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Festival rocks and raises money for I Love U Guys Foundation

By Daniel Laverty

The Conifer Blues Festival rocked Norm Meyer’s ranch on Saturday and left everyone on a high note.

The festival, celebrating its third year, raised money for the I Love U Guys Foundation, which creates and promotes safety programs for schools during emergencies.

In September 2006, a gunman entered Platte Canyon High School and fatally shot student Emily Keyes. The I Love U Guys Foundation was named after Emily’s last text-message to her parents.

Emily’s parents, Ellen and John-Michael Keyes, started the foundation in 2009.

“It’s the second year that the festival has benefited the I Love U Guys Foundation,” said Dawn Smith, executive director of the Conifer Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a real privilege to work with them again on this event.”

Hundreds filled Norm Meyer’s ranch for a day of food, beer and, of course, blues music. The chamber brought kegs of beer, and, after a suggested donation to I Love U Guys, filled glasses full.

“What a great way to get out and see some good music and just chill,” said Kit Hoekstra of Littleton.

Kit and her husband, Dave, found a spot toward the back of the crowd to enjoy the concert.

“Twenty years ago, we’d be up front and dancing with the rest of the hippies,” Dave said with a smile. “We can hear the music better back here and just people-watch our fellow aging hippies.”

Folks kicked up their heels and danced away their blues. A steady crowd grooved in front of the stage during each band’s performance.

The festival’s lineup included the Steve Crenshaw Band, Louis Gonzalez, Once Removed Blues Band and Chris Daniels and the Kings, with special guests Hazel Miller and Freddi Gowdy.

Rainfall played a set of its own, along with a few encore performances throughout the afternoon and evening.

“A little rain never hurt anyone,” said Alexis Fojo.

Fojo drove from Denver and attended with her friend Jon Kedowski.

“It’s great out here today,” Fojo said. “It’s a good time, and this supports a really good cause.”

“Getting beer after giving a donation to a great cause and listening to good music — it’s fantastic,” Kedowski said. “I’ve had my eye on the fried Twinkies. I might have to try one later.”

The next event for the I Love U Guys Foundation is the eighth annual Emily’s Parade on Sept. 29, which includes a motorcycle ride from Columbine High School to Platte Canyon High School and a 5K run.

For more information on Emily’s Parade and the I Love U Guys Foundation, visit www.iloveuguys.org.

Contact Daniel Laverty at Daniel@evergreenco.comor at 303-350-1043. Follow him on Twitter at @LavertyReports.


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