So Much More than Music

Jan 7, 2002
Outside Magazine

World-renowned kayaker Jimmy Blakeney shows off in the Confluence kayak pool.

July 12, 2002 April McKeen had a lot of questions. Should she ski first and then kayak, or maybe hit the bike track and then cool off in the scuba pool? When did the ski jump exhibition start and where was the climbing wall? Could she do it all and still see Sheryl Crow?

McKeen was one of the thousands of concertgoers who turned out Wednesday for the Jeep World Outside Festival to soak up the sun with Sheryl Crow, Train, and some of the world's top athletes as the adventure sports/summer music tour kicked off in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The festival is the first of its kind—allowing attendees to watch artists perform as well as participate in their favorite adventure sports alongside top-ranked professional athletes.

A mini theme park, the Outside Magazine Adventure Village, offers more than a day's worth of high adrenaline activities. Experienced adventures and newcomers alike can fine tune their climbing skills on a 24-foot climbing tower, strap on a tank and learn the basics from certified instructors in the scuba pool, and perfect their paddling technique in the 30,000-gallon Confluence kayak pool with instruction from some of the nation's best boaters. The village also boasts the largest portable Olympic-style ski jump in North America, a custom-designed mountain biking course, and two ski/snowboard simulators.

While visitors get the opportunity to take part in the village events they can also watch as the professionals show off during one of the day's many demonstrations and exhibitions. Crowds at the Switch Back Attack, the festival's custom mountain-biking track, can't get enough of trial rider Jeff Lenosky, who executes some of the most outrageous stunts ever performed on two wheels. And crowds flock to Huck Mountain, home of the monstrous ski jump, to check out the spectacular aerial displays of former US freestyle team member Tommy DeAngelo and former Canadian national ski team members Lance Rouleau and Brad Suey.

The ski jumpers were fantastic," says Brenda Moore, who came to festival hoping to get some tips on rolling her kayak. "Except for the circus, I've never seen anything like it."

The Outside Magazine Adventure Village is also home to a number of kiosks offering product demos, exhibitions, and giveaways, as well as an eco-village that hosts numerous nonprofit groups related to outdoor sports like River Keepers and the Coastal Conservation Association.

Concertgoers aren't the only ones itching to soak it all up. Band members from O.A.R. were spotted in the kayaks early Wednesday and Train guitarist Jimmy Stafford says he has his eye on the scuba pool. But it's the headliner, Sheryl Crow, who seems most excited.

"I think it's great that the festival offers so much," she says. "I'm definitely going to go out and experience all of it."

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