Colorado Music Festivals 2018: Your Official Guide To Fest Season

Festival season is the biggest time of the year for the music world. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are:

May Play Music Festival May 11th

Downtown Greeley is hosting their fourth annual May Play fest with artists like The Burroughs, Brent Cowles, Slow Caves, Silver & Gold, and Post Paradise on the bill. There are a ton of other great local artists to check out, so swoop details and tickets here.

Spread The Word Music Festival May 11th-13th

Taking place at Denver’s Fox Street Compound, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Jeff Austin Band (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band), Everyone Orchestra (conducted by Matt Butler), A-Mac & The Height, and Bass Physics. Full lineup here.

303 Music Festival May 17th

Hosted by Ru Johnson at Denver's The Church, 303 Magazine is bringing you one awesome night of local music. Trev Rich, CITRA, Eldren, and The Other Black are just some of the bands on the lineup. Full details and tickets here

Five Points Jazz Festival May 19th

This FREE annual festival is back this year in Denver's Five Points neighborhood and will feature artists like Jakarta, The King Stan Band, Impulse, The Hendersons, Patrick McDevitt Nation, and more. You can bounce between venues or just walk around and take in all the good sounds. Full lineup and details here.

Mountain Games June 7th-10th

GoPro is putting on a festival in Vail with headliners like Chris Robinson Brotherhood, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Bonfire Dub, and The Wood Brothers. The weekend will also feature a slew of athletic events, including competitions for your dog, a silent disco, and art exhibits. You can grab tickets to Mountain Games here.

Greeley Blues Jam June 8th-9th

The Greeley Blues Jam keeps the blues scene alive and this year, their lineup includes The Devon Allman Project, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and Danielle Nicole. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.

Taste of Fort Collins June 8th-10th

The 22nd annual Taste of Fort Collins headliners include William Michael Morgan, Eddie Money, Everlast, and Judah & the Lion. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Grab more info on their website.

Country Jam June 14th-17th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 27th annual four-day fest this year. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, and Big & Rich top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music. More info at this link.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 14th-17th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares On Wax, Liquid Stranger, EOTO and a huge array of other beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 45th year this summer! Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, and Leftover Salmon top the fest’s 2018 list. We can tell you from past experience that this fest is magical and we’ve even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.

Cover Rock Festival June 22nd-23rd

Looking for tunes from tribute bands? This festival is all about it. Hosted in Avon, Cover Rock Festival will feature tributes to artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, the late Tom Petty (RIP!!), and others. More info and tickets here.

Westword Music Showcase June 23rd

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host their annual summer celebration this year. With Galantis, Bonobo, The Front Bottoms, Joywave, and a ton of local artists, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. More info and tickets on their website.

Van’s Warped Tour July 1st

Warped Tour recently announced that 2018 will be the last year for the traveling festival. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), we’re still sad to see it go. Give these bands a proper send-off- locals 30H!3 are top-billed with acts like All Time Low, Asking Alexandria, and more. Tickets here.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Old Time Music Association (CROMA) July 11th-15th

CROMA's annual Parrish Ranch festival features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. The festival manages to keep old traditions alive while also bringing a modern twist to some elements. Artists at this year's fest will include Bryant and Brown, The Onlies, Betse & Clarke, The Barn Owls, Patt and Possum, Caroline Oakley, Chris Kemiet, and Larry Edelman. Get full details and tickets here.

The Ride Festival July 14th-15th

The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, and Grace Potter will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something, and others will keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.

Global Dance Festival July 20th-21st

If you’re ready to dance, Global’s got a crazy mix of electronic and hip-hop artists like Deadmau5, Gucci Mane, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly topping their list. The event is at Sports Authority Field this year and you can snag tickets here.

The Underground Music Showcase July 27th-29th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. In news this year, Two Parts has taken over the event. This year's lineup is stellar with headliners like Alvvays, BJ the Chicago Kid, Classixx, Deerhunter, Digable Planets and over 100 local artists who we absolutely adore. Tickets and full details here

Rockygrass Festival July 27th-29th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Last year, the festival showed us the changing face of the genre. This year, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, David Grisman and Peter Rowan, and Hot Rize are already confirmed for this pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More info and tickets at this link.

ARISE Music Festival August 3rd-5th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its sixth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Slightly Stoopid, Thievery Corporation, and Trevor Hall. Get more details here.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 10th-12th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. Bohemian Nights headliners this year include The Motet, Blondie, and The Decemberists. The festival also hosts a number of local bands on their stages- get the full schedule and details for the weekend here.

Local Jam Grand Junction August 10th-12th

Known for its "creativity, passion, dedication, style,  [and] massive talent," Grand Junction's three-day festival Local Jam is a celebration of Western Slope bands ranging from metal to bluegrass. Stray Grass, Jack + Jill, Suckafish, Tim + Richard, and others have been announced for the year. Full details and lineup here.

Mountain Town Music Festival August 17th-18th

Back for its fifth year, Keystone’s Mountain Town Music Festival features a mix of rock and grass bands like Ages & Ages, Mipso, Strange Americans, and Shovels & Rope. The fest is a celebration of “all things Colorado” so you can expect some good brews along with the shows. More info and tickets here.

Velorama Colorado August 17th-19th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Velorama is returning to Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood for its second year this summer. Cold War Kids, Matt & Kim, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and The Kills are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party. Plus local acts Brent Cowles, Wildermiss, and Slow Caves are on the bill! More about this new fest here.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 17th-19th

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival showcased artists who brought current politics into their tunes last year, bringing people together in solidarity. Along with its songwriting workshops, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that managed to showcase great national acts too. Indigo Girls, Jeff Tweedy, and Los Lobos have been announced for this year’s fest. Tickets here.

Compound Sound Festival August 24th-26th

Boogie Groove Entertainment is producing this year's first annual Compound Sound. What started as friends performing at a private ranch in 2009 has officially launched into a major music festival. Along with headliners like Cycles, Lucid Vision, Tnertle, and Spectacle, the fest will also have food trucks and vendors, yoga and flow workshops, a healing village and "many more shenanigans." Details and tickets here

Four Corners Folk Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Pagosa Springs 23rd annual Four Corners Folks Fest is ready for a campout with bands like Nahko And Medicine For The People, Amy Helm, We Banjo 3, and Jon Stickley Trio. The weekend will also feature jam camps for kids and adults, and lots of tasty local vendors. See more for yourself and grab camping info and tickets here.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass August 31st-September 2nd

Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz and the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, and The Record Company are the big acts at Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day event this year. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature Lizz Wright, Leslie Odom Jr., Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise Crusade, and Georgia On My Mind: A Tribute To Ray Charles. Details on both events here.

Seven Peaks Music Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Dierks Bentley is throwing a three-day music festival in Chaffee County this year with headliners like Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Elle King, Lanco, Del McCoury, Sam Bush and The Cadillac Three. The new fest is a real treat for country lovers and the scenery of Buena Vista sure won't hurt! Get details and tickets here.

Denver Jazz Festival September 14th-16th

With a mix of local and international jazz acts, Denver Jazz Festival promises over 600 dancers and listeners for their three-day fest. Hal Smith's Swing Central, Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, Red Hot Rhythm Rocket, and many others are on the lineup. Check out news and get tickets here.

Grandoozy September 14th-16th

Superfly, the geniuses behind Bonnaroo, are bringing Grandoozy to Denver this year! In what could possibly be the biggest festival production the state has seen, headliners have already been announced and include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Sturgill Simpson, Miguel, and St. Vincent have also made the list; Denver-based acts Tennis, Dragondeer, Gasoline Lollipops, and Flaural will perform as well. This fest is our most highly anticipated of 2018 so don’t snoozy- Tier 1 tickets are already sold-out so grab your passes here.

Telluride Blues & Brews September 14th-16th

As regular festivalgoers of Blues & Brews say, “It's not the altitude that'll take your breath away. It's the views.” That, and of course, the music. This year, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Govt Mule, Booker T’s Stax Revue, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Anders Osborne will headline. Early bird tickets are already sold-out, so grab passes while you can here.

Festivals of The Past

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Project Pabst dissipated into the PBR-fueled mountain air with no Denver announcement this year (but Superfly who put it on is the force behind Grandoozy). Bass Center is now in Virginia after the fest was first moved from Colorado to New Jersey last year; Divide Music Festival, who were rumored to return this year, has now been postponed until 2019 stating, “greater forces are working against us;” Groove Festival’s web presence is still replaced by this Japanese site making us still question everything; Mad Decent Block Party appears to have officially gone off the radar; Riot Fest has again only listed its Chicago date in 2018 after the fest cancelled its Denver show last year; and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) appears to be a distant dream after it was cancelled in 2017.

Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all summer on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Neck Deep & Other UK Bands Are Currently On One Epic Pop-Punk Tour

By: Nathan Sheppard

This past Friday, Neck Deep rocked the Ogden Theatre with an electric performance that was one to remember. The night also featured Speak Low If You Speak Love, Creeper, and Seaway, giving the entire night all of the elements of an epic pop-punk show.

Seaway.

Seaway.

Speak Low opened the evening and did not disappoint for those who came early. The alternative band blended together just the right amount of power chords and acoustic guitar for a stellar opening set. Fellow UK band Creeper was next up and had their “Creeper Cult” singing and dancing to every song along the way. Creeper delivered their signature goth punk style while warming up the audience for a night of crowdsurfing and circle pits. Seaway (a.k.a SeaBoiz) was next and hyped the crowd for Neck Deep.

After creating a following with their album Life’s Not Out To Get You, Neck Deep released their third album, The Peace and the Panic! last year. From the very first note of “Happy Judgement Day,” the crowd went wild and immediately started a theatre-wide sing-a-long. The crowd erupted into screams and cheers for each song, but especially fan favorites like “Kali Ma” and “December.” Neck Deep slowed it down a bit in the middle of their set with a couple of acoustic songs so that everyone could catch their breath, and singer Ben Barlow talked about losing his father and why music is therapy. The band ended the show with the banger “Where Do We Go When We Go.”

Neck Deep.

Neck Deep.

If you haven't had the chance to see Neck Deep live, check out the remaining dates of the tour and their newest album The Peace and the Panic! here.   

-Nathan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Guerrilla Fanfare Bring The Brass And Beats For Fat Tuesday Week Shows

By: Will Baumgartner

Who doesn’t love a big-ass, funky brass band? Probably mostly people who’ve never seen or heard one. The best of them—like Dirty Dozen, Rebirth, and March Fourth—bring such a ridiculously irresistible amount of joyful danceable noise that it’s hard to imagine anyone experiencing it and remaining unmoved. Well, I’ve seen Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band several times, and they definitely bring it. If you aren’t dancing, grinning, and whooping it up a bit at one of their shows, you might wanna check your pulse.  

In the tradition of the bands mentioned above, Guerrilla Fanfare also bring a catchy kind of fun to the stage, with audience participation and just general energy and goofiness. Lay that over a bedrock of high-stepping, New Orleans-inspired funk rhythms topped with honking and wailing horns, and you’ve got a celebratory dance party, coming to a venue near you over the next week during Fat Tuesday celebrations.

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The band— Zach Brake (sousaphone), Jesse Mathews (trumpet), Steve Nelson (alto sax, emcee), Adam White (drums), Billy Rivera (trumpet), Taylor Friesth (drums), Ethan Harris (trombone), Masaki Kleinkopf (trombone), Harry Forlenza-Bailey (trombone), and Julian Stevens (tenor sax)— has only been around for about two and a half years, and have already established themselves as a vital force in the Front Range music scene. The lineup, anchored by two fiercely funky drummers and the traditional sousaphone holding down the bass lines, is also full of some of the best horn players around. They manage to employ solid songwriting and embrace the wisdom of getting the audience involved in the show at every performance.

The result of all this hard work was a busy and promising 2017, in which amongst numerous other local shows, they played at the Arise Festival, Upslope Getdown, and Five Points Jazz Fest, opened for March Fourth at Fort Collins’ Aggie Theatre and Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, and most recently played with Tenth Mountain Division at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. In addition to these local shows, they also played at Honk TX and Honk Fest West in Austin and Seattle, crazy street band festivals geared toward exactly the type of fun brought by Guerrilla Fanfare. They’re shaping up big plans for 2018, including the Spread the Word Music Festival in May and another appearance at Arise in August. Thirsty ears can also look forward to a probable new album sometime this year, and the band plans to continue to spread the joy into other areas of the country as well with a tour.   

Local lovers of live music don’t have to wait anywhere near that long to revel in the party these guys bring, though. In fact, you have four chances to see and hear the band in the next week. Guerrilla Fanfare play Gravity Brewing in Louisville on Saturday February 10th; Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont on Fat Tuesday itself (February 13th); the Bohemian Biergarten in Boulder, Friday February 16th; and Denver Mardi Gras at EXDO Events Center in Denver on Saturday February 17th.

Keep up with Guerilla Fanfare and the fun here.

-Will

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.   

Recapping RockyGrass: The Changing Face of Bluegrass

By: Riley Ann

Festivarians flocked to the 45th annual RockyGrass Festival this past weekend at Planet Bluegrass, and it celebrated the evolution of bluegrass in all of its facets. In the era of the folk renaissance in America, the first RockyGrass was held in 1973 and featured first-generation bluegrassers like Bill Monroe (the “father of bluegrass”) and Lester Flatt in addition to acts like Country Gazette that were part of the budding newgrass movement. A lot has changed since 1973, when 3-day tickets were only $12 and Bill Monroe himself was involved in starting the first RockyGrass (more about the history here). And yet, in the spirit of blending first-generation traditional bluegrass alongside newgrass of the time, this year’s RockyGrass held true to their own tradition.

Sam Bush.

Sam Bush.

What is notable at this year’s festival was the striking number of young faces on stage. In fact, eldest of all the instrument contest winners is only 21 years old. And yet Sam Bush was only 21 when he took the stage with The Bluegrass Alliance for the very first RockyGrass in 1973, which is evidence of young blood continually being drawn into the scene and sustaining the tradition through the decades.

Odessa Settles.

Odessa Settles.

What is notably different about more recent Rockygrasses, especially this year’s, is the growing representation of women on stage. Friday’s lineup included Colorado native Bevin Foley of Trout Steak Revival, Laurie Lewis with her band including renowned fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves along with special guest and Colorado native Courtney Hartman of Della Mae. Saturday featured powerhouse band leaders Melody Walker (winner the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Vocalist Momentum Award) with her band Front Country (nominated by IBMA as 2017’s Emerging Artist of the Year award) and followed by Becky Buller (nominated by IBMA at 2017’s Fiddler of the Year and by The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America as 2017’s Songwriter of the Year award) as well as Odessa Settles performing with Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer. Sunday featured clawhammer banjoist Allison de Groot alongside Bruce Molsky in the Molsky Mountain Drifters as well as the all-female band and 2016 nominee for the IBMA Emerging Artist award Sister Sadie. Aside from the main stage, Denver-based Ginny Mules left the crowd roaring in a standing ovation during the band contest at the Wildflower Pavilion, and they won third place in the finals.

Tatiana Hargreaves with Laurie Lewis.

Tatiana Hargreaves with Laurie Lewis.

Although female representation is far from being equal, the bluegrass scene has come a long way despite its sexist reputation, like Alison Kraus being angrily told, “Girls can’t play bluegrass,” as she disclosed in the documentary High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music, one among countless other similar anecdotes of female bluegrass musicians in the book Pretty Good for a Girl.

Del McCoury.

Del McCoury.

While so many new faces are entering the scene, some have become iconic staples, and the return of Del McCoury, Sam Bush, and Peter Rowan along with newgrass favorites like The Infamous Stringdusters rounded out the festival to mix in the old with the new, giving something in the realm of bluegrass for everyone to enjoy.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

Although this year’s RockyGrass has passed, you can still get your festival on for Folks Fest, which is happening in just a couple weeks from August 18th-20th. This year’s lineup includes Gregory Alan Isakov, Lake Street Dive, The Revivalists, Rhiannon Giddens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops), The Wailin’ Jennys, Josh Ritter, Elephant Revival, Dave Rawlings Machine, and more. You can still get single-day and three-day tickets here.

View our full photo gallery from RockyGrass 2017 here.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Denver's Newest Outdoor Music Venue: Details On Levitt Pavilion & Our Chat With Andy Thomas

By: Sierra Voss

Denver’s new outdoor amphitheater Levitt Pavilion opened its gates last Thursday night in Ruby Hill Park. The venue was born out of the creation of The Friends of Levitt Pavilion Denver (FLPD), which is an a 501c(3) non-profit, and their primary mission is to build community through music. Levitt Pavilion will be hosting over 50 free concerts per year, as well as select ticketed events. Last Thursday’s opening night was filled with a ribbon cutting, speeches, and for the first time: music. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams and Andy Thomas’ Dust Heart took the stage and filled the grounds with tunes. Free shows are already booked through September for Levitt’s 2017 schedule, alongside some ticketed events including 311, Josh Abbott Band, and Cody Johnson.

Levitt Pavilion’s Community Outreach Director, Andy Thomas chatted with BolderBeat recently, and gave us some amazing insight on how Levitt Pavilion came to be and what we can expect from this venue throughout the summer, and for years to come. Read on:

How does Denver’s Levitt Pavilion compare to the other Levitt venues across the country?

The Levitt Foundation helps get all the venues started, but each cities’ venue operate as a separate non-profit. We all book free music; we all book family accessible music with diverse genres. We all try to make sure there is a low socioeconomic barrier for people trying to find and connect with local arts and music. We [Denver] are different in the way that we have a new venue- some of the older Levitts are refurbished bandshells and buildings. We are really lucky in that Denver’s venue is a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. We have a lot of advantages in creating our pavilion based on knowing how people want to experience music and how bands want to play music.

How do you think Levitt Pavilion Denver compares to the other outdoor venues in Colorado like Red Rocks, Fiddlers Green, or Botanic Gardens?

Every venue has its specialty. However, we are more centrally located and a mostly free outdoor concert experience. There is a bike trail and a lot of people in the neighborhood that can walk here. We hope we help offer a experience that may be a little easier of a commute, where people don’t necessarily have to make a day out of it.   

Will the venue always be open seating?

We will bring in chairs for certain shows that may include an older audience demographic.

Do you have a ratio of how many local artists you will be booking versus national acts each year?

I don’t know about the ratio, but we do have local openers on every show, as well as a Colorado Music Series that features Colorado-based artists exclusively. So maybe a little over 50%.

How do you feel Levitt Pavilion will hold up in terms of being competitive enough to book alongside other local promoters/venues in town?

We are not trying to directly compete with anyone. If people want to do that with us, that's understandable because we are a new entity and were booking quality bands that other people would want to book. We have no interest in getting in a shooting match with anybody. We are a nonprofit at its core, and we have a very specific mission, and that's bringing community to music. That mission can’t succeed if we are distracted by what competitors are doing. We have a great relationship with a lot of independent promoters in town. We truly want to make sure we can bring the best artists we can to the venue.

Top three things that concertgoers should bring to a Levitt show?

  1. BYOB (Bring your own blanket)

  2. Open attitude (For artists you may have not heard of before)

  3. Snacks (All of the snacks. Check our website for guidelines of what you can bring onto the grounds)

We can’t wait to check out more shows at Levitt Pavilion this summer- make sure to get yourself to a set after you peep their full schedule here. Keep up with Levitt’s happenings on Facebook.

-Sierra

All photos per Joel Rekiel with BLDGBLKS Music Company. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Old Traditions in New Times: CROMA Festival Echoes History

By: Riley Ann

In the heat of summer, hundreds of people from the East and West Coasts and beyond gathered in the hills outside Berthoud, Colorado to celebrate the traditions of Old-time music and dance.

A jam at the CROMA 2017 merch table.

A jam at the CROMA 2017 merch table.

The Central Rockies Old-Time Music Association (CROMA) celebrated its 8th annual festival at Parrish Ranch, and while for some, barn dances and pre-World War II fiddle tunes may seem anachronistic in 2017, this property offers the perfect environment to stop time and celebrate these traditions. In fact, that’s exactly what the property was established for over half a century ago.

The late 1950s were more than ice cream socials, Elvismania, and record parties. It was one of the contemporary heydays of Old-time music and square dancing. Competitive square dancing was serious business for some, and in 1958, Vaughn Parrish built a barn on his ranch specifically for square dancing. People flocked in from across the United States (even beyond the border from Canada) to spend a week or two practicing their square dancing skills. Many of them competed in square dance competitions throughout the nation.

Terry Parrish, the current owner of Parrish Ranch and son of Jean & Vaughn.

Terry Parrish, the current owner of Parrish Ranch and son of Jean & Vaughn.

Today, Vaughn’s son Terry runs Parrish Ranch and is thrilled to host the annual CROMA fest as well as weddings, camping outings, and other special events throughout the year. At the Friday night barn dance, Terry stepped up to the microphone and shared, “My mother and father would be so happy to know that this festival happens on their property. It’s exactly what this place was built for.” The crowd cheered, and Terry even joined squares throughout the night, laughing and chatting with attendees, which included ticket-holders alongside the festival’s performers.

This year’s festival brought various scholars and performers of Old-time from across the nation, predominantly the Ozark and Appalachian regions of the United States, to offer diverse programming throughout the weekend.

Callers and cloggers: Phil Jamison & Dot Kent join the New Smokey Valley Boys for a number.

Callers and cloggers: Phil Jamison & Dot Kent join the New Smokey Valley Boys for a number.

Phil Jamison, author of Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance and professor of mathematics and Appalachian music and dance at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, taught a workshop on flatfoot dancing (also known as clogging). He shared how not only Old-time music, but also flatfooting and square dancing, have rich African-American roots, and how those traditions merged with European and new innovative styles in the time to create a rich tradition that’s truly American.

The Ozark Highballers had a friend join their show for some flatfooting.

The Ozark Highballers had a friend join their show for some flatfooting.

Kim Lansford and Aviva Steigmeyer (of Preservation Guitar Company and performer with the Ozark Highballers) shared the histories and nuances of ballads and led a sing-along in a workshop before performing a set together on stage.

The New Smokey Valley Boys had callers; flatfooters Dot Kent and Phil Jamison join them.

The New Smokey Valley Boys had callers; flatfooters Dot Kent and Phil Jamison join them.

The New Smokey Valley Boys offered a workshop on fiddle/banjo duets, a common means of instrumentation for house parties when, as fiddler Andy Edmonds described, “They’d throw all the furniture out in the yard and have the fiddler and banjo player face each other knee to knee in the doorway between two rooms, and each room would have a caller, so they’d have two different dances happening, but everyone could hear the same music.”

Jesse & Emily.

Jesse & Emily.

Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller offered several workshops, spanning duet singing, fingerstyle guitar, and West Virginia fiddling in addition to performing sweet, heartbreaking, and foot-stomping duets.

The Saturday night cakewalk was a hit. The music stopped just in time for this festival-goer! 

The Saturday night cakewalk was a hit. The music stopped just in time for this festival-goer! 

With over 30 workshops, daily main stage performances, nightly barn dances, kids’ programming, and community meals (a Thursday potluck and a Sunday morning pancake breakfast), this year’s festival continued to expand upon the quaint beginnings of the CROMA into one of the best festivals in Colorado, and arguably the best Old-time festival in the nation.

Aviva Steigmeyer & Roy Pilgrim of the Ozark Highballers join in on the festival dancing.

Aviva Steigmeyer & Roy Pilgrim of the Ozark Highballers join in on the festival dancing.

While you count down to next year’s festival in 2018, you can keep up with CROMA’s barn dances, fundraisers, and other special events on their website and by signing up for their newsletter. Dances throughout the front range can be found here, which also includes the Westminster dance, the only regularly scheduled dance that mixes squares, contras, reels, and circle dances.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Boulder Bootmaker John Allen Woodword Makes Shoes For The Stars

By: Hannah Oreskovich

John Allen Woodward entered the music world as a Nashville singer/songwriter. Spending his nights in local clubs playing, Woodward eventually met a leather bootmaker who offered him an apprenticeship. With what started as a side gig to his music, Woodward was drawn to the craftsmanship of the work, and started his own bootmaking company, Woodward Boots, in 1992. He opened several retail stores throughout California, but eventually settled permanently in Boulder, CO. Though Woodward left the stage, his boots didn’t, and his finely crafted footwear has been worn by musicians and movie stars alike ever since.

John Allen Woodward. 

John Allen Woodward. 

Now based out of his Boulder, CO studio, Woodward was recently commissioned to create several pairs of boots for Netflix’s The Get Down, which is Oscar-nominated Baz Luhrmann’s hip-hop series currently in its second season. Jeriana San Juan, the costume designer behind shows like SNL and Gossip Girl, was on the hunt for a bright red pair of hornback alligator boots for the show as part of “the crucial wardrobe pieces” Luhrmann requested for filming. Lucky for her, Woodword was able to commission the boots in just a week.

The boots. 

The boots. 

Said Jeriana, "John Allen Woodward is an outstanding artisan. He makes beautiful and unique boots with unmatched craftsmanship.”

The interwebs were listening, and recently, Woodward was again commissioned for another major series- Fox’s Empire.

Shameik Moore showing off Woodward's boots as his character Shaolin Fantastic from  The Get Down .

Shameik Moore showing off Woodward's boots as his character Shaolin Fantastic from The Get Down.

Said Woodward, “I love the magic of making. Whether it's shoes or boots or music, it's real magic. You have a vision that only you can see. You sit at a bench with the raw materials and will it into being. At the end of the day the image becomes real. Real magic."

Woodward also makes handmade shoes, belts, buckles, wallets and other accessories, all of which can be found on his website. So if you’re looking for a new pair of kickass boots (I’m looking at you musicians and show-goers), make sure to check out Woodward’s fine work for yourself and support this Colorado artist.

-Hannah

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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.