Summer Music 2003

It's time to plan to get out of Steamboat for a tour of summer music festivals as many are rapidly selling out.


— Colorado music festivals

Telluride Bluegrass Festival

June 19-22

Of all the Colorado music festivals, this one is most widely known. After 30 years, it has grown from a tiny, mountain bluegrass festival to a sell-out weekend with a 10,000-strong audience and music that spans the genres. This year's lineup includes Open Road, Martin Sexton, Susan Tedeschi, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the String Cheese Incident, South Austin Jug Band, Keller Williams, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Nickel Creek.

A four-day pass costs $170, not including camping. Single-day passes are no longer available. Tickets are available at or by calling 1-800-624-2422. Camping reservations and volunteer information is available at

Telluride Blues and Brews

Sept. 12-14

Good beer and good music. Fifty microbrews will be on tap all weekend while the stage rocks under the weight of the Allman Brothers Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, North Mississippi All Stars, Sue Foley, Buddy Miles and G. Love & Special Sauce.

The Allman Brothers rescheduled their tour in order to play this festival, marketing director Bonnie Luftig said.

This is the 10th anniversary of the festival.

A three-day pass costs $195 and tickets for late-night jams are an extra $15 per night. A four-day camping pass costs $27.

For musicians, the festival includes the Telluride Acoustic Blues Camp. For $240, musicians receive 15 hours of class instruction from the festival's performers.

Volunteer opportunities are available for those who can't afford the pass. Each volunteer must work two five-hour shifts for a weekend pass. Volunteer applications are available at

Tickets are available by calling 1-866-515-6166.

Strings in the Mountains

Steamboat Springs

June 6-Aug. 15

This is your local music festival and one of the most diverse in the state. Its chamber music series is focused on classical music, but the festival also includes several world music acts and children's programs.

The season opens June 6 with Jesse Burn's traditional Irish band, The Wayfarers. The festival officially opens June 28 with the Tokyo String Quartet.

A highlight of the festival comes Aug. 1 with Eileen Ivers' band, Immigrant Soul. Ivers is a traditional Irish fiddler who mixes her sound with that of an Afro-Caribbean backup band.

Strings executive director Betse Grassby saw Ivers perform at the Four Corners Folk Fest in Pagosa Springs and was blown away.

A season pass for Strings gets you into 24 concerts for $389. A classical pass is $220 for 14 concerts.

Tickets and schedules are available at or by calling 879-5056.

Nederland Music and Arts Festival


Aug. 2 and 3

This festival is on the shore of Barker Reservoir in Nederland, 17 miles outside of Boulder. In its fifth year, this is still a lesser-known festival, which makes it less expensive and less crowded.

Discounted tickets are available through June 14. A festival pass costs $53. One-day passes are $28.

This year's lineup includes Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Garaj Mahal, Tony Furtado and The American Gypsies, The Motet, Shanti Groove and The Big Wu.

Nedfest has no designated camping, but organizer Michigan Mike said there is a lot of camping nearby. Camping ideas are available at

Tickets are available on the Nedfest Web site as well or by calling the Boulder Theater Box Office at 303-786-7030.

Four Corners Folk Fest

Pagosa Springs

Aug. 29-31

The organizer is passionate about music and art and the role it plays in his community. The festival takes place on 120 acres of ponderosa pine forest. In its eighth year, the organizers have limited the size to about 4,000 people. Ponderosa pines tower behind the crowd, and a cliff rises up behind the stage.

"It's right in the middle of town, but it blows your mind," organizer Dan Appenbeller said.

Camping spots and workshops are located under the 150-foot tall trees. Musicians can wander from tent to tent for vocal instruction or lessons on finger-style guitar or on the music business -- all taught by the main-stage acts.

The festival tries to create a family-friendly environment with a children's section that features arts and crafts, singalongs and nature hikes to give parents some alone time to dance and listen to music.

The main stage will feature Natalie MacMaster, Tony Furtado, Darrell Scott Band, Wayfaring Strangers, Slaid Cleaves and Eddie from Ohio. During the day, music is performed in a field, but the late night concerts start at about 10 p.m. on the Summit Stage, on the top of the mountain. Listeners have to hike to the stage so that families will not be bothered by the music.

A three-day pass, including on-site camping costs $95. Tickets are available at or by calling 877-472-4672.

Rocky Grass

Lyons on the Planet Bluegrass Ranch

July 25-27

While the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has grown beyond its original acoustic boundaries, Rocky Grass sticks to artists like Doc Watson. As traditional bluegrass becomes increasingly popular with the mainstream, Rocky Grass has been discovered. The festival sold out early last year.

This year's line up includes Hit and Run, Bearfoot Bluegrass, The Seldom Scene, David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs and Old Crow Medicine Show.

A three-day pass costs $105. On-site camping spots already are sold out, but sites remain in the surrounding area.

Tickets can be purchased on

Other music festivals


Manchester, Tenn.

This June music festival is probably the biggest in the country. It sold out long ago. For more information, visit

Girdwood Forest Fair

Girdwood, Alaska

July 4-6

This free festival is held in a tiny Alaskan ski town on the Alyeska Highway, not far from Anchorage. It showcases musicians and artists from all over Alaska with two stages and 17 acts. The grounds open June 28 for a work party.

The only rules, "No dogs. No politicians."

Call 907-566-3039.

Appalachian String Band Festival

Cliftop, W.Va.

July 30 -- Aug. 3

This festival is a five-day, mountaintop gathering of old-time musicians held at Camp Washington-Carver. For five days, mandolin, banjo and fiddle players compete between play parties, yoga classes and square dances.

This year's lineup includes The Yahoes, Big Medicine and Troublesome Creek.

For more information, visit

Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival

Driggs, Idaho

Aug. 8-10

One of the most beautiful locations for a music festival, the stage is in the Targhee National Forest, 45 minutes from Jackson, Wyo., and 12 miles east of Driggs, Idaho. In its 15th year, this is still a small festival, but they bring in the best bluegrass bands, because of the location. Last year, the David Grisman Quintet and the Yonder Mountain String Band played.

This year's lineup is not complete, but Hot Rize, Tim O'Brien, Open Road and Kane's River already are on board.

Tickets will go on sale in May. A three-day pass, with camping, costs $100. Without camping, it's $80. Day passes are available at

Rockabilly Fest 2003

Jackson, Tenn.

Aug. 8-10

The punks sold their CDs and replaced them with Rockabilly records. This newly popular festival is located between Nashville and Memphis and sponsored by Sun Records, the home of Elvis.

About 2,200 tickets are available for $45. This year's lineup includes Keessie and the Seltens of Swing, Mark Collie, Sue Moreno, Bill Haley's The Original Comets, Sonny Burgess and Ace Cannon.

Tickets are available at

Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival

Talkeetna, Alaska

August 7-10

Billed as "America's Greatest Campout," the Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival is located at the mouth of Denali National Park on Ernie Wheatley's property. The Anchorage Press called it "a crazy Alaskan Hells Angels version of Mardi Gras."

The festival costs $35 a day and $10 on Sunday. There are free showers on the campsite and a designated family camping area.

"People usually show up two days early and stay two days after to recover," Wheatley said. "It's less about the music and more about the party."

This year's lineup of 40 bands includes Yukon Rider, Wupt, the Paul Byrd Band and Alcan Jumpseast and Sticky Wicket. Buy your tickets at the gate.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.