Outdoor concert with The High Rollers set for Town Park Saturday

Photo courtesy Dan Janowsky
The High Rollers have again carved out time in their schedule to perform their annual benefit concert for the Pagosa Wrestling Club. This year’s concert kicks off at 7 p.m. on July 8.

By Dan Janowsky
Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Wrestling Club has again booked the area’s premier band, The High Rollers, to perform their annual summer concert in Town Park this Saturday night. If you are new to the area or just passing through, this is an event locals all know is the best live entertainment event of the summer.

Saturday night’s outdoor concert, which begins at 7 p.m., is a fundraiser for the Pagosa Wrestling Club and lead singer Andy Janowsky keeps a date open for this event each year as he himself wrestled and is the brother to local wrestling coach Dan Janowsky.

Admission is free (donations are requested, but not required) and the majority of the event is paid for through concession sales and an auction of baked goods.

Originally held at the fairgrounds and attended by relatively small crowds, as The High Rollers’ popularity has grown, the event has also grown, moved downtown and “evolved” into an outdoor concert with hundreds of enthusiastic listeners. Folks who like to dance find The High Rollers’ energy and song selection irresistible, and the dance area gets more and more crowded as the night goes on.

The High Rollers performance schedule takes them regularly on big stages through the southwest and Western Slope Rocky Mountain region and includes two performances a year in Europe, where they have a large and enthusiastic fan base.

While The High Rollers’ musical base is country/rock, you will hear a wide range of music performed throughout the evening. This is in part due to the broad musical backgrounds of the musicians on stage.

Jeff Johnson, primarily known for his fiddle playing and vocals, is also adept at banjo and guitar, enabling the band to play swing, bluegrass and classic country music. In contrast, guitar player Darin Stroud is a well-known metal guitar player who has adapted his skills to play up tempo contemporary country sounds.

Adding a new element to the sounds will be keyboard guest Missy Stroud, a trained and talented keyboard player and vocalist who is the master of a variety of instruments and styles. Drummer Clay Lowder’s background is rock and blues. Bringing out the best in the musicians’ expertise is highly acclaimed sound man Scott “Scooter” Smith and a powerful outdoor sound system.

Vocalist, bass player and song writer Andy Janowsky has put together a set list that taps into this broad variety of musical talent to put on a show that keeps its energy from start to finish. This includes many of Andy Janowsky’s original songs that blend in with the well-known classics without missing a beat.

He commented, “Once we started crafting our own identity using our original music, our band really took off.”

The original songs, starting with “Colorado Girl,” have received significant Colorado and Four Corners radio air time on several stations, and earned The High Rollers bookings at big events from Country Jam in Grand Junction to the Country and Rock Music Festival in Salardu, Spain.

This year’s High Roller events have included a concert in Bordeux, France, an appearance at Mountain Rails Live, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad Summer Concert Series that includes Suzy Bogus, Ricky Skaggs, Radney Foster, Pure Prairie League and other well-known acts. Later this summer, The High Rollers will be featured for three days at the Sky High Stampede, the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s oldest rodeo in Monte Vista, Colo.

If you are in town on Saturday night, you’ll find the best entertainment value to be in Town Park. This outdoor concert and dance would truly be a bargain at a much higher price, but to make an event for the entire family, The High Rollers and the Pagosa Wrestling Club keep it affordable. This year admission is a donation at the gate ($2 minimum is requested, not required). The event is supported by concession sales (a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans and a soft drink are sold for just $7 a plate), donations at the gate, and participation in the baked goods auctions.

Check out the band’s website, highrollersband.com, and their Facebook page for profiles, videos and music. Then pack a blanket or a lawn chair, bring a donation and enjoy a great evening of entertainment in the beautiful Pagosa mountain evening air. It’s a perfect end to your Fourth of July weekend.

If you are unable to attend but would like to contribute to this event and the Pagosa Wrestling Club, tax-deductible donations can be made to Pagosa Wrestling Club, P.O. Box 1735, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

This story was posted on July 7, 2017.