Many summer concert-goers in Wyoming find a Panama hat essential wear, even in the rare and cool atmosphere at 7,800 feet.

Thousands of music lovers gathered at that elevation above Jackson last weekend for two five-hour shows at the top of Snow King Mountain. Wide brims sheltered music fans from the strong sun as they listened to valley resident Duane Betts and several musical guests. A $30 ticket bought admission and a ride up about 1,700 feet on the ski area’s new gondola lift.

Promoter Shannon McCormick was preparing to feature Duane Betts and Friends at a ballpark at the mountain’s base and was brainstorming with resort manager Ryan Stanley when the manager proposed an idea: “What do you think about doing it on the top?”

“Excuse me?” McCormick responded, he recalled, immediately overwhelmed by 20 seemingly insurmountable challenges: Porta potties, and specifically, how to get 20 of them up and down the steep, rough road on the mountain without spilling.

Last weekend King Concerts resolved all the worries, hosting about 2,000 persons a night. The summit venue, used for the first time for such a concert, came complete with food, drink, a view of the Teton Range and clean porta potties.

Betts and his group ran through a classic repertoire from his father’s Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and others. Cody and Luther Dickenson and Lamar Williams Jr. from the North Mississippi Allstars, Johnny Stachela and Berry Duane Oakley from the Allman Betts Band, Jackie Greene, Nicki Bluhm and surprise guests Willie Waldman and Alex Orbison all took the stage.

Palm leaves provided the shade, geology the spectacular skyline.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at or (307)...

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  1. Hi! Just wanted to mention that this was not first concert on top of Snow King. The Jackson Hole Fire Festival, produced by Vista 360° for five years in Jackson, presented several wonderful performances at the top of the mountain — including shakuhachi flute played by Japanese master Matsuda-san and percussion played on stones, water and other natural materials by the amazing Japanese percussion group, the Ochi Brothers. We also played taiko on the mountain top and mapped how the sound traveled over the contours and distances of the landscape below. Concerts at the top of Snow King were in 2007, 2008, 2009. I’m going to send Angus some photos. Thanks!