Winter Wondergrass 2018 Proved That Snow, Mountains, & Bluegrass Are The Perfect Festival Combo

By: Cy Fontenot

From frozen phalanges, to crashing on the floor like sardines, to uncontrollable laughter with some of the best friends you’ll ever make, Winter Wondergrass festival sure does attract a certain type of person, the ones who are willing to battle the cold and rally in the name of live music. If I learned anything at the fest, it’s that the combination of snow, mountains, and bluegrass create the best situational cocktail for bringing people together. As if the snowy mountains of Steamboat, Colorado didn’t do that already, add a little bluegrass and some Dale’s Pale Ale to the mix and there you have it: a wonderful freakin’ time.

Greensky Bluegrass.

Greensky Bluegrass.

The festival kicked off beautifully with Liver Down the River, who played just one note before and snow began! After being thoroughly pumped up by their funkadeligrass music, the crowd was serenaded by Trout Steak Revival who kept the music flowing into the evening, when Liver played yet another rockin’ set. The Wooks kept the energy alive for the Brad Parsons Band to wrap up the Wondergrass pre-party. As the night wound to a close, festies retreated to a set downtown by Colorado jamtronica up-and-comers Evanoff, who delivered a high energy dance party to cap the night off right.

John Stickley Trio.

John Stickley Trio.

Friday immediately started off with party vibes as we festival-goers made our way downtown for a delicious breakfast at Johnny B Good’s Diner, followed by smooth liquors at Steamboat Whiskey Company. After getting properly buzzed up, we made our way into the festival grounds where we were greeted by the Jon Stickley Trio, who had been joined on stage by some all-star special guests.

After a beautiful Steamboat sunset, Elephant Revival took the stage for an emotionally evocative set, playing whilst fireworks were shot from the ski hill above. For me, this remains one of the most perfect and beautiful moments of the weekend, and since the band are going on hiatus in just a few short months, it was even more special.

Grantful Dead Revue.

Grantful Dead Revue.

Just when it seemed the night couldn’t get more beautiful, Yonder Mountain took the stage, and so did the snow! After their heartfelt set, I made my way to the the gondolas and took a ride up to the top with some beautiful humans to catch the Grantful Dead Revue, where Tyler Grant had more than a few things to say with his fretboard. I think everyone agreed there was no better way to finish off the night than gettin’ down to some Dead tunes.

Fruition.

Fruition.

Saturday began with the infamous Bacon Jam, which took place in an absolutely gorgeous house on top of a mountain. Upon arrival guests were greeted by snowballs drunkenly lobbed from a hot tub. After entering the house I found great vibes, unlimited bacon, and WonderGrass all-stars pickin’ up a storm! After the Bacon Jam and a much needed nap, I made my way to the festival to see The Lil Smokies kick the afternoon into high gear. The Smokies were followed by Fruition, who had a perfect sunset set that sent the crowds partying into the night.

Next to the stage was the amazing Greensky Bluegrass, who played one of the most captivating sets of the weekend. As they plucked their last notes, I headed over to the Grand Ballroom, where Leftover Salmon, who were warming up for their killer Sunday night set. Paul Hoffman joined in midway through the set and the night went on ‘til morning.

Billy Strings.

Billy Strings.

Quick-trigger new kid on the block Billy Strings kicked off the mainstage Sunday afternoon with something to say. With outstanding vocals and masterfully edgy guitar skills, Billy brought the energy the crowd needed to power through the last day of this incredible festival.

As day turned to night, the people of Wondergrass reached a new level of love, intoxication, and anticipation as Leftover Salmon geared up to close out the fest. I have to give it to Leftover Salmon- out of all the amazing music I had the pleasure of experiencing this weekend, their capstone performance takes the cake as my most enjoyed set of Winter Wondergrass.

Leftover Salmon.

Leftover Salmon.

WWG was sold-out this year, proving people seem to really love Bluegrass in the winter. If you’re ready for round two, get your tickets to Winter WonderGrass in Squaw Valley, CA happening April 6th-8th here!

Check out our festival gallery from this event here!

-Cy

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

This Is Why Every Fruition Show Feels Like Home

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Fruition, a five-piece band from Portland, Oregon, have been playing around Colorado for around ten years, accumulating big love from their fans and innocent first-time observers alike. I proudly consider myself a part of the Fruity Freaks Family, as we Fruition fans like to call ourselves. I have been following Fruition for over eight years now, seeing them play in bars like Oskar Blues in Lyons and at day sets at Ned Fest. They’ve come a long way since then and their newest album, Watching It All Fall Apart, which dropped earlier this month, is a testament to that growth.

Fruition.

Fruition.

For someone like me, who has seen Fruition turn from a green seedling into a blossoming tree, experiencing them rock Denver’s Ogden this past weekend was heartwarming. Their Saturday night performance was nothing short of awesome. The set was filled with music off the new record with soulful songs like “Northern Town” and “I Should Be (On Top Of The World),” rock’n’roll tunes like “I’ll Never Sing Your Name,” “Stuck On You,” “There She Was,” and finally sprinkled throughout were old school Fruition barn-stompers like “Never Again and Boil Over.”  As the band got onstage and the lights turned red and blue, the energy was stoked and by the third song in, the room was electric. People were dancing and singing and catching up with old friends. Taking it all in was a blast.

The thing about a band like Fruition is their family, good-time, sing-and-stomp-along vibe beckons to be experienced on multiple occasions. Going to their shows is like coming back home to catch up with old friends and family and share in the common thread that is their amazing musical talent and performance. And although their latest record is a departure from their grassroots foundation toward an experiment in rock‘n’roll and soul, the essence of Fruition still remains. Any band that plays together and stays together for ten years or more is bound to search and experiment new ways of expressing themselves, and these five members just keep exploring ways to harmonize and express themselves individually and simultaneously cohesively. Morphing into maturity through depth and curiosity, all the while staying grounded and kind, is something that I have always admired about Fruition and why I always believed that they were a powerhouse of musicians worthy of everyone’s attention. After seeing them play this past weekend, my admiration of them is only stronger and my anticipation of their next Colorado visit only higher.   

Check out Fruition at Winter Wondergrass this month, February 24th in Steamboat Springs and later this summer at Red Rocks Amphitheater on August 18th. You can follow them on Facebook for more events and cool videos, like behind the making of their latest album.

-Mirna

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

Jump Into Summer With Our 'Pickin' On CO Summers' Spotify Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Just in time for summer and the many folk & bluegrass festivals that come with it in Colorado thanks to Planet Bluegrass, here’s our ‘Pickin’ On Colorado Summers’ Spotify Playlist:

Tastemaker Sierra Voss has put some serious tuneage together for your summer soundtrack. Trout Steak Revival classically opens our pickin’ playlist, with tracks by Caribou Mountain Collective, Fruition, The Haunted Windchimes, Elephant Revival, Punch Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Blitzen Trapper, Railroad Earth, Sarah Jarosz, and others. Several of these artists play the upcoming 2017 Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to check out our many playlists, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it!

Happy Summer.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Colorado's Recording and Wilderness Retreat Spot: Mountain Star Studio

By: Sierra Voss

Tucked away in Gilpin County, CO down a long dirt path lies Mountain Star Studio. Its studio barn and main home sit on 120 acres of lands that looks out onto the continental divide. The compound includes a multi-purpose recording studio and performance space, and offers artist lodging.

The property was originally built to serve as a house and horse barn for Mr. Kip Lagorin. It wasn't until four years ago when Kip’s friend Chris came around and suggested they turn it into a recording studio that this magic came to be. Both Chris and Kip have a deep respect and love for music, and more specifically the music scene in Colorado. And so, after the two came together, the property slowly morphed into the artist retreat that it is today.

Keys on Keys.

Keys on Keys.

Bands come through to use the space to rehearse before shows, and to record singles and albums. Some names of the bands that frequent the studio include Andrew McMahon, Chapter: SOUL, Madaila, Gipsy Moon, The Magic Beans, Fruition, Elephant Revival, and Field Division. Eventually, the studio hopes to host intimate shows on the property as well.

Evelyn & Nicholas. 

Evelyn & Nicholas. 

I got a chance to stop by this hidden gem and get to know the studio team and what led each of them to Mountain Start Studio.

Chris Sheldon- (Head Honcho/Father of the Studio/Member of DeadPish Orchestra)

Well, Kip had the place and another friend of mine had a recording machine that needed a home. Once I had the idea I just knew if we built it they will come. I was too young to ever go to Caribou Ranch Studio, but it's a part of history everyone knows about around here. What could be better than recording an album surrounded by the mountains and wilderness? That always sounded so amazing to me. So when this opportunity came, I thought I could put the dream into action.

Mike Pedersen- (In-House Band Member/Jack-of-All-Trades)

Mike.

Mike.

I took a drive across the country a couple years ago. I have some musician friends in the area and knew I wanted to check out Boulder. A week and a half into my travels in Colorado, I knew I was going to stay. I have some buddies in the band The Drunken Hearts and they took me up here to the studio; the rest is history. I’ve been here at the studio for close to a year now. I do all of sorts of stuff: the dishes, graphic design, interior design, [I’m the] in-house bass and guitar player… We all have to be a jack-of-all-trades on this team.     

Evelyn Taylor- (Lead Singer of Field Division/Marketing Manager)

Evelyn.

Evelyn.

About a year ago, [Field Division] were finishing a tour and were invited up to the studio to stay for a bit. We thought it was pretty cosmic because we didn’t have anywhere to go and didn’t want to head back to our home in Iowa. We have always dreamed about moving out to Colorado to start a vibrant art community in the mountains. We really wanted this community to follow the spirit of the Laurel Canyon scene in L.A., where artists lived together and collaborated on so many great records. I thought we would have to build our own property, but then we ran into Kip and Chris and they already had the dream going and needed help.   

Nicholas Frampton- (Member of Field Division/Studio Producer)

Nicholas. 

Nicholas. 

We arrived in late April of last year. We were pretty amazed by the property and actually had a record we were trying to finish, so we just plopped down at the studio to finish it. We ended up staying for a month on our first stay. We came back in July after that, and then again in October. At that point we were working out how we could stay and actually become resident artists and team members at the studio. Both Evelyn and I help with everything around here: branding, marketing, booking, producing records, and being a sort of in-house band for artists coming through.  

Chris Lewarchik- (Cheerleader/Vibe Coordinator)

I’m just visiting. I’m friends with all these mad people trying to do this great thing. I kinda help them cheerlead all the bands I’m friends with and people I see who are doing good things in order to get them into the studio. I am really trying to promote the whole Caribou vibe to get those people off the street in the city, where everything is just so hustle bustle, and here they can just kick back and record in a not-so-city-based environment.

This team is truly creating a unique studio where artists can come record and retreat with the support of a team that are themselves musicians, and are ready to help create each artist's’ vision. So if you are ready to take a break from the city, look out onto the continental divide, and make a record, check out Mountain Star Studio and get yourself up there.

 -Sierra

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

John Craigie's 'No Rain, No Rose' a Reflection of Life on the Road & Finding Home

By: Zach Dahmen

Singer/songwriter John Craigie has been everywhere, but his latest record takes him back to his new home base in Portland, Oregon. His affable character and quick wit make his live shows true entertainment, as I saw over a year ago. Each performance deftly moves from engaging story to poignant song. Seriously- spend ten minutes with this guy and you feel like you have somehow known each other for years. And that’s what’s so genuine about Craigie: He draws people in as a performer and as a person. Needless to say, I was excited about his new record, No Rain, No Rose.

John Craigie.

John Craigie.

Some of John’s storytelling skills have undoubtedly been honed by the road, and John spends over half his year on the road. He’s been traversing The States (and beyond) for years, picking up loyal listeners with his earnest music and endearing personality. Hailing from California originally, Craigie set out as a true troubadour years ago, touring and living on the road for an extended time playing gigs and even festivals like Burning Man. His touring eventually brought him through Portland, which cultivated his eventual move and settling into that community. This move is well-reflected in Craigie’s latest record, which was released this past January.

No Rain, No Rose is an album that feels like it is taking root. For Craigie that means a much more fleshed out sound compared to his previous, more stripped-down recordings. Beyond this, No Rain, No Rose is also packed with friends including members of Fruition, The Shook Twins, Gregory Alan Isakov, Brad Parsons, Bevin Foley (of Trout Steak Revival), Kat Fountain, Bart Budwig, Justin Landis, John Nuhn, and Niko Daoussis. From his old Victorian home’s kitchen, Craigie told me in a recent chat that he would call out players to jump in on tracks.

“We recorded inside the house I live in. All my housemates were there cooking dinner between takes, we set up in the living room, and people came by when they could and sat in on songs.”

These living room vibes fit Craigie well, and with the extended audio, the album has a sense of an intimate house party. It’s like your friends set down their glasses, picked up an instrument and created something so good it feels like it’s somehow yours as well. This style also gives the album some of Craigie’s classic levity.

The heart of No Rain, No Rose comes from the title track. Maybe the most personal song of the album, it’s a fully realized lament and celebration of embracing what is hard: “We need the bad things to make the good things, I know/And I hear them singing, ‘No rain. No rose.’”

"I really wanted to write a response to Portland after living here for a couple of years. All the songs that had been written in my time here.” Craigie told me.

Themes of the road, relationships, and aimlessness show an artist processing his past and looking forward to what is ahead. This record is a true reflection of community, with each song feeling like it has a life of its own while still feeling like a cohesive part of the record. Drawn out vocals and haunting melodies are captured in songs like “I Am California” and “Savannah,” with the the former including some lovely harmonies with Boulder’s own Isakov. Other songs like “Bucket List Grandmas” and “Michael Collins” are filled with strings, and give the feeling of a packed bluegrass jam. The whole vibe of the 13-song record takes real life and makes it just a little more pretty.

You can see John Craigie in Denver TONIGHT Thursday, March 23rd with Holly Lovell at The Walnut Room at 8PM. He has another Colorado gig in Pueblo at Songbird Cellars this Friday the 24th at 730PM. Make sure to keep up with Craigie’s continuing life on the road here.

-Zach

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

If The Cold Don't Kill Ya, The Music Will Save Ya: My Winter Wondergrass 2017 Experience

By: Mirna Tufekcic

If you didn’t know, Winter Wondergrass took place in Steamboat Springs this year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily think, “Oh fun!” when I think of February nights outside on a mountain freezing my ass off just to hear some live music. But I sucked it up and ventured out this year to see what the hype was all about. As it turns out, WWG is absolutely fun and yeah, you are pretty much freezing cold the whole time. But there was a lot of string picking, a lot of banjo bangin’ and mandolin shredding, and a lot of beer and whiskey drinkin’ people having a blast.  

On the first night of the festival, people seemed a bit unsure and disoriented, as though they too were wondering what compelled them to come to an outdoor music festival in the middle of winter with temperatures dropping down to, yeah, just about zero degrees. I eased into it by heading for one of the three heated tents on the festival grounds. Gipsy Moon was scheduled to play at the Soapbox Tent, so I prepared myself for a musical journey around the globe while standing in three layers of clothing. They played two sets, so I stuck around for both and kept warm. For the final stretch of the first night I made my way to the main stage for Leftover Salmon. It was my first time seeing them live and I gotta say these dudes are a lot of fun to watch as they made sure to keep people moving.

I couldn’t feel my fingers after taking a few pictures in the photo pit during their set, so I went looking for heat. Right by the SmartWool Tent, there were a couple of propane fire pits, so I posted myself there, still able to see the main stage. You know what’s really cool about a freezing winter music festival? You’ll make room around the fire for your fellow freezing music lovers, meet their acquaintances, and realize you all probably met somewhere in a past life.

Saturday was freezing. It snowed the entire day and night, making for a very winter wondergrass- I mean wonderland- vibe. I got to the festival in time for happy hour beer tastings and Grant Farm on the main stage. I hung out sippin’ some Oskar Blues watching the main stage from the sidelines when my old friend Taj walked by. We chatted for a bit and he told me to check out The Deer, who were playing at the SoapBox Tent in a few minutes. He manages the band, as it turns out. Desperately wanting to find warmth again, I made my way there. The Deer started to play and I wasn’t disappointed. They call their music “transcendental Texas folk.” They’re from Austin, TX and though their lead vocalist Grace Park could front an indie band with her style, she was sandwiched between a mandolin player, Noah Jeffreys, and an upright bassist, Jesse Dalton, which brought the bigger picture back into focus. And that picture was of course bluegrass.      

Mimi Naja. 

Mimi Naja. 

Fruition played the main stage in the afternoon that day, by which time the snowfall gained momentum, crowding the space with fat snowflakes all around. It made for a cozy Fruition set, and by cozy I mean really cold but magical. My girl Mimi Naja (vocals/mandolin/guitars), greeted us on the mic, “What’s up Colorado! You guys are crazy!” And the band proceeded to rock out with all of us freezing fruity freaks.

After Fruition’s set, it was time to warm up a little. The Lil’ Smokies played a short set at the Soapbox Tent, so I hurried over there. Their mando was loud and clear. The crowd could barely move from all the bodies packed in, but I think everyone was in need of heat. Andy Dunnigan, the band’s main vocalist and dobro player, got the crowd going, and people swayed, heating up the tent even more.

Saturday evening rolled around quickly, and it was time for a short interview with Ben Morrison of The Brothers Comatose. They played two consecutive sets at the Pickin’ Perch Tent and I got to chat with him between them.

“We love to see the crowd get comfortable enough to get down and have a great time. It’s more fun that way,” said Ben, after I acknowledged that The Brothers Comatose are known for putting together sets resembling house shows. He went on, “My brother Alex, who’s the banjo player in our band, and I grew up with our mom and her band rehearsing in our living room. We would sit and watch, enamored at the beautiful harmonies they produced. That’s where we got our inspiration to play.”  

Ben Morrison.

Ben Morrison.

Alex and Ben didn’t really listen to bluegrass until later in life. In fact, they played punk rock when they started a band as teenagers. So what changed?

“It’s easier when you don’t have to carry a huge amp and drums and shit. There’s no room for that,” Ben laughed, and then added more seriously, “But really what I realized was that I liked to play the acoustic guitar anytime I was writing a song. And my parents always said I needed to learn to play a song on an acoustic guitar before playing it on an electric.”

We ended our chat with an update on the band- The Brothers Comatose are releasing a bunch of new videos and a mini documentary on the recent Horseback Tour they did back in September, and they’re working on some new music with yet to be revealed big names in the bluegrass music world.

Fruition.

Fruition.

The rest of my Saturday night involved finding the fire pit, chatting with the friends from another life, and then heading back to the condo for a hot tub session to defrost. Most of my crew, however, went to the late night afterparty shows that featured some of the main acts at the festival. I attended one of those on Sunday night.

Sunday was a bluebird, clear skies, mimosas-all-day kind of day, for me anyway, since I didn’t have a ski pass. I got to the festival right in time for The California Honeydrops, who played the main stage as the sun warmed up everyone’s spirit. It was beautiful and hopeful. Then the sun set and it turned back to freezing cold again. But it was ok because we had music to warm us up. Oh, and whiskey, lots of whiskey. I think next year (if I dare go) I’ll dress up as a St. Bernard and carry a barrel of whiskey around my neck.     

Ungloved hands are risky at WW.

Ungloved hands are risky at WW.

Elephant Revival hit the main stage next. The thing about the elephants is that they’re magical and they’ll suck you right into their fairytale. Their music is so airy and spiritual that you can’t help but stop and listen. The only problem with stopping at an outdoor music festival in freezing temperatures is that you get get- you guessed it- cold. By the end of Elephant Revival’s set, I found myself in the Jamboree Tent with Dead Horses hoarding the heat vent. It was the coldest night yet.

Railroad Earth closed the final evening of Winter Wondergrass on the main stage, but I was too scared of losing my recently warmed body heat to make it out there. Instead, my friends and I rode the gondola to Thunderhead to check out The Infamous Stringdusters’ afterparty. We were met with a warm, crowded room of festive folk. Feet were stomping, music was grassy and people were jolly. It was a great way to end the festival. The final songs of the night at Thunderhead had the Stringdusters playing with Mimi and Jay from Fruition, Andy Dunnigan from Lil’ Smokies and a few others. It was a celebration: we had all made it through yet another wonderful Winter Wondergrass, snow and all.

The author, prior to adding more layers. 

The author, prior to adding more layers. 

PS: Did I mention the festival was sold out this year? Yeah- people seem to really love bluegrass in the winter.  

Get tickets to Winter Wondergrass in Tahoe, which happens March 31st-April 2nd here.

-Mirna

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

Fruity Freaks Went Wild for Fruition at Denver's Ogden Theatre

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Fruition’s biggest headlining gig yet took place at The Ogden Theatre in Denver last Friday. The music of the night kicked off with the dark side of bluegrass, Larry Keel Experience. The alt grass quartet set the mood in the venue with fast-paced stringing, a dominant banjo sound, and foot stomping on and offstage. It was intense and energy-arousing.    

Fruition followed with two rockin’ high-energy sets and an encore that ended with the most appropriate song for their second-home fans, “Meet Me On the Mountain.” All the Fruity Freaks (yes that’s what Fruition fans call themselves, and there’s a facebook page to prove it) danced and sang along as the group pulled out new-after-old-after-new tunes. It was a healthy mix of tracks from each of the albums the band has released since 2010.   

Fruition and Keel.

Fruition and Keel.

When the five-piece played their hit songs, “The Meaning,” “Mountain Annie,” “Broken Hearted,” and “Labor of Love”, it was clear how passionate the fans were as the crowd screamed in response to the start of each song and sang along as Kellen Asebroek, Mimi Naja, and Jay Cobb Anderson turned the mic in our direction.

Mima Naja.

Mima Naja.

If there is a band out there that truly does it all for the music and its fans, Fruition is at the top of the list. They love performing so much that they still played for the hell of it even at the afterparty post-show. Gotta love them for that. Welcome back to Colorado Fruition.

-Mirna

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

Fruition Taking Over Colorado This Weekend With Denver/Aspen Shows

By: Mirna Tufekcic

If you haven’t heard of Fruition yet, then you’ve been missing out big time. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, these guys and gal have been around since 2008 playing music festivals around the country, opening for bands like Greensky Bluegrass, and becoming a staple in Colorado’s folk/bluegrass scene.  

Fruition.

Fruition.

The band’s latest album, Labor of Love, is a testament to their growth as a group and how far they’ve come since their first self-titled album back in 2010. While keeping to their roots, Fruition’s sound is by no means just bluegrass or folk; they have incorporated rock and blues melodies that give them a fuller breadth of sound and a mature tone distinctly their own. Starting as a string-centric quintet eight years ago, they have evolved into a full band with sounds of Americana, soul, folk, and blues.

Fruition at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Spady Photography

Fruition at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Spady Photography

With three lead vocalists, (Mimi Naja, Jay Cobb Anderson, and Kellen Asebroek) the band has harmonies abound, delighting and satisfying eardrums like fruit to the tastebuds. Listening to any of their albums, (click here to do that) you’ll get to hear each of the songwriters sing their story. With Tyler Thompson on drums and Jeff Leonard on bass, Fruition emanates stompy beats and bluesy grooves that make your body move despite yourself, while the slower love ballads pull at your heartstrings just enough to make you feel things.

Check out Fruition’s “Labor of Love” music video:

Fruition has come a long way since their formation, from their performances at small town music festivals to their Red Rocks show this past summer with J.J. Gray & Mofro and The Infamous Stringdusters. Although Portland is Fruition’s birthplace, the band members have always considered Colorado their second home, and the feeling has become mutual. Being a state that loves soulful, bluesy, grassy tunes, Colorado folk have shown much love for this crew. So come see these incredibly talented and lovely humans on Friday at The Ogden Theatre in Denver and Saturday at Belly Up in Aspen as they play their biggest headlining venue yet! Tickets here

See you there!

-Mirna

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

Opening Day at Vertex Music Festival

By: Sierra Voss

The first day at Vertex had cars lined up as festival-goers excitedly filled into the camping grounds. It was definitely a get-to-know-your-neighbor situation, as tents were lined up directly behind each personal car. It wasn’t long before the field rapidly became a tent city. Flags were raised, and pool floaties were blown up and mounted on top of cars. Humans started to play lawn games in any space left untouched, as we patiently waited for the first bands to take the stage.

Big Wild.

Big Wild.

Which brings me to the lay of the land. There are three main stages on the festival grounds, and when you first enter the Vertex gates, you stumble upon a pretty heady little world. There is a cottage simply filled with balloons, a shed were women offer to wash your clothes for you with washboards (random and weird), and a nap tent. It all feels somewhat reminiscent of Electric Forest.

Fruition.

Fruition.

When it comes to the music, the band Fruition took the first big main stage around 2PM. The vibe was pretty mellow during their set, and remained so until later in the night as festival-goers slowly trickled in and explored the grounds. Things really started to pick up when Anderson Paak took the Cottonwood Parlor main stage. He put on an awesomely energetic show, hopping down to dance on the monitors and bouncing all around the stage. Paak rocks a pretty sweet septum piercing and has a smile that will make yah weak in the knees. He ended his performance rippin’ it behind his drum set.  

You definitely have to remain flexible and open to different vibes at this festival. The musical lineup for the weekend is incredibly diverse, and jumps from hip hop to bluegrass to EDM, all within the span of a day. Right after Anderson Paak, the band Dawes took the stage. Dawes was a 100% different musical vibe than Paak, but they laid down an equally impressive set.

My personal favorite shows of the night were Alabama Shakes, Jai Wolf, and Gramatik. Each artist crushed it, but Alabama Shakes really slayed. Lead singer Brittany Howard ripped out some powerful notes that filled my entire body with soul. It was beyond epic watching her belt out tune after tune.

Alabama Shakes.

Alabama Shakes.

It was an impressive first day for the start of Vertex Music Festival. I am now sitting here bright and early on day two, watching festi-goers yoga it up. And yes I said watching, not participating. It’s gonna be another rad day of music. Round two let’s go…

-Sierra

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

Grant Farm and Dead Winter Carpenters' Night of Americana at The Fox This Thursday

By: Claire Woodcock

Boulder’s own cosmic-Americana band Grant Farm will be playing a show for the working people this Thursday, July 7th, at The Fox Theatre.

Grant Farm. 

Grant Farm. 

Vocalist and National Flatpicking Guitar Champion Tyler Grant founded the free-spirited, growing force that is Grant Farm in 2009. Adrian “Ace” Engfer (bass and vocals), Sean “Magic” Macaulay (drums) and Kevin “Money” McHugh (keys and vocals) join Grant “The Champ” in the band’s rolling roots rock sound. In 2014, Colorado Public Radio deemed the Grant Farm players as “some of the ablest musicians not only in the state of Colorado, but in the nation.”

A scene from Grant Farm's "Fill Your Cup" music video. 

A scene from Grant Farm's "Fill Your Cup" music video. 

Grant Farm is celebrating its latest LP release, Kiss The Ground, which they describe as an “ode to the working people” and the archetype famously described by John Lennon. The band’s latest work follows a 2012 self-titled debut and 2014’s Plowin’ Time, which made it to #2 on the JamBand Radio Charts. Album highlights include “Get In Line,” which discusses the high price we pay for the life we want and “Fill Your Cup,” a call to make the most of life. Maybe you’ve caught Grant Farm’s new video for that track:

This Americana jam band has a lot going for them filmwise as well. The group released Meeting on the Mountain (2014), a collaborative EP with Fruition, a string-centric blues rock quintet from Portland. From there, the concept grew into a collaborative live broadcast experience, Meeting on the Mountain LIVE. The webcast streams live from The Downtown Artery in Fort Collins, CO and is filmed and broadcast by Fort Collins-based tech outfit Hyphytek. The webcast concert series features Grant Farm as the houseband, and includes performances and interviews with musical guests, hosted by Tyler Grant. Keep up with their ongoing broadcast schedule here.

Dead Winter Carpenters.

Dead Winter Carpenters.

The California-based Dead Winter Carpenters will join Grant Farm on Thursday night’s ticket, along with Nederland bluegrass quartet Caribou Mountain Collective. The whole shebang is presented by my other favorite publication, Boulder Weekly.

Get your tickets here, and I’ll see you there!

-Claire

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