If you were one of the many “Ned-heads” that showed up to the Frozen Dead Guy Days festival on Friday night, you would have been greeted with a primal scream from Queen Sluti, lead vocalist of Nederland’s own hip-hop outfit, Powerlung Rangers: “May you all have a lot of good sex and smoke a lot of good weed!”
The Frozen Dead Guy Days festival, which started 3 p.m. Friday and continues on through Sunday night, is a hodge podge of death-themed athletic events, funky music, tasty food trucks and microbrews.
Amanda MacDonald, this year’s event coordinator, called the festival a “winter Mardi Gras.”
“It’s just a bunch of people being goofy in the middle of winter and bracing [against] the cold, turning that cold, dark time into something fun,” MacDonald said. ”It’s a celebration of life.”
The story behind Frozen Dead Guy Days is an odd one. The Frozen Dead Guy, Bredo Morstoel, affectionately known to Nederlanders as “Grandpa,” died in Norway in the late 1980s. His body was packed in dry ice and moved to California by his daughter and grandson. After four years in a California cryonic facility, he was moved again to Nederland, Colorado. Trygve Bauge, the grandson, was deported in 1994 due to an expired visa. His mother, Aud Morstel, was evicted soon after. It was only once Morstel wondered aloud to a reporter “what would happen to the bodies” that Grandpa was discovered. His body still rests in Nederland to this day.
Though the festival might be frozen, it’s a lot livelier than Grandpa. With events ranging from the Coffin Races to the Frozen Salmon Toss, there is no downtime to be found at Frozen Dead Guy Days.
The music schedule is stacked from 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. in two main tents, with more other various acts playing many local bars and restaurants. If Friday night was any indicator of the festival’s dedication to good music, then the rest of the festival will have something for everyone.
Following the “dirty sexy / x-rated” hip-hop stylings of Powerlung Rangers came Rocktin Grove, a massive seven-piece band self-described as “funkabilly new-grass.”
“We love Nederland,” said saxophonist Garrett Cropsey. “Frozen Dead Guy Days is a great festival. It has a lot of local prominence.”
Mandolinist Jon Kimbell agreed. “[Nederland] has the ability to carry bands. Their fans in Ned are so devout.”
Frozen Dead Guy Days does draw many repeat visitors. Stephanie Reaves of Texas said she just had to come back after last year.
“When we came last year, we had the time of our lives,” she said. “It was so much fun. We stayed the whole weekend, just did everything nonstop. The Coffin Races were my favorite—and the Polar Plunge was amazing, but kind of disturbing. We’re actually competing in the Coffin Races this year!”
Amanda MacDonald agreed that the Polar Plunge and the Coffin Races were the two favorite events for festival-goers and added that the Frozen T-Shirt Contest was another must-see.
“The Frozen T-Shirt Contest is the funniest event to watch,” MacDonald said. “It’s actually kind of gory…people sometimes get bloody trying to rip off the shirts.”
Frozen Dead Guy Days kicked off Friday at 3 p.m. and goes on into Sunday evening. All events and music are free to watch, but food, beer and souvenirs cost extra. More information on the events schedule can be found here.
Contact CU Independent Senior Staff Writer Sarah Elsea at Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Frozen dead guy gives reason to party
- Get outta town!: Nederland
- Abusing your RTD bus pass: Nederland
- Blaze near Nederland under control
- Hungry Buff: Ripple frozen yogurt