At precisely 10:03pm on Friday night, festivarians on Planet Bluegrass will sound their barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world - not because the Planet will be at the midpoint of its elliptical orbit around the sun; not because day and night will be split evenly; not even because autumn will have officially begun.
No, as festivarians in Lyons collectively raise a glass, a fiddle bow, and a dance step during the Friday night Ceili, we will be celebrating the unique convergence of joy and reflection that is the Festival of the Mabon. It's a moment best shared in the company of fellow festivarians. No poser pit. No separation of campers into different campgrounds. For one weekend every September we strip all that away and celebrate the season's end and the season's begin. Together.
Mabon is our magical festival - with spirited music, lavish costumes, color in the sky, pumpkins on the ground, and a meeting of cultures. Fairies with wings dance to West African highlife music, while fiddlers jam in campground circles all day. And all night.
This year's main stage lineup on Saturday, September 23 starts in grand style with the 30-member West African Highlife Ensemble led by Kwase Ampene, one of the world's experts in the music of Ghana. We journey with France's Tornaod for a fantastical hybrid of Celtic and rock with a touch of 70's progressive rock. They'll be joined by singer and bazouki player Beth Patterson from New Orleans.
Traditional Celtic music takes center stage with Dublin-born accordionist Johnny B. Connolly and his band Bridgetown. Percussion then returns to the stage as the West African jam sounds of Toubab Krewe weave rhythmic patterns into a hypnotic groove of guitars and drums.
Canadian modern folkers The Duhks triumphantly return to the Planet Bluegrass stage after an energetic set at Folks Fest in 2004 and several years of intense buzz at festivals all over the country. We close the evening with Scottish acid-croft band Shooglenifty, led by the manic high-energy fiddling of highlander Angus Grant.
But the Festival of the Mabon is much more than just stellar music on the main stage. The Wildflower Tent is a hub of musical energy all day long with a variety of workshops, performances, and demonstrations ranging from "How to play the Irish Bodhran (drum)" to a "Mabon Magic" show for the whole family.
In Welsh mythology Mabon, the son of Modron, infamously rode wild horses. We're excited to have an authentic Irish Gypsy Wagon and Irish Cob Horse on site for this year's festival. The wagon is one of many special Mabon touches - including bagpipers on the cliffs, handcrafted artisans, and a sword fighting demonstration.
Join us for the last event of 2006 on the Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons, recently named the Best Small Outdoor Venue by Marquee Magazine - who described our historic 18-acre ranch along the St. Vrain River as "an amazing example of harmony between nature and humans."
The forecast is for classic fall weather all weekend, so grab some festivarian friends and head up to Lyons. We'll be selling $25 advance price festival tickets thru 8am MDT on Saturday, Sept 23. This price will increase to $30 at the gate, so order your tickets now at 800-624-2422 or online at bluegrass.com. What better way to introduce a friend to the world of festivarianism? And of course, we never charge any handling or service fees on any orders.
A limited amount of free parking will be available on-site, so plan on arriving early in the day. Or pack up your tent, a sweater, and a guitar and spend the whole weekend with us camping along the St. Vrain River behind the stage. The campground opens at 5pm on Friday and remains open til noon on Sunday. Camping is $10 per person and vehicles are just another $10 for the whole weekend.
If you missed out on a Folks Fest t-shirt - with all the Sunday night excitement of Ani DiFranco and Martin Sexton - they're up for sale at the Festivarian Mercantile at bluegrass.com now.
Finally, one of the most memorable new bands at last June's Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, will be returning to Colorado for several shows next week including Thursday, September 28 at the Fox Theatre in Boulder and a show in Aspen on Friday. If you can dance in your underpants, we'll see you there.
The Folks on Planet Bluegrass
Festival of the Mabon
This year's Festival of the Mabon is our most diverse, international lineup ever. Learn more about all of this year's Mabon performers at bluegrass.com. Don't stray too far from the stage - we have some great surprises for the 'tweener sets.
Main stage schedule
- 11:00am – Gates Open
- 11:30 - 12:45 – CU West African Highlife Ensemble
- 1:15 - 2:30 – Tornaod with special guest Beth Patterson
- 3:00 - 4:15 – Johnny B. Connolly & Bridgetown
- 4:45 - 6:00 – Toubab Krewe
- 6:30 - 7:45 – The Duhks
- 8:15 - 9:30 – Shooglenifty
Workshop schedule in the Wildflower Tent. All workshops are included in the price of admission.
- 12:45 – Accordion w/ Johnny B. Connolly
- 1:30 – Colorado Irish Pipe Band & Friends
- 2:15 – African Music w/ Kwasi Ampene and Toubab Krewe
- 3:15 – Mabon Magic w/ Stuart Hayner
- 4:15 – Bouzouki Workshop w/ Beth Patterson
- 5:15 – Bodhran Workshop w/ Stuart Hayner
Plan on joining us Friday night for the traditional Irish Ceili dance featuring Johnny B. Connolly and many special guests. The Ceili is free with a festival ticket or just $5 by itself.
Tickets for the one-day festival are only $25 in advance (they will increase to $30 at the gate) and a weekend of camping sprawled out along the St. Vrain is just another $10. Get yours now at 800-624-2422 or www.bluegrass.com.
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