Late every July the small mountain town of Lyons, Colorado becomes the center of the bluegrass universe as generations of legends and future-legends converge on the red rock cliffs of the St. Vrain River. Originally founded by Bill Monroe and members of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society, today’s RockyGrass is known internationally as one of the great traditional bluegrass festivals. 3-day passes for the 41st RockyGrass sold-out in early January (a month earlier than ever before), but watch for the release of single-day tickets later this winter along with the complete single-day lineup. In the meantime, take a peek at the preliminary 2013 lineup, listen to the archive of KGNU radio broadcasts from last year’s festival, and connect with your fellow festivarians on Facebook and the Festivarian Forum.
RockyGrass is held at the Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons, Colorado – located along the wooded banks of the beautiful St. Vrain River. The historic quarry town of Lyons is just 15 miles north of Boulder in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The town is known for its antique stores, restaurants, artists, and musicians.
Numerous camping options nearby include: on-site at the festival grounds, under the cliffs at Meadow Park (a quick five-minute walk from the festival), or at the Olson Campground (a 10-minute walk or via the free shuttle buses).
Non-musical activities in and around Lyons include single-track mountain biking at Hall Ranch, river sports in the Meadow Park whitewater course, touring through Rocky Mountain National Park (40 minutes up the hill from Lyons), and hiking in the nearby National Forest lands.
A Day at RockyGrass
A day at RockyGrass starts with a campground breakfast or a quick walk to downtown Lyons to relax at one of the fine coffee shops. Whether walking the campgrounds or Main Street in Lyons, live bluegrass music already fills the air. Soon the sound of bagpipes echoes off the canyon walls, signaling the opening of the festival grounds and the morning tarp rush.
As the afternoon heats up, kids of all ages flock to the sandy beach – beach toys, inner tubes, and all. Meanwhile older folks make new friends with tarp dwellers close to the main stage or under the shady trees. Away from the stage, kids work on crafts in the family tent, while musicians form jam circles in the woods along the river or listen to an instrument contest or workshop in the Wildflower Tent.
All day the audience is treated to headliner after headliner on the main stage. Then when the final headliner finishes their set on the main stage, the campgrounds come alive with jam sessions. A walk through the campground is a vital part of the RockyGrass experience – hearing pickers of all ages and backgrounds sharing in the common language of bluegrass music.