If you haven't seen the memo (and weren't there to write your own) the TBA on the RockyGrass schedule was Yonder Mountain String Band. For 75 minutes on Sunday evening, YMSB devoured any Steve Martin rumors with a fierce set of bluegrass — even sharing in Hot Rize's festival-closing encores, uniting the two bands that have most defined "Colorado bluegrass" for the past few decades.
But that was last week; and in less than two weeks we convene our final gathering of festivarian nation. The river is slowing, the grass is greening, and songs and stories are beginning to fill the air over Lyons. Where RockyGrass was our chance to push tempos and match musical wits, the Folks Festival is our creative retreat - our chance to slow down with friends and family and share in a weekend of songs and summer.
The complete main stage schedule for our 19th Annual "Summit on the Song" (Aug 14-16) is now official. From the 10:30am opening bagpipes on Friday morning through Gillian Welch's Sunday night finale the Folks Festival plays like a novel. Each set is carefully placed (and paced) to tell its part of a longer, deeper story.
Brett Dennen and JJ Grey & Mofro will have us dancing. Susan Tedeschi and Madeleine Peyroux will toss in some jazzy blues. Peter Himmelman will make us laugh; Over the Rhine will make us cry; Don McLean will make us sing; Rufus Wainwright and M. Ward will ignite us with the power in a simple song. There will be unexpected collaborations and unfamiliar songs, tight arrangements and legendary classics. And so much more...
Each day is a curated mix of solo singer-songwriters and larger bands, mood pieces and stories. Each day takes on its own character - shaped by the weather (which will be perfect by the way), by the energy generated on stage, and by the festivarians. We will boogie and smile, sing-out and look inward. And over the course of this novel-length festival we will all grow - together as a community and individually as festivarians.
Single-day tickets and three-day passes are available now - reasonably priced and without any service charges (as always). For the complete Folks Fest experience plan to camp with us along the St. Vrain River - either on-site or at nearby Meadow Park. Kids 12 and under are free - and we're pretty confident they'll have even more fun than their parents.
Check out the complete schedule, then get your tickets at shop.bluegrass.com or 800-624-2422. Got a little extra room on your tarp? Bring along some friends for their first festivarian experience - you'll cement a lifelong friendship under the sandstone cliffs and cooling waters of the St. Vrain.
While we know better than to throw another TBA at you, the complete schedule of Folks Fest performances in the Wildflower Pavilion remains TBD. We're certain it will include performances, in-the-round songwriting circles, and even some workshops. Look for this Wildflower schedule announcement in our next Notes from the Planet, next week before the festival.
The sold-out 37th RockyGrass (July 24-26) will go down as one of the classics - tracing a festival arc from the opening vocal duets of Anne & Pete Sibley to the magical virtuosity of Väsen and Michael Cleveland to the epic sets from Sam Bush Band, Del McCoury Band, Earl Scruggs, Steve Earle, and even the late night set with that "interesting" band from Wyoming, MT. From high and lonesome to young and vibrant, every musical moment was classic RockyGrass.
If you were among the few thousand lucky RockyGrass festivarians, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts on this year's festival in our online survey. We look closely at your comments in shaping future festivals - every single comment from every single festivarian. As an added incentive, all survey entrants will be entered into a drawing for a pair of 3-day passes for the 2010 festival.
Congratulations to all the RockyGrass instrument contest winners. Band contest winners 49 Special will be joining us next year on the RockyGrass main stage. We're also excited to announce the winner of the 3rd Annual Campsite Challenge: Camp Zero-Hero will be receiving on-site camping passes for the 2010 festival (July 23-25, 2010).
If you missed out, check out a few festival reviews (Festival Preview, Denver Post, Daily Camera). Or join the discussion in our Festivarian Forum or on Facebook.
In the coming weeks we'll be starting to share some of our RockyGrass video footage. Check out our 2-minute vignette of the opening day of the RockyGrass Academy.
For the third consecutive year we'll be celebrating the autumnal equinox with two of our favorite musicians (from one of our favorite bands) Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufmann on Saturday, September 19. This enchanting Mabon celebration in the Wildflower Pavilion in Lyons will feature a deep look into the Yonder catalog along with special guest Elmo Otto. Tickets are available now and Saturday night camping will be available in the next few weeks.
Then on November 7, another of our favorite acoustic duos - David Grier and Mike Compton - comes to the Wildflower. These two Grammy and IBMA award-winning musicians are long-time veterans of Telluride Bluegrass and RockyGrass, and two of the definitive modern stylists of the guitar and mandolin. Tickets for both these shows are available at shop.bluegrass.com or 800-624-2422.
We're continuing to confirm more shows for the fall. For the latest Wildflower info, subscribe to our "Words from the Wildflower" email and watch our Facebook page.
Begin your Folks Fest pilgrimage a week early by joining the inimitable Greg Brown at the Boulder Theater this Thursday, August 6. Our friends at the Boulder Theater are giving away several pairs of tickets to this show to festivarians — just email email@example.com with the subject-line of "Greg Brown festivarian giveaway" for your chance to win.
Finally, for the most absolute up-to-the-minute info during the festivals follow us on Twitter. During RockyGrass we shared contest results as they were announced, along with photos from backstage, the river, and the tarps. Next week we'll be keeping you posted from The Song School and Folks Fest. But, of course, 140 characters is no substitute for the real festival experience. We hope you're able to join us next weekend as we finish our 2009 season with one more unforgettable festival.
The Folks on Planet Bluegrass