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Safta founder Alon Shaya. Photo by Sarah Boyum.

Sofa King Fest Brings Local Musicians, Chefs, and Celebrities to You

Today’s streaming online music-and-food festival features chef Alon Shaya, the Lumineers’ Wesley Schultz, former governor John Hickenlooper, and many more.

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Missing live music, art, and your favorite chefs during this time of COVID-19 shutdowns? Today’s Sofa King Fest, an online music and arts “festival,” has all the tunes, food, drinks, and local celebrities you could ask for. It’s streaming online starting at 2 p.m. to entertain you and raise much-needed funds for Colorado’s out-of-work musicians and restaurant crews. The variety show will feature top local musicians—the Lumineers’ Wesley Schultz! Leftover Salmon’s Andy Thorn! Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats’ Mark Shusterman!—as well as chefs including Safta’s Alon Shaya and the Wolf’s Tailor’s Kelly Whitaker, who will lead cooking demos.

There will be an at-home cocktail-making class with the Proper Pour’s McLain Hedges and a virtual wine tasting with Frasca Food & Wine sommelier Carlin Karr. Oh, and former governor John Hickenlooper will be on banjo telling never-before-heard stories, so that’s worth the price of admission (which is free, by the way) right there. 

“We came up with a pretty amazing line-up in just a few days,” says Emily Shaya, who, along with her husband Alon, are co-hosting the event. “It’s been inspiring, and a bright spot for a way people can spend some time watching some music, donating to the artists, and donating to the causes the artists are supporting.” 

Alon will kick things off by cooking kale jambalaya at 2 p.m. His studio? The Shaya’s home kitchen, using cardboard boxes and duct tape to create a set up with which to record it all. 

The Shayas have been supporting laid-off workers as a result of COVID-19 since last month’s mandated restaurant and bar closures. Thus far, they’ve donated 750 meals to in-need restaurant employees via the Restaurant Workers Relief Program, and they’re looking to serve even more. “Our goal is about 200 meals a day,” Emily says, “and we’ve been doing about 75 to 100 so far. We’ve been bringing the extras to hospital workers.”

Today’s “Colorado Day” event will support the Restaurant Workers Relief Program and Eddie Roberts Payback, funds that benefit local out-of-work restaurant industry employees and musicians. (To donate, click on the virtual “tip jar” as you watch.) Programming, which runs from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m., will be streamed live at sofa-king-fest.com

For Louisiana Day on April 1, Sofa King Fest raised more than $40,000 for foundations in that state. We can certainly beat that, can’t we, Colorado?

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