Leo Herrera has a simple motto.
Keep music live. Herrera says thats the motto for RockSlide, the band he performs with as drummer.
On Saturday, July 28, RockSlide and other bands will headline a benefit concert for the Bridge Emergency Shelter. The shelter helps keep hope alive and keeps a roof over the heads of local people who find themselves without a home of their own during the winter months.
The third annual Keeping Music Live Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the home of Herrera and his wife Susan, located at 7954 Road 26.5.
RockSlide lead guitarist Jimmy McClain said the festival will feature eight bands and a bunch of solos and duos. Its going to be a really good time.
Among the bands scheduled to appear are local groups Big Money, Bonfire and Rhythm Method. Also appearing will be Three Men Standing from Farmington, Native Knights from Shiprock and Tommy Eylicio and Power Drive USA from Albuquerque.
All performers are donating their time to help the Bridge Shelter.
Admission to the festival is free. Donations will be accepted.
McClain called the festival a collective effort by the four members of the band.
The other members of RockSlide are Dennis Knuckles on the bass and Thomas Martin Scott, who plays saxophone, guitar and keyboard.
Herrera said RockSlide has done benefit concerts in the past.
Weve helped people who were sick or in accidents, he said. We try to give back to the community in a big way.
This years festival marks the first time it has been geared to raising money for the Bridge Shelter. Herrera praised the shelter for its good work.
A lot of people out there have reason to be thankful for the Bridge,he said. (The Bridge) has helped a lot of people. It benefits people who are having bad luck or not able to get a job and have a home. They provide temporary housing, food, clothing the bare essentials of life. Herrera emphasized that the festival is not just geared to adults. He called it a celebration of musicians and their families.
Were trying to cater to families, he said. Children are welcome. We will have all genres of music country, rock, bluegrass, blues, Spanish, Gospel.
A free raffle will also be held at the festival. Herrera said that each adult who enters will receive one ticket. Drawings will be held periodically during the event to give away CDs, guitar strings, a gift certificate from the Baymont Inn and other items.
Food will be available from two caterers.
Herrera said alcohol will not be sold, but that people are welcome to bring the refreshment of their choice, including beer and wine.
Vendors will be onsite selling T-shirts, CDs, posters and other merchandise.
Herrera, 56, is a Cortez native who has his own car repair shop, Auto Masters, but in the past he worked full-time as a professional musician.
His first fellow bandsmen were his nephews, Leonard and Duane Lopez, boys his age whose fathers were Herreras much older brothers. Herrera said they played all the early rock stuff from the 60s and 70s.
Dad taught us kids how to play guitar (when we were 11). We played our first job at Hollywood Bar in Dolores. I played professionally from the age of 13. I would travel on Fridays to some gig some place.
Herrera said he left Cortez after high school and started playing music all over the place. I hooked up with other performers and played on the road. It was my way of making a living.
He moved back to Cortez six years ago and he and Susan recently celebrated their fifth anniversary.
Shes a real blessing in my life, Herrera said. She keeps me grounded.
I still enjoy making music, but my wife and my business are my priorities now.
Herrera came together with Knuckles, McClain and Scott to form RockSlide three years ago. They usually perform two weekends a month at venues within a 400-mile radius of Cortez.
The group released its first CD last year, a recording of original music available locally at Rocky Mountain One Stop and Let It Grow.
Herrera said the band is currently at work on a second album.
RockSlide will perform at the Telluride Jazz Festival at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5.
For more information and updates on the festival, see www.rockslidecolorado.com. The Bridge Emergency Shelter website is www.thebridgeshelter.org.