Folks Festival is next step in Planet Bluegrass’ recovery

Brandi Carlile, performing at Folks Festival in 2011, returns to the lineup for this year's Folks Festival, Aug. 15-17. (Benko Photographics / Courtesy of Planet Bluegrass)

Brandi Carlile, performing at Folks Festival in 2011, returns to the lineup for this year’s Folks Festival, Aug. 15-17. (Benko Photographics / Courtesy of Planet Bluegrass)

By Quentin Young

Planet Bluegrass is around the bend.

The concert producer succeeded in getting its Lyons ranch in shape for the summer season, and the RockyGrass bluegrass festival last month was a milestone. Crews have worked on recovery nearly nonstop since the Planet, located on the banks of the St. Vrain River, was sunk in floodwaters last September.

The sold-out RockyGrass was the first big test of those efforts.

“It felt kind of triumphant,” spokesman Brian Eyster said. “It was remarkably smooth.”

Buoyed by a sold-out RockyGrass, the Planet looks forward to the next large event planned for the ranch, the 24th annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival on Aug. 15-17. It’s preceded by The Song School, a week of song-writing classes attended by students from across the country.

Passes for Friday, Aug. 15, and Sunday, Aug. 17, were available as of Aug. 5, but passes for Saturday, Aug. 16, and three-day passes are sold out. Meadow Park camping passes were available, but on-site camping passes are sold out.

Planet Bluegrass mostly eschewed recovery donations, preferring that such money be directed elsewhere in the flood-ravaged community. But there’s a great way fans can help, Eyster said.

“One thing they can do is bring four friends with them to Folks Fest,” he said. “And they will thank you … This lineup is as strong as we’ve ever had.”

The lineup includes Ani DiFranco, Dispatch, Brandi Carlile, Randy Newman and 16 others. DiFranco played the first Folks Fest in Lyons in 1994. The Sunday lineup includes a 13th Folks Fest appearance by Greg Brown, who has played the festival more than any other artist. Also on the Sunday lineup are local favorites Elephant Revival. The festival kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday with the prestigious Songwriter Showcase.

Beyond Folks Fest, the Planet is planning Yonder Mountain String Band’s Kinfolk Celebration on Sept. 19-20. Yonder Mountain plays sets each night, and the lineup also includes The Travelin’ McCourys, Head for the Hills and Haunted Windchimes.

In the week after RockyGrass, Planet Bluegrass was under threat of flood. But heavy rains worked in the venue’s favor, helping new grass recover from the recent festival crowd.

“Payback —- the weather was finally our best friend,” Eyster said. “It rained right when we needed it.”

If you go

What: Rocky Mountain Folks Festival

When: Aug. 15-17

Where: Planet Bluegrass, 500 Main St., Lyons

Tickets: Friday and Sunday still available, $60 for single-day pass, $50 for Meadow Park Camping pass

Info: bluegrass.com

 
 

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Your host Quentin Young, reporter at the Times-Call (Longmont), and Daily Camera (Boulder) respectively.

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