Where do we begin? How about with one of the most community-centric music festivals around. Unlike most of the larger name music festivals that take place all around the country, Winter Wondergrass aims to be a bit different by . Stepping away from the mainstream, but still pulling big names like Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Leftover Salmon, to join in on the journey, Winter Wondergrass leaves its mark by emphasizing community quality over quantity. Their strong commitment from the beginning to diverting as much waste as possible into composting and recycling efforts aligns perfectly with what the Steamboat Springs Community is all about. Winter Wondergrass is purely good people, good music, and good times.
About the Venue and Environment
Winter Wondergrass sets up in the Upper Knoll Lot at Steamboat, just steps away from gondola square. The “Soapbox Stage” is hand crafted with refurbished wood, not to mention picnic tables onsite, also made of refurbished wood with a special Winter Wondergrass brand to make them stand out even more. Plenty of parking is available in the Meadows lot, just down the hill, and a convenient free shuttle service is provided by Steamboat. Festivities start February 22nd, 2017, so come see what the town has been buzzing about for months.
To further encourage sustainability, recycling and composting stations are set up around the venue with volunteers to help concertgoers sort materials. With a goal for this year’s festivals (both in Steamboat and Squaw Valley) to reach the zero waste mark, the event depends on patrons, musicians, sponsors, and volunteers to share the responsibility. With 89% waste diversion last year, it is safe to say Winter Wondergrass is well on its way to hitting this goal.
About the Bands
Ultimately, Railroad Earth’s music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and is delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members. As mandolin/ bouzouki player John Skehan points out, “Our M.O. has always been that we can improvise all day long, but we only do it in service to the original composition. There are a lot of songs that, when we play them live, we adhere to the arrangement from the record. And other songs, in the nature and the spirit of the song, everyone knows we can kind of take flight on them.”
For the past quarter-century, Colorado’s Leftover Salmon has established itself as one of the great purveyors of Americana music, digging deep into the well that supplies its influences; rock ‘n’ roll, folk, bluegrass, Cajun, soul, zydeco, jazz and blues. They are firmly settled in the long lineage of bands that defy simple categorization, instead of setting their own musical agenda. They are the direct descendants of bands like Little Feat, New Grass Revival, Grateful Dead and The Band, born of the heart and soul of the United States itself, playing music that reflects the sounds emanating from the Appalachian Mountains, the streets of New Orleans, the clubs of Chicago, the plains of Texas, and the Rockies.
During Leftover Salmon’s twenty-five plus years as a band, they have headlined shows and festivals from coast to coast, released nine albums, and maintained a vibrant, relevant and influential voice in the music world. Over that time, Leftover Salmon’s sound has grown and evolved while staying true to the roots and guiding spirit of the band’s founding members – mandolinist/ singer Drew Emmitt and guitarist/ singer Vince Herman.
Letting the past inform and the present propel, the Stringdusters’ style and substance are uniquely Infamous. Since 2007, the band’s ever-evolving artistry and boldly creative collaborations — including Ryan Adams, Joss Stone, Bruce Hornsby, Joan Osborne, and Lee Ann Womack — have pushed them past the edges of traditional acoustic music and carved out a musical niche all their own in the hearts of fans and critics, alike. Over the past couple of years, they released 2015’s Undercover, a covers EP, followed by 2016’s Ladies & Gentlemen, an album featuring multiple female guest vocalists. Those projects may have seemed like artistic tangents, but they actually proved to be a pretty direct route from there to Gravity.
Montana-bred bluegrass outfit The Kitchen Dwellers are captivating fans across the country with their high-energy live performances and unique approach to traditional music that fans have dubbed “Galaxy Grass.” Formed in 2010 while attending college at Montana State, the group has burst onto the bluegrass scene sharing the stage with acts such as Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters and Twiddle. In recent years, the band has begun to tour nationally hitting notable venues and festivals around the country including The Brooklyn Bowl, The Fox Theatre, Delfest, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Northwest String Summit, and The Frendly Gathering.
Gipsy Moon is a five-piece group of artists on an endless musical journey, sharing songs with the hopes of planting inspiration into the soul, starting a fire in the heart, and building community that invokes love in its wildest manifestations.
They are an innovative folk-group of five from the mountains of Nederland, Colorado. Original material mixed with old world-traditionals, Gipsy Moon provides a full spectrum of musical styles. One moment you’ll be kicking up your heels to a folk melody, the next you’ll be ready to tango. “We have one foot in performing arts and another foot in the party realm”, says mandolin player Silas Herman. Ask around at any live performance about Gipsy Moon’s sound and you will get answers as various as, Newgrass, Jazz, Bohemian-Pop, Retro-Slavic, and Eastern-European’; but any die-hard fan can sum it all up simply as, Gipsygrass.
About the Brews
What would a music festival be without some tasty local brews? Butcherknife Brewing, Storm Peak, Upslope, Left Hand, Avery, and Breckenridge Brewing will all make an appearance at Steamboat’s event, just to name a few. These companies are all leaving their mark among the craft beer crowd, and all will be in town to help celebrate community and great music.
Three heated beer tents will serve tastings of the goods from 20 breweries across the state of Colorado from 2:00-5:00pm daily. Consider it three of the happiest hours wrapped into one afternoon. Don’t forget to pick up your Winter Wondergrass tasting cup, so you don’t miss out.
So after all of this, what should you take away?
Winter Wondergrass is on the upswing, and the fact that they have chosen Steamboat Springs as their new home says wonders about our town. Just far enough away from the big cities to feel a sense of solitude, but still providing a strong sense of community, Steamboat hopes to become the home for music festivals of this caliber for many years to come. Music of all genres have always had a home in Steamboat Springs, but we think this may the best fit yet. Although the 2017 festival has sold out well in advance, tickets to late night shows around town, featuring several artists also performing on the mainstages, are still available. Be sure to check out a link to the official Winter Wondergrass website, and don’t miss out on local happenings by staying tuned in to our blog. We will make sure you know exactly what to do in town when you make your trip to see us in beautiful Steamboat Springs.