The Gustavus band Cross Sound performs at the second annual Burning Pines rock concert in Gustavus on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

The Gustavus band Cross Sound performs at the second annual Burning Pines rock concert in Gustavus on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Burning for a live and local rock concert? Find it in Gustavus

Newly built stage offers second annual Burning Pines concert the “home” it’s been missing

The second annual Burning Pines concert showcased four rock bands from Southeast Alaska on Saturday in Gustavus at the Towers Stage — in the middle of the woods at the end of Tong Road “where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.”

Tosh Parker helped organize what he calls “Alaska’s rock event of the year,” where he also performed as a rhythm guitarist with Gustavus-based band Cross Sound.

He said the show floated around town in big, open areas in past years, meaning they could only set up temporary facilities. This year, Parker took a 30-acre property he owns and with volunteers’ help turned it into a permanent facility where the event can be held for years to come. The developing campground included wells with hand pumps, outhouses and firepits. Food and nonalcoholic drinks were available for purchase.

Due to the outdoor location, generators and backup generators were needed to operate the equipment. Cross Sound performed last as they ran the event leading up to their set. Dozens of volunteers worked since April around their full-time jobs to build the Burning Pines stage and set up the campsite.

The concert began at 5 p.m. and went past midnight. It was free to attend or camp, although registration was required in advance.

“It’s a very expensive event to put on,” Parker said. “Just even bringing the bands out here, you know, fly them out here, getting hotels, getting rental cars and stuff. All the equipment, everything, that is all funded by basically local band members in the Gustavus bands.”

He said they do accept donations and the goal would be to eventually break even. But right now, the band members just want to put a good show on for everyone and offer Alaska rock musicians the spotlight they’ve been asking for.

Over 500 rock lovers attended the second annual Burning Pines concert this year, with 200 recorded at the last event, according to Parker.

Concert-goers had the opportunity to camp out at Burning Pines in Gustavus. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Concert-goers had the opportunity to camp out at Burning Pines in Gustavus. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

This year’s Burning Pines was the first time the community of Gustavus announced and advertised it around Alaska. The bands hope in the future it can be a multi-day festival.

Parker said Burning Pines is in the style of an “old school rock concert where you’re up close and personal with the bands” and it offers a chance to explore Gustavus.

“It’s kind of like we’re watching the next generation — you know, that used to follow us around and listen to us play — is kind of forming their own bands and kind of doing their own thing now,” he said.

The lead singer of Cross Sound, who Parker grew up playing with, is Sean Patrick. He released a solo album last year. His son, Jacob Patrick, drums for a band formed last spring called the Copenhagen Cowboys. Their band came up with the idea to make Burning Pines, which was previously just word-of-mouth, an annual event and outreach to other Southeast musicians.

Lead singer of Cross Sound, Sean Patrick, performs at Burning Pines in Gustavus on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Lead singer of Cross Sound, Sean Patrick, performs at Burning Pines in Gustavus on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

The Copenhagen Cowboys opened the concert with an all-original set.

“We have some more up-tempo songs, we really bring the energy,” Patrick said. “Some of our songs are a little bit slower and people might be able to dance to them a little bit better.”

He said some nights when they practice, they come up with a new song “right then and there.” He said their guitarists, Jackson Ohlson and Aaron Patrick, can come up with a new riff on the spot. Also in their band is bassist Fisher Kelly. Patrick said they mostly find their inspiration from 1980s and 1990s rock music.

Jacob Patrick, drummer for Copenhagen Cowboys, performs at the second annual Burning Pines concert in Gustavus on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Jacob Patrick, drummer for Copenhagen Cowboys, performs at the second annual Burning Pines concert in Gustavus on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-based metalheads Bards of Mendenhell also performed during the Fourth of July weekend. Alex Kotlarsz, lead singer and bassist, said he was excited to have the opportunity to play out of town.

“The opportunity to play at this show, it was too good to pass up,” he said. “Tosh and everybody that’s organized this event were very accommodating and very helpful in regards to getting us up there to play a set. And so we can’t thank him enough.”

Bards of Mendenhell started about two years ago, and includes Juneau musicians Dylan Martin, Nick Story and Avery Stewart. Kotlarsz shared that his favorite part about the band is every member has a big part of writing their songs.

“It’s not just one person leading anything,” he said. “We all four are very committed and focused on making sure that this is something that all four of us are really stoked on — that all four of us are bringing ideas to the table.”

Alex Kotlarsz, lead singer and bassist for Bards of Mendenhell, performs at Burning Pines in Gustavus on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Alex Kotlarsz, lead singer and bassist for Bards of Mendenhell, performs at Burning Pines in Gustavus on Saturday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Juneau grunge-metal band Garden of Agony also performed at the Burning Pines concert.

Daizy Floyd, lead vocalist and David Friday, guitarist, said their band has been playing together since 2018. The last time they played out of town was in Georgia and Tennessee in 2022. Garden of Agony is moving from Juneau to Georgia, but Friday said they’d gladly come back to Gustavus for Burning Pines next year.

“It’s been a really great, wonderful experience playing,” he said. “The crowd responses are awesome.”

Floyd said their band has put on bar shows in Juneau, but they are moving down south to take their music to the next level.

“We’re gonna be nomads,” she said. “We’re gonna live in Georgia, but we’re gonna move to Tennessee. Just the East Coast area. It’s gonna be crazy.”

Caleb Friday is Garden of Agony’s drummer, and he said the energy Gustavus brought to Burning Pines left him speechless. The band draws its inspiration from garage rock, metal and 1990’s rock.

• Contact Jasz Garrett at jasz.garrett@juneauempire.com or (907) 723-9356.

Garden of Agony lead vocalist Daizy Floyd and guitarist David Friday rock out at Burning Pines on Saturday in Gustavus. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Garden of Agony lead vocalist Daizy Floyd and guitarist David Friday rock out at Burning Pines on Saturday in Gustavus. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

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