LYONS — After on-and-off clouds and drizzles all day, the afternoon sun blasted from nowhereilluminating the entire 20-acre festival grounds to the bank of the North Saint Vrain River. The cliff throughout the river glowed red, the moisture made sun and the air cool warmed some 4,000 confronts as people put away rain coats and smiled at the main stage.
An Asheville, N.C.-based folk band, River Whyless, was doing its thing. Some danced and listened, some people sat others just wandered through the scene.
This was Day 3 of the 28th Annual Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, a.k.a. the “Summit of this Song,” held Annually at the Planet Bluegrass site in Lyons. People Fest is considered to be the mellower little sibling of the more famous and faster-pickin’ RockyGrass and Telluride Bluegrass.
Headliners at this season ’s Folks Fest included Los Lobos, Las Cafeteras, Jeff Tweedy, the Martin Sexton Trio and the primary action, the Indigo Girls, whose Aug. 18 group was interrupted by an exciting and surprising thunderstorm. (In fact, by the afternoon on Aug. 19, everyone had a story to tell about where they had been once the nighttime sky opened up shortly after “Get Out the Map. ” I, for one, was boarding the “Galloping Goose” parking shuttle along with my 2 younger brothers when the very first sheets of water melts, while my wife and eldest daughter were dancing in the front row and took refuge under the stage.)
This frequent experience that the crowd had, this common hardship using the Colorado weather, even tightened the bond we’ve felt across the audio. In addition, in the already-friendly crowd, my spouse and I kept running into people we knew from a different part of our lives — people I’d worked with 22 years back, students from my Spanish classes, old customers of my spouse ’so. These unplanned encounters with old friends added an excess layer to our concert experience.
The light was colored, people sat and sprawled on their tarps, and kids conducted (and splashed) in each direction, especially across the beach area and family crafts tent. That’s in which I ran into Steve Szymanski, Planet Bluegrass vice president and also co-founder. I asked him to allow all kids younger than 12.
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“That was aware,” he also explained, and it spoke to the kind of crowd they wanted to draw. “The songs brings us together, but you have to know people, and our neighborhood stinks — it’s a family reunion vibe. ”
I stated that’therefore exactly what it felt like, seeing so many friends, old and new, bathe in light, rain and songs.
Both of Planet Bluegrass’ places — in Telluride, that demands a pilgrimage throughout the state, also now here in Lyons, in which this red-rock bend in the river, while only 45 miles away from Denver, feels considerably further away — appeared like an important part of the equation as well. Szymanski nodded.
“When you arrive,&rdquo “you stop and say to your self, ‘I’m somewhere special. ’ You truly really feel as if you’re out in nature. ”
Really, I needed to work but in that instant, on distant Planet Bluegrass, Penny & Sparrow, another action, was still taking the stage. I waited to finish playing in the river, then we went back to our blanket from the cottonwood trees. We had hours and yet another sunset of audio.
If you go
There continue to be displays left this year — especially, the Mountain Sun 25th Anniversary Weekend, a.k.a. Colorado Kind Festival, on Sept. 14-15, featuring music from The String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Motet and many others.
There is also the 11th Annual Mabon Celebration on Sept. 22, using Celtic music in the Wildflower Pavilion (the smaller, semi-indoor place ) to observe the final day of summer and Autumnal Equinox. Proceed into bluegrass.com to find out more or buy tickets. Tickets for 2019 events go on sale in November.