Ullr is a Norse god who is regionally praised for bringing snow and being the god of winter. His roots are a little more sorted but he is the son of Thor and is often seen with or on skis. However it was, numerous mountain towns started throwing festivals in his honor. It’s a good thing they did, as he is officially coming down from the mountains.
The first annual, UllrGrass is being held the weekend of the 30th and is taking over the town. Put together by a grass roots organization of dedicated volunteers and employees, there will be four stages hosted throughout the town and there are four pre-game events.
Festival express left the station two weeks ago with a troubadour contest that hosted musicians from Denver to Boulder and garages around Golden. The mood was attentive and the lighting was dim. Song choices ranged from traditional ballads to contemporary arrangements. Most were delivered with conviction and musicians were allowed one accompaniment; winners were given betweener sets scattered in the lineup.
Last week, the band competition was held and it brought another type of crowd. More tie-dye’s spotted the crowd and general shenanigans were noticeably higher. Same prize for the winners and the night ended with a great kumbaya moment, as members of all the bands danced in and out of the circle around the single mic setup.
This week is full of activities and Wednesday night offers a special treat for music lovers. If you’re in or traveling to Frisco’s Barkley Ballroom, there is a sit down dinner with headliner, Peter Rowan, and the UllrGrass Allstars. Thursday is pre-party at Cervantes’ Other Side with a pay your way party bus leaving from Golden around 7:00.
UllrGrass will bring a couple of hometown boys. Actually, there are a bunch of locals including Chris Thompson, Burn it Blue, and Thunder and Rain, but Adam Kinghorn and Mike Chappell of Head for the Hills are long time coming. Born and bred in Golden, the two went to CSU where they met future band mates, Joe Lessard and Matt Loewen in the dorm rooms. The dirty walls and ramen led to fast friendships, and the late night jam sessions naturally led to the formation of Head for the Hills.
Ten years later and “the rest is history” according to Kinghorn. The band has released three albums and one live recording and is wrapping up their North American tour, hitting Telluride and Crested Butte before landing at the Buffalo Rose on Saturday night.
Buffalo Rose, the Golden Hotel, Parfet Park and the Mountain Toad Brewery will all hold performances, so check out the UllrGrass website for times and tickets. The main event will be Peter Rowan at the Buff Rose on Saturday and I for one, can’t wait to see him, also pretty interested in the Beer Festival. Websites, Facebook, all that stuff, the information exists.