The great outdoors and music — each amazing on its own, but nothing compares to combining the two. That's exactly what Music for Wild Places, a company founded by musician Kai Welch that combines the majesty of nature with the beauty of music, does.
"I was touring a lot a few years ago, going to these amazing parts of the world and seeing mostly airports, greenrooms, and hotels," Welch says. "I remember I was in Norway with Abigail Washburn, and we desperately wanted to go on an adventure in the mountains, but the logistics of figuring out where to go and getting geared up and finding the time got the better of us. So I watched the mountains go by from the train and thought, 'I'm going to book gigs in the wilderness.'
"The first Music for Wild Places trip had more musicians than guests. I just had no idea how to market it, and by the time we hit the river, there were four of us musicians, three river guides, and three paying guests. Needless to say, that trip didn't end up in the black. Now we are in our fourth summer, and the trips have been selling out. There are some very outstanding artists/bands on the MFWP roster and more to come. And we are finally able to donate some of our proceeds to the Western Rivers Conservancy, which is an important part of the mission of MFWP. This summer we aim to do three trips down the Snake and Salmon Rivers in Oregon/Idaho. And, next year, I'm hoping to add a backpacking trip and, if we're lucky, a very special float down the headwaters of the Mekong River in China."
Music for Wild Places just announced their latest venture, a rafting trip down the Salmon River with none other than Della Mae. As for what you can expect from the experience, Welch explains, "It can be hard to describe with words on a page. Expect to be treated to a very full experience — music, food, and camaraderie — in a place that you will keep in your thoughts for the rest of your life. I think a lot of our guests are surprised by how pampered and looked-after they are by the fine folks at Winding Waters River Expeditions. But also, expect to do some hooting and hollering."
Check out videos from the most recent trip, which featured Portland singer/songwriter Laura Veirs. If you're interested in joining the August 17 – 20 excursion with Della Mae, you can click here for more information.
"Music for Wild Places" short documentary featuring Laura Veirs
"Wide-Eyed, Legless" – Laura Veirs
"I Can See Your Tracks" – Laura Veirs
"Shady Grove" – Laura Veirs and Kai Welch