Last weekend marked the 21st time that the fine folks of Planet Bluegrass hosted the annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival which is currently being held on the musically sacred grounds of Planet Bluegrass in my tiny hometown of Lyons. Having not bought passes for any of the 2011 Planet Bluegrass festival offerings this year, I might have been a little more than absolutely excited when I friend called with a lead on an extra pass for Sunday night. Along with hundreds of other music lovers—most lacking footwear and more than half carrying a compostable New Belgium cup filled to the brim with one of the popular brewery’s offerings—I posted up on a friend’s blanket near the old Silo on the grounds, and watched as crowd favorite, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, brought the crowd to their unadorned feet with the energetic sounds of a combination of strings, vocals and beat boxing. Missy Higgins took the stage next and offered a mix of upbeat, mellow, and beautifully performed songs (some of which are currently receiving some mainstream radio love)—and then it happened.
With the lights from the stage dancing around the surrounding red rock cliffs, underneath the kind of star-filled sky that can only be found away from the city lights—whistles and cheers erupted as music legend Jackson Browne took the stage. Only sharing the spotlight with his ten guitars, the singer/songwriter performed a set of self-written songs sung with a voice that would make even the crankiest, crying newborn baby stop and listen. The night concluded with the sounds of campers packing up their tiny square plots of land, marked with tarps and blankets—and a very mellow exodus to the Planet Bluegrass exit.
Although the festival season is over for festival director Craig Ferguson and the rest of the Planet Bluegrass staff, the fall concert series is just beginning. September 9th kicks of the first concert of the Wildflower Concert Series, and it is definitely not one to be missed! With doors opening at 7 pm and music starting at 8 pm, local bands, bands with grammy winning musicians and bands with all around masters of the professional jam session will be performing a tribute to the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, in the 4800 square-foot pavilion on the Planet Bluegrass grounds. As always, beer, wine and popcorn are served from the indoor bar, all ages are welcome, and entry into the show is a fraction of what most pay for a show at Planet Bluegrass.