2015 MoonGrass: Saturday, July 25

The Hillbenders
The HillBenders

When we heard about a bluegrass reimagining of the legendary rock opera Tommy by one of our favorite young bluegrass bands, we knew this was the perfect way to cap a RockyGrass Saturday night.

So before you make your way to the campgrounds for another epic night of pickin', we invite you into the Wildflower Pavilion for one last set of music (Saturday, July 25, 11pm - 12:30am), as The Hillbenders perform TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry in its entirety.

All RockyGrass Festivarians with a 3-day pass or Saturday ticket are welcome. We'll be clearing out all the seats from the Wildflower and continuing to sell New Belgium beer at the Wildflower bar. Please note: You must have a RockyGrass Saturday ticket or 3-day pass to attend; no additional tickets will be sold for this show.

Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry

“Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver ball.” It's maybe not your standard bluegrass lyric, but it's a line known by all the world from the biggest rock opera of all time, The Who’s Tommy. 45 years after its original release, this classic of classic rock has been reconceived as a full-length bluegrass tribute by Springfield, Missouri bluegrass quintet The HillBenders with all of the original record's energy, instrumental showmanship, and rock star vocals in tact.

Originally composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family. The original album has sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant value."

SXSW co-founder and longtime musician/producer Louis Jay Meyers had been looking for the right band to pull off this high-wire bluegrass approach for several decades until he finally met the 2009 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band contest winners (and 2012 RockyGrass veterans) The HillBenders.

TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry
TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry

The acoustic quintet of banjo, dobro, mandolin, bass, and guitar electrify with the same thrilling vision as The Who (who performed the original Tommy with a full rock band and orchestra). Writes Lonesome Road Review: "The HillBenders' re-telling of The Who's Tommy, shows that bluegrass music is not only capable of doing this sort of thing, but that it is uniquely suited for it."

With a mix of virtuoso musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders bring a new perspective to Tommy while paying total respect to its creators -- a feat recognized by new HillBenders fan Pete Townshend himself.