Del McCoury & Sam Bush at 2013 RockyGrass (photo Benko Photographics)
Del McCoury & Sam Bush at 2013 RockyGrass
(photo Benko Photographics)

Late every July the small mountain town of Lyons, Colorado becomes the center of the bluegrass universe as generations of legends and future-legends and Festivarians converge under the red rock cliffs of the St. Vrain River. Originally founded by Bill Monroe and members of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society, today's RockyGrass is known internationally as one of the great traditional bluegrass festivals. The 42nd Annual RockyGrass (July 25-27, 2014) represents the rebirth of Lyons, Colorado - held just 10 months after historic 500-year floods devastated the town in September 2013.

The Scene

Front Country at 2013 RockyGrass (photo Benko Photographics)
Front Country at 2013 RockyGrass
(photo Benko Photographics)

RockyGrass is held at the Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons, Colorado - located along the wooded banks of the beautiful St. Vrain River. The historic quarry town of Lyons is just 15 miles north of Boulder in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The town is known for its antique stores, restaurants, artists, and musicians.

Numerous camping options nearby include: on-site at the festival grounds, under the cliffs at Meadow Park (a quick five-minute walk from the festival), or at the Bohn Park Campground (a 10-minute walk or via the free shuttle buses).

St. Vrain River at RockyGrass (photo Benko Photographics)
St. Vrain River at RockyGrass
(photo Benko Photographics)

Non-musical activities in and around Lyons include single-track mountain biking at Hall Ranch, river sports in the Meadow Park whitewater course, touring through Rocky Mountain National Park (40 minutes up the hill from Lyons), and hiking in the nearby National Forest lands.

A Day at RockyGrass

A day at RockyGrass starts with a campground breakfast or a quick walk to downtown Lyons to relax at one of the fine coffee shops. Whether walking the campgrounds or Main Street in Lyons, live bluegrass music already fills the air. Soon the sound of bagpipes echoes off the canyon walls, signaling the opening of the festival grounds and the morning tarp rush.

RockyGrass at night (photo Benko Photographics)
RockyGrass at night
(photo Benko Photographics)

As the afternoon heats up, kids of all ages flock to the sandy beach behind the Wildflower Pavilion -- beach toys, inner tubes, and all. Meanwhile older folks make new friends with tarp dwellers close to the main stage or under the shady trees. Away from the stage, kids work on crafts in the family tent, while musicians form jam circles in the woods along the river or listen to an instrument contest or workshop in the Wildflower Tent.

All day the audience is treated to headliner after headliner on the main stage. And when the final headliner finishes their set on the main stage, the campgrounds come alive with jam sessions. A walk through the campground is a vital part of the RockyGrass experience -- hearing pickers of all ages and backgrounds sharing in the common language of bluegrass music.

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