Gov’t Mule and Xavier Rudd ready to play free concerts in Vail

Spring Back to Vail headliners to perform at Ford Park

via Vail Daily

Spring Back to Vail is an annual celebration at the end of each winter season, featuring free concerts, the spectator-friendly pond skimming championships and on-mountain festivities through April 14 this year.

The lineup of free music features Xavier Rudd from Australia with opener Steel Pulse, a roots reggae band from England, as well as Gov’t Mule returning with local opener Austin’s Rose.

Shows are at Ford Park in Vail at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13. For more information, visit http://www.vail.com.

Here’s a look at the two headliners coming to Vail for Spring Back.

Gov’t Mule

The band that started as a side project for guitarist Warren Hayes during his time with the Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule is celebrating 25 years with a spring tour across the U.S. and Europe.

The band’s Spring Back to Vail performance will be the first stop on the tour.

“It’s an exciting time right now and we’re all chomping at the bit to get back on the road,” Grammy Award winner Hayes said over the phone from New York.

Gov’t Mule performs a free show at Ford Park on Friday, April 12, with opener Austin’s Rose at 6 p.m.

Gov’t Mule started in 1994 as something Hayes and legendary bassist Allen Woody “wanted to do for fun” in their “downtime” from the Allman Brothers.

They wanted to do something for fun then return to their “day jobs,” Hayes said. However, a record soon followed in 1995.

“It sort of caught fire and became its own thing,” Hayes said, “and we were forced to make the decision to continue or not — and the decision was obvious. We would have never thought that 25 years later Gov’t Mule would still be touring.”

Celebrating 25 years, Gov’t Mule is set to release a double DVD from a live set at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, in addition to touring across the world.

For Hayes, who performed with the Allman Brothers from 1989-1997 and 2000-2014, Gov’t Mule does its part in keeping the music from the iconic rock band alive.

“That was such a huge part of my life for 25 years,” he said. “It’s been a tough few years with losing Butch [Trucks] and Gregg [Allman] back to back. I’m sure we all miss the music in a way that has obviously left a void in live music. But Gov’t Mule these days incorporates a couple of those tunes into our shows. We kind of do our part to keep that stuff alive, but it’s not like that music needs our help.”

Hayes and Gov’t Mule have performed in Vail before, with some of the four-piece band’s earliest shows in Colorado.

“We’ve always loved to play in Colorado,” Hayes said.

With decades of experience in the music industry, Hayes says live music is the “life blood” for bands like Gov’t Mule.

“Going on stage is kind of the payoff for the whole concept of being on tour. We’re out there away from our families, eating crappy food, staying in hotels and driving thousands of miles,” he said. “Walking on stage is what makes all of that worth it.”

Gov’t Mule is sure to put on a show in Vail — a performance celebrating 25 years, the start of its spring tour and, of course, a little tribute to the Allman Brothers.

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