Rockygrass: Bluegrass’ next generation steals the stage

The 40th annual Rockygrass Festival, Colorado's biggest bluegrass gathering of the year, is in progress in Lyons

By JOHN LEHNDORFF Staff Writer

12:45 P.m. July 27, under a welcome cloud cover – When it commes to Colorado’s annual bluegrass festivals, Telluride is a music festivals that includes some bkCgrass and Rockygrass is the one actually devoted to traditional bluegrass music that the late Bill Monroe would recognize. It was the Father of Bluegrass Music who teamed-up 40 years ago with some Colorado enthusiasts to stage a festival here. Well, not here because “here” is the Planet Bluegrass creekside site in Lyons. When I first attended years ago it was held at various county fair sites across the metro area. Now it’s always held here.

Right now the traditional Bluegrass Etc, band is twanging capably onstage. The field is full – the festival sold out four months ago. Meanwhile backstage as I input under a tent, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile is sitting by himself on a folding chaor blasting through an intricate improvised inflected exercise that’s simply mindblowing but only marginally related to bluegrass. That’s Rockygrass and the next generation’s coming. Thile plays a duo set shortly full of classic harmoonies and a full set of original acoustic music with his edgy Punch Brothers band tonight.  That’s Rockygrass too.

Stay tuned…..

(John Lehndorff is the Content Director of the Aurora Sentinel. He has been writing about music in Colorado since 1979.)

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