NedFest expects big turnout for Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Hard Working Americans

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, shown at Boulder's Fox Theatre in 2012, might draw record numbers to the annual NedFest. (JJoshua Elioseff / The Denver Post)

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, shown at Boulder’s Fox Theatre in 2012, might draw record numbers to the annual NedFest. (JJoshua Elioseff / The Denver Post)

By Quentin Young

In 2011, a Friday night set during NedFest by jamband-scene noblemen Bill Kreutzmann, George Porter Jr., Steve Kimock and Kyle Hollingsworth came close to drawing a capacity crowd. The one other time NedFest neared capacity was when the Yonder Mountain String Band headlined more than a decade ago, according to Kris McFarland, who books the festival.

But the festival has yet to sell out.

A capacity crowd at NedFest, the annual music festival that takes place in Nederland and is now in its 17th year, is 1,700 people. Organizers are preparing to hit that limit for the first time on Day 2 of this year’s festival, when the Chris Robinson Brotherhood shares headline billing with the Hard Working Americans.

“Saturday tickets are selling so fast,” McFarland said earlier this week. “No matter what, it’s going to be one of the biggest nights we’ve ever had.”

The NedFest lineup includes the Hard Working Americans, who are no strangers to the Boulder County area. The band filmed much of its documentary "The First Waltz" at the Boulder Theater. (Tobin Voggesser / Courtesy photo)

The NedFest lineup includes the Hard Working Americans, who are no strangers to the Boulder County area. The band filmed much of its documentary “The First Waltz” at the Boulder Theater. (Tobin Voggesser / Courtesy photo)

The festival, fully named The Nederland Music and Arts Festival, is scheduled for Aug. 28-30 at the Jeff Guercio Memorial Baseball Field, on the west bank of Barker Reservoir.

The event features about 20 local and touring artists and is supplemented by after-hour shows in local venues. Single-day and multi-day passes are available, as are tent camping passes.

Chris Robinson gained fame in the early 1990s as frontman of The Black Crowes. His ripping, gripping, gritty vocals, paired with the blues-rock riff machine that was the Crowes, served as a welcome shot of southern spirits in an era awash in grunge opiates. Robinson has continued to hew to the belt-it-out performance style in subsequent projects, though he has trended toward a stoner vibe that’s certified approved in Colorado, especially since the legalization of weed.

The Brotherhood’s guitarist, Neal Casal, also plays with the Hard Working Americans, which meant the bands came as something of a package. McFarland approached Robinson after initially going after HWA and learning the best way to lure them was to also lure The Brotherhood. Robinson put the band’s fee within NedFest’s reach by agreeing to accept some of its fee through ticket revenue, McFarland said.

The festival’s closing band on Sunday, Cracker, is an unusual choice for NedFest. The band, which also topped charts in the 1990s with mainstream rock gems such as “Low” and “Eurotrash Girl,” is an outlier in NedFest’s jamband-bluegrass norm. But McFarland said festivalgoers have reacted enthusiastically to Cracker’s presence on the bill.

The NedFest lineup also includes Vince Herman, MarchFourth!, Gasoline Lollipops, Caribou Mountain Collective, Danny Shafer, Intuit and Gipsy Moon. Herman, NedFest’s most frequent performer and erstwhile Nederland resident who moved to Oregon, has played every festival but two, including last year.

“This is a little bit of a homecoming,” McFarland said of Herman.

NedFest is produced by the nonprofit Peak to Peak Music Education Association, which was formed after the 2011 death of festival founder “Michigan Mike” Torpie. The festival is designed with families in mind, and children 12 and under get in free. The event offers a kids’ area and activities. It also features crafts and fine art, Colorado microbrews and food vendors.

Organizers encourage festivalgoers traveling from the Boulder area to use RTD buses, which run until after NedFest shows end.

Quentin Young: quentin@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/qpyoungnews

If you go

What: NedFest

When: Aug. 28-30

Where: Jeff Guercio Memorial Baseball Field, 151 East St., Nederland

Tickets: $38-$128; camping passes also available

Info: nedfest.org

 
 

Your host

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

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