Yee-Hula!

Buffalo Bill goes Hawaiian at this roots-music festival.

William Cody’s travels with his Wild West Show took him all over the world — Buffalo Bill even did two performances in Croatia in 1906 — and across the continental United States. But he never made it to Alaska or Hawaii. “Interestingly enough, in our collection is a poster — it’s in tatters — of a paniolo, a Hawaiian cowboy,” says Steve Friesen, director of the Buffalo Bill Museum. “And Buffalo Bill had Hawaiian cowboys in his show.” He’ll have them at his gravesite and museum today, too, when the sixth annual Mountain Melodies Music Festival sounds off on Lookout Mountain from noon to 5 p.m.

Every year, in addition to kids’ activities and crafts, the free festival features a lineup of local musicians. This year it includes the Martin Gilmore Duo, the Uptown Relics, Finders and Youngberg, and Book Em Danno, Colorado’s foremost Hawaiian swing band. “Some of this music has its roots within Buffalo Bill’s time,” Friesen explains, then admits, “With Hawaiian swing, we’re going to the edge. The Pacific Rim, actually.” But that’s because they want people to think about Buffalo Bill, and this Denver-owned museum, in new ways. “We’re trying to really look at roots music with this festival,” concludes Friesen. “I’ve found ways to relate Buffalo Bill to rock and roll, but that’s another conversation.”

The museum is located on Lookout Mountain Road in Golden; for more information, go to www.buffalobill.org or call 303-526-0744.
Sun., Aug. 9, 12-5 p.m., 2009

 
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