The new and improved WinterWonderGrass kicks off in Steamboat in less than three weeks, and we know you’re not entirely sure what to expect. In a new town and at a new venue, the five-year-old festival is going through some great changes, and we are here to help guide you through what’s bound to be one of the best Coloradan festivals of 2017. Who to see and what to do – we’ve got the WinterWonderGrass 411 that will guarantee your festival is a huge success. Cheers!
Must-See Bluegrass Legend: Sam Bush Band
When: Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Main Stage
The Lowdown: Sam Bush is an icon of the bluegrass genre, nicknamed both the King of Newgrass and the King of Telluride, the home of the renowned Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Bush has won a number of awards and has been honored by numerous music associations, and we’re blessed to have him gracing the WinterWonderGrass stage. Considering the rest of this year’s performers look up to Bush as a role model, it’s imperative that you catch his one and only set of the weekend.
Must-See Headliner: Railroad Earth
When: Sunday at 7:45 p.m.
Where: Main Stage
The Lowdown: Although they headlined the inaugural Tahoe-version of WinterWonderGrass, this will be these Jersey boys’ debut at the Colorado-based festival. Falling more into the folk/americana genre than the bluegrass genre separates Railroad Earth from the majority of this year’s lineup, which is just one reason why they’re not to be missed. Between Todd Sheaffer’s entrancing vocals, Andrew Altman’s heavy bass lines and the one-man brass section that is Andy Goessling, Railroad Earth is the headliner of all WinterWonderGrass headliners.
Must-See Out-Of-Towner: California Honeydrops
When: Sunday at 4 p.m.
Where: Main Stage
The Lowdown: Since there’s not enough time to rave about every single out-of-town band headed to the festival, we narrowed the list down to one of our favorites – the California Honeydrops. Coming out from Oakland, California, the Honeydrops are for the festival attendees who like to dance. The soulful, funky jazz music that the Honeydrops create will no doubt bring the heat to otherwise mountain-cool evenings.
Must-See Local Act: Gipsy Moon
When: Friday at 6 and 7:45 p.m.
Where: Soap Box
The Lowdown: From just up the canyon in the quaint town of Nederland, the native Gipsy Moon is the spawn of mountain-town charm, the local live music scene and a little bit of bluegrass in the DNA. To sum it up, Gipsy Moon is the up-and-comer you want to see this festival. This bluegrass/folk band has made some big waves within the Colorado music scene, and they’re slowly making themselves known outside of our home state. Co-founded by Silas Herman, (son of Leftover Salmon’s Vince Herman), Gipsy Moon’s enchanting set will be a WinterWonderGrass highlight.
What You’ll Probably Miss: Leftover Salmon’s Mountaintop Dinner
When: Thursday at 5 p.m.
Where: 9,131 feet
The Lowdown: With a limited capacity of 150 attendees, folks with an extra $149 to spend the Thursday before the festival officially starts will have the experience of a lifetime. Those lucky enough to have tickets will ride the gondola to 9,131 feet, where Leftover Salmon will perform a curated cocktail-hour set. Following drinks, appetizers and complimentary beer tastings, a three-course dinner will be served. And for dessert, a second unplugged set from Herman and his crew of Salmon-ites.
Must-See Honorary Mention: Kitchen Dwellers
When: Sunday at 3:30 and 5:15 p.m.
Where: Pickin’ Perch
Montanans value bluegrass as much as Coloradans, and one of the best and brightest that the Treasure State has to offer is the Kitchen Dwellers. These Bozeman boys come through town rather frequently, and have made quite a name for themselves within our live music scene. Mandolinist Shawn Swain is originally from Telluride, so it’s only natural that the Dwellers have made Colorado a second home. Lead singer Torrin Daniels’ husky vocals add a unique sound to the band, and together, this foursome throws some epic pickin’ parties.