A Colorado Summer with Planet Bluegrass
Every summer, Planet Bluegrass hosts some of the most anticipated bluegrass festivals in the world. Both seasoned veterans and first-timers across the state and the globe flock to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, RockyGrass and Folks Fest every summer to enjoy a few days of community, camping, and of course, music. This month we talked to Brian Eyster, director of communications at Planet Bluegrass, about the unique flavor of each of these three big festivals.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival: June 21st – 24th
The Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 45th anniversary this summer. Held every year on the weekend closest to the summer solstice, Telluride is the first major Planet Bluegrass festival of the season, and it has a vibe all its own.
“The genre is really ‘Telluride bluegrass,’ explains Eyster. “It’s a bigger tent idea.”
This year, bluegrass icons Béla Fleck and The Sam Bush Band will be taking the stage alongside newer artists, including Tedeschi Trucks Band and Sturgill Simpson.
The isolation of Telluride combined with the estimated 10,000 people in attendance every day create an opportunity for people to form deep, lasting relationships with the community. New bands emerge from time spent backstage, and friendships between bluegrass enthusiasts keep people reuniting at the festival year after year.
RockyGrass: July 27th – 29th
In its 46th year, RockyGrass is held on the Planet Bluegrass property in Lyons. The festival was originally founded by Bill Monroe and the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society, and today has become one of the most renowned traditional bluegrass festivals in the world. An homage to old-timey bluegrass and mountain music, RockyGrass stands in contrast to many of today’s other festivals. This year Alison Brown, Missy Raines, Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, and Becky Buller, five of the world’s most award-winning female bluegrass musicians, will be performing together for the first time. The festival will close out on Sunday with a performance by Hot Rize as they celebrate their 40th anniversary as a band. One of the most special aspects of RockyGrass is that innovative musical collaborations aren’t limited to the lineup—after the stage goes dark for the day, bluegrass tunes float through the campground as festival attendees keep the music going into the night.
Folks Festival: August 17th – 19th
Planet Bluegrass finishes off its summer on a mellower note; Folks Festival includes a wide variety of genres and is more laid back than some of the other festivals, both in terms of music and the crowd. Lots of families come to Folks Festival every year, many for their first time. Also located on the Planet Bluegrass property in Lyons, the festival is relatively close for many Front Range dwellers, making it easy to drop by for a day.
The music at Folks Festival spans many genres and focuses more on international music than some of the other festivals. This summer, performing artists include Regina Spektor, Los Lobos, Jeff Tweedy, Indigo Girls, Tinariwen of northern Mali, and Les Poules À Colin of Quebec.
· Telluride Bluegrass Festival – Tickets available for Thursday, June 21st
· RockyGrass – Sold out
· Folks Festival – Tickets still available for all days!
· September 14th and 15th: Planet Bluegrass in collaboration with Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery in Boulder will be hosting a weekend of bluegrass and camping on the Lyons property to celebrate Mountain Sun’s 25th anniversary! Plenty of tickets still up for grabs. Lineup to be released soon.
“When you come to Planet Bluegrass, you enter a new planet in and of itself where people share these deep values of taking care of one another and taking care of the place they are sharing.”