If summertime is the only time you make it to a killer music festival, you must not be from Colorado. Us cold-blooded mountain people could care less about below freezing temperatures and blustering blizzards. Live music is the lifeblood of Colorado’s thriving entertainment industry and the people want it all year round. Maybe one year somebody would be brave enough to host a winter camping festival, but for now, we have a few awesome concepts that are making the dead of winter a time to party at desirable festival grounds and see our favorite bands throw down a hootenanny.
New Year’s Eve 2013 was going to be a special night for the Colorado jamband scene before any notes were even played. String Cheese Incident was about to tie a bow on their 20th anniversary as a Boulder band. Yonder Mountain String Band would soon cap off their 15th year as a Nederland quartet. And for a certain faction of music lovers, recreational marijuana would become legal to purchase at the stroke of midnight.
Last September a devastating “100 Year Flood” about fifty years overdue devastated parts of Colorado, in particular Boulder County. The historic town of Lyons, a beautiful gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park and precious wilderness was affected worse than most. The St. Vrain River and other waterways turned the town into a riverbed, destroying and displacing many homes and lives. One of the worst hits was the Planet Bluegrass Ranch. Festivarians celebrated their 41st Rockygrass Festival last summer a little over a month later the property was underwater.
Last weekend Louisville, Kentucky hosted the eleventh annual Forecastle Festival on the banks of the Ohio River. Over 75,000 fans, four stages, 65 musical acts and one festival evacuation made for an exciting weekend. With live music comes the element of surprise and it was plentiful this year. Unfortunate cancellations were made by acts Animal Collective, Dan Deacon, and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings due to illness and the threat of powerful thunderstorms shifted the schedules during two day of the event.
MerleFest, offering the feel of both music festival and family reunion, drew nearly 76,000 fans to North Wilkesboro, North Carolina during April 25-28, 2013. Beginning in 1988 as a tribute to the life of Merle Watson, this year’s event also served as a celebration of the lives of Merle’s parents, “Doc” and Rosa Lee, who passed away in 2012.
An unlikely collaboration between two roots music legends needed a proper introduction. Multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and vocalist Sam Bush is second only to John Hartford the most influential player in creating the style of newgrass music. A progressive take on bluegrass that fused elements of rock, psychedelia, and reggae was developed in the late 1960s and became incredibly influential on generations of successors to come.
It’s that time of year again when winter seems too long, spring can’t get here soon enough, and cabin fever has us counting down the days in anticipation of the one and only, Bonnaroo. Ninety-six hours of pure merriment and wonder under the summer sun in the middle of Tennessee surrounded by thousands of new and familiar friends enjoying the tunes, art, culture, and atmosphere. Sounds good right? Even though the wind is howling and the snow (in March?!) is blowing, I anxiously await yet another fun-filled weeken