This year there is an interesting juxtaposition between the Rockygrass Bluegrass Festival, which begins Friday, and last month’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
The prestigious Telluride festival featured local groups such as
Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain, String Cheese, and Elephant Revival
in the distant San Juan Mountains. And yet, at the nearby, and also
very prestigious Rockygrass Bluegrass Festival at Planet Bluegrass in
Lyons there are no local Nederland bands officially participating.
And local musicians are presently receiving the best instruction and
training, in the world, at the festival’s Academy.
The teachers at the Academy at Rockygrass are the best musicians in
the world teaching at the best time and place that you could ever
conceive of, says Silas Herman of Gipsy Moon.
Herman has been attending the Academy since 2008.
For a week before the festival begins, Planet Bluegrass offers
musicians the opportunity to immerse themselves, as active
participants, in the world of bluegrass. From small classes with
world-class professional musicians, to sessions on group jamming,
vocal coaching, songwriting, one-on-one instruction, and a broad
variety of electives including learning fiddle tunes, practice
techniques, writing instrumentals, accompaniment, improvisation, and
Evenings feature band scrambles, barbecues, and plenty of jamming for
novice through advanced ability levels. ;
Starting this year separate courses in songwriting and vocals are also
Also a lucky few local, aspiring instrument builders will have the
chance to walk away from the festival with a hand-built instrument in
just four days. All the instrument kits allow students to sample a
variety of building techniques and materials during the process. Along
with the mandolin family of instruments, this year two mandolin
building graduates are building travel guitars.
Among the featured bands and performers at this 41st Rockygrass are:
Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush, Carolina Chocolate Drops,
Jerry Douglas, Head for the Hills, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, and
Keller Williams with The Travelin’ McCourys.