Before Arise, before Vertex, before any of these new and big and awesome music festivals that have made Colorado their home, there was YarmonyGrass. Founding Father Andrew McConathy of the Drunken Hearts celebrated the festival’s ten year anniversary last year, and this year we are celebrating a new decade for this beloved weekend in the Colorado summer repertoire.
Though the festival’s setting has transitioned over the past couple of years from State Bridge to just up the road at Rancho Del Rio, the heart and soul of YarmonyGrass has remained intact. This festival is bluegrass to its core, boasting a lineup of string and bluegrass bands, jamming themselves silly with their greatest local fans and fellow musicians alike.
Being fully and completely bluegrass isn’t the only characteristic that so well defines this festival. The list of bands and musicians are majority Colorado natives, festival-goers are almost entirely local to the Rocky Mountains or the Front Range, and the festival’s venue sits adjacent to the Colorado River, where one past year musicians actually performed while floating, much to the pleasure of their fellow rafters. YarmonyGrass is ultimately Coloradan.
Each new year at YarmonyGrass is different but pleasantly dependable. Surprises come in the shape and form of having no cell-phone service and finding a long-lost friend alongside your raft on the beautiful waters of the Colorado. Or of terrific collaborations of musicians coming together like 2014’s sets with half of Railroad Earth, bassist Johnny Grubb, Allie Kral on the fiddle, Jeff Austin on the mandolin, String Cheese Incident’s Keith Moseley and Billy Nershi, and too many more that made that particular YarmonyGrass one for the books.
This year Jeff Austin returns with his band to a festival whose stage he has graced many times before. Roosevelt Collier’s Colorado Get Down will bring the funky vibes to the festival stage, which will be an agreeable change to the majority genre. Of course, McConathy and the Drunken Hearts will be in tow, as they’ve been every year, to give us more of that soul-grass we’ve come to love and define as Colorado’s very own.
Colorado’s close companion, Montana, will send their own Kitchen Dwellers back to their friends in the Rockies, Lake Tahoe’s Dead Winter Carpenters will make yet another trip to a fanbase that adores them, and local favorites Coral Creek, Hog Magundy and others will be well in attendance to represent their home state. The full line-up, schedule and tickets can be found here.
And the best part of it all? Yarmony Grass has a consistent theme. So, turn off the cell phone, grab your water waders, and get ready for a swashbucklin’ good time of bluegrass and blue skies at this year’s annual YARRR-MonyGrass!