Rusted Root show bodes well for El Gran Sabor’s new concert series

I was at El Gran Sabor in Elkins last night talking with people who had missed the Rusted Root show (part of the new occasional concert series EGS is going to be staging). I found myself saying the same thing over and over, so I thought I’d put it out here.

First of all, I can’t really say I was ever a Rusted Root “fan,” but their songs have long been in the category of songs that I pause on when scanning the radio, etc. Just fun, enjoyable pop.


EGS owner Rob Masten blowing with openers Shane Meade and Bo McMillion.

But I really enjoyed the concert at EGS last weekend, and I wanted to make sure everyone understood what was so great about it, and why it was definitely worth the $35 ticket price.

The main thing is, it was a $35 **ticket** price, not a cover charge, and there is a difference. If you’ve been to EGS’s forest festival shows or other big nights with local acts, you might have paid a cover charge, and then enjoyed the show with a packed, standing-room-only crowd. This means it might have been hard to see, it might have been awkward to get to the bar, etc. That is nothing against EGS–that’s typical for live music in a bar, especially for a low cover charge.

But based on the Rusted Root show, these “concert series” events are going to be different, and here’s how: that $35 is a **ticket** for a specific **seat**.


Michael Glabicki and band members.

So yes, although the $35 is significantly more than the $5 you might have paid last fall to see local superstars Young Funk Sung–a steal at twice the price–it’s getting you a very different experience.
Since no more tickets are sold than there are seats, the crowd is significantly smaller, even with sell-out crowds, as happened for both seatings.

(Yes, there are two seatings, and yes, the first seating crowd has to leave promptly to allow the second seating to come in; that’s how EGS can afford to bring these acts in, so work with them. Frankly, with young kids at home with the grandparents, it was refreshing to be able to get out for dinner and a concert and get home in time for their bedtime. But if that’s not your bag, check with the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA: they often time their “parents’ night out” childcare to coincide with events like this, and they do a great job.)


He’s got the flute going, so you know what song this is!

So what do you get for your $35? Well, the overall din is much lower, you can hear the music well, you can talk to your neighbors without screaming, you can duck to the bar or bathroom in just a few seconds, and so on. In other words, it’s a premium price for a premium experience–and frankly, the price isn’t really **that** high for what you get. Try to see an act like this in an intimate setting with great atmosphere in a bigger city and see what they charge (although frankly, I doubt you will find very many other 50-seat venues attempting something like this).

According to Rob, the following acts might be coming to future, date-TBD installments:

  • Rasta Rafiki:
  • 10,000 Maniacs (or, as with Rusted Root, some configuration of people associated with the band–not Natalie Merchant, in other words)

I urge you to consider attending these, even if these don’t sound like your kind of acts. You’ll be up close and personal with professional, touring musicians with real show chops, in an extremely convivial, very pleasant setting. Frankly, those aren’t bands I would have crossed the street for back when I lived in Baltimore or Miami or Seattle.

But I know the experience of seeing them under these circumstances will be a lot of fun, plus, if this series continues to be successful, who knows who Rob will book next? After all, if you don’t support live music in Elkins, Elkins won’t have live music.

Once the next dates are determined, don’t procrastinate: I guarantee that all of these will sell out quickly.

See you there!

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