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Jasper County Tribune

Acoustic Set

Rain transforms Rock the Quarry into indoor jam session

Nationally renowned country artist and Pella Native, Jason Brown plays an acoustic set to a room full of fans and volunteers as the rain falls outside Saturday night at Rock the Qaurry in Colfax.
Nationally renowned country artist and Pella Native, Jason Brown plays an acoustic set to a room full of fans and volunteers as the rain falls outside Saturday night at Rock the Qaurry in Colfax.

COLFAX — Torrential rainfall Saturday night was not going to keep Myrtle Lester from seeing the headliner at Rock the Quarry in Colfax.

“I came to see Jason Brown, so I’m staying to see Jason Brown,” the 78-year-old from Colfax said. “My son drove a truck for the same company Jason did while he was just getting started. He allowed my little grandson — who’s an adult now — when he was 14 or 15 to play with him at Robert’s Creek for a dance band.”

Concert-goers who stayed Saturday night, despite rising South Skunk River waters and 4.5-inches of rain, were treated to an intimate acoustic set from Brown. Organizers decided to move the concert indoors at Quarry Springs Park, where the Pella native told stories from his time in Nashville and on the road and played some of his hits with Colfax favorite Richard Arndt sitting in.

“We’re going to pretend we’re in my backyard and we have a campfire going, while we’re out here on this beautiful peninsula,” Brown said. “... I’m kind of glad it rained so we could have this moment together. I never thought I’d be sitting here in front of a bunch of people with my guitar.”

Arndt and his band The Brew were able to finish their 90-minute set before the rain started as dark clouds and cold air rushed into Quarry Springs. In the sound booth, an iPad displayed the radar with greens, reds and pinks. But the small crowd stuck it out, hearing Arndt do a mix including AC/DC, Black Sabbath, The Allman Brothers and a few originals. 

“Y’all don’t care, do you? We’ll just sit out here, get wet and enjoy our damn-selves,” Arndt said to the crowd. “We’ll have a tiny little Woodstock here in Colfax.”

Rock the Quarry is one of the primary annual fundraisers for Quarry Springs Park, a city-owned park that’s being developed by the volunteer-led nonprofit Colfax Auxiliary Parks and Recreation Board.

The concert vendors included Colfax pub The Thirsty Turtle, Cocina Hernandez Mexican restaurant, the Colfax-Mingo Music Boosters selling pop and popcorn for a 2020 trip to Disney World in Florida, and a silent auction to benefit the Colfax-area Cub Scouts. Des Moines-based Back Alley Jam got the show started for the 5 to 10 p.m. concert.

“It’s a happening place,” Kim Seebeck, Colfax auxiliary board president said. “It’s been kind of a crazy day, but things have come together really well — a lot of people doing a lot of hard work in this heat. I think it’s proving to be a success.”

According to Quarry Springs volunteer and Newton resident Dennis Farland, this is the third event in Rock the Quarry’s three-year history that’s been plagued by rainy weather. Although the attendance was not what volunteers wanted, those who did go said the music surrounded by serene views was worth a few raindrops.

For Andy and Kris Smith of Colfax, this was there the second year coming to Rock the Quarry. Wearing gold beads and a bandana, this year the couple’s granddaughter Olivia was their guest.

“Our granddaughter just loves music,” she said. “We thought this would be a perfect night to come out. It’s cooling off, plus it’s nice because you get to see a lot of people that you know.”

Contact Mike Mendenhall at 515-480-3573 ext 6530 or at mmendehall@newtondailynews.com

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