few dedicated fans helped secure lodging for the musicians. Pato’s wife, keyboardist Antoinette told me they even bought a few extra speakers to make the show happen.

What followed was three hours of original tracks, Bob Marley covers and even their rendition of Groovin’ “for the people with grey hair”. The crowd started out sparse, but by mid-show a full dance floor swayed in unison to their music.

There were plenty of kids there for the music and some play time by the lazy river.  When Pato offered free CDs to anyone under 15 brave enough to show off their dance moves onstage they came running.

Several songs into the encore, the band played a few songs from their new album Love is the Greatest Thing. As with Marley’s iconic lyrics, theirs were woven with social commentary and messages of love and understanding. At the end of the show, Pato asked everyone to come close to the stage, join hands and send love to the people of Charlottesville; he asked people to come together for more peace in America. And you know what? They did it. I watched as even people sitting off to the side bowed their heads and held hands.

Dipping our toes in the lazy river

It made me think about possibility, and the power of making lemonade out of lemons. There was definitely some lemonade magic happening on Sunday.

Enjoy another fun-filled week in the ‘Boat!


Jessica Berg is a freelance writer and Suzuki Violin teacher. She first moved to Steamboat after college in the mid ’90s and, after a long hiatus, is happy to call Steamboat home again. She runs a private violin studio out of her Steamboat home and teaches violin with Boulder Suzuki Strings. She holds a degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and loves blogging about mountain life.