Save Red Rock Canyon is a grass-roots organization representing 50,000+ advocates for Red Rock, including the wife of Jared Fisher, Heather, who is the organization’s president. The nonprofit’s mission is to preserve the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon and to “Keep Red Rock Rural” so that the land and vicinity will remain beautiful and safe for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, rock climbers, and anyone else who wishes to visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Recently, Save Red Rock hosted Jam at the Barn, an independent music and arts festival in the small rural village of Blue Diamond, Nevada. Jam at the Barn was founded by and is produced by Los Angeles singer/songwriter, Steven Kai van Betten, who developed his talent as a young boy in Blue Diamond with his mother, Pauline Van Betten, also a director of Save Red Rock, and father, Paul Van Betten, Red Rock Canyon rock climbing guide book author and original route setter. The festival was founded by Steven and his friend Jacob Peck in order to showcase cutting-edge bands and artists from all genres.
In an interview for this article, Steven Kai van Betten explained that the music festival first started as an end-of-the school-year event that Steven organized for friends. “I started it when I was a Freshmen in high school,” commented Steven. “Originally it was an informal jam session—It was very relaxed. But each year it grew as different bands expressed an interest in playing.”
Steven said that although festival attendance numbers have increased each year since starting, it wasn’t until 2010, when he and his friend and festival co-founder Jacob began attending music school in LA and Oakland that the event really began to take off. “It grew in attendance but also in professionalism,” Steven said.
In the decade since it was first launched, the festival has grown in size and scope, featuring indie artists and performers from across the Western United States. This year, Jam at the Barn hosted its 11th annual festival with over 20 bands!
Although Steven is happy with the festival’s success, he is adamant that it remain true to its “grassroots” origin. “It’s a community festival—a celebration for Blue Diamond,” he explained. “There are no financial sponsors and no one involved is paid. All expenses are paid for out of pocket or through donations and all the artists that perform help set up and help tear down the stage when the festival is over.”
The event’s lineup included nearly 20 performers and bands, including Battery, Bear Club, Flowers on Loan, Cameron Calloway, Drew Dapps, Dunkelpek, Evil Genius, Fell Runner, Fellow Fellow, Marshweed, Primero Sueno, Spiraal, Sonia Barcelona, Red Hill, Summer Kodama, Pitchfork and JATB Large Ensemble.
When asked about the festival’s mission and where Steven sees the festival headed in the next several years, Steven had this to say:
“If the festival has a mission, it is to showcase a diverse group of visual and musical artists. We value diversity and experimental art and want to expose people in the community to a wide range of genres and avant-garde music. We want to provide people with a chance to see and hear art that they might not otherwise have a chance to experience.”
As for how long Steven plans on producing the festival, he said: “I could see running it forever, actually. I’ll run it for as long as it makes sense to do so.”
If you’re a musician or artist and would like to be featured in next year’s festival (held every year in the first week of June), send an email to [email protected]
3 Great Jam at the Barn Artists to Watch:
Recently, The #SaveRedRock and #Fisher4Nevada Team caught up with a few of the festival’s bright young stars to learn a little more their backgrounds and to hear what prompted them to perform at Jam at the Barn.
1. Cameron Calloway
As it states on his website, Cameron Calloway is “a man of soul in the heart of Sin City.” In addition to his appearances at Jam at the Barn, this 28-year-old singer has also performed with several Grammy-nominated artists and at the Joshua Tree Music Festival. Although Cameron has only been performing since 2014—he got his start at open mic nights in downtown Las Vegas—he’s come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Cameron has just released an album and has even left his day job in order pursue his music career full time. But perhaps the biggest sign that Cameron has a promising career in music ahead of him is what’s on his event calendar for September: He’ll be performing in the popular Life is Beautiful Festival! Wow, congrats Cameron! That’s huge.
Here is a short clip of Cameron performing at Jam at the Barn:
Below is a live performance of the song “April 23rd”, which Cameron says is “fitting for a lot of us.” It’s a song about “knowing everything will be okay in time.”
2. Sonia Barcelona
Sonia Barcelona is a photographer, artist and singer-songwriter. She is also another Las Vegas-native who got her start performing at local open mic events. As explained in a video interview, Sonia is inspired by “etherial singing and the sounds of nature.” Her music certainly reflects that—And her voice is amazing! We especially love her track “Higher.”
3. Fellow Fellow
Fellow Fellow is a “circus-pop septet” led by Cooper Wolken, the band’s composer and vocalist, and one of the founders of Jam at the Barn, Steven Kai van Betten, the band’s guitarist. The other members of the band are: Louis Lopez (trumpet), Marcus Buser (bass), Nick Hon (drums) Stefan Kac (tuba) and Andrew Rowan (trumpet). Fun Fact: Steven Kai van Betten is also a member of another Jam at the Barn band, Fell Runner.
The band’s guitars, trumpets and tuba lend the group a dreamy “big band” feel that buzzbands.la calls a “woozy, wonky…joyride.” We love the band’s unique sound!
The video below is of the song “North,” which Cooper explained in an interview is “about wanting to pack up and leave when you can’t or shouldn’t leave…”
What Cooper from Fellow Fellow had to say about Jam at the Barn: “I think Jam at the Barn is a magical festival. The quality of performance paired with the strong sense of community is very special. They do it for the right reasons and I’m glad to see it thriving and growing year after year. We were lucky to be involved. Save Red Rock!“
Their debut album, The Traveler, is available on their website, fellowfellow.bandcamp.com.
As you can see, the Jam at the Barn attracts some amazing talent! Keep on the look out for these rising young stars, as we’re sure Nevada and the world will be seeing a lot more of them!
About FisherForNevada.com—Fisher for Nevada is the official campaign website of Jared Fisher, a 2018 candidate for Governor of Nevada. Jared is running for a Healthy Nevada—a platform with a focus on a diversified economy, strong education system, and renewable energy resources. Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates from the campaign as well as information on the laws, policies and news affecting Nevadans.