Acoustic Bliss

Bring a Blanket: Spreading out in front of the stage
Bring a Blanket: Spreading out in front of the stage

The Folks Festival may not be as popular as Telluride Bluegrass and Rockygrass, but this can’t-miss event up in Lyons draws some of the best acts in the country and there’s something refreshing about the vibe. So pony up for your tickets and plan for a chill weekend of tunes and lawn chairs.

I would venture to say that Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, Colorado, is the most magical place in the country to see music. I would go one step further too and confess that I prefer the Folks Festival to the more popular Rockygrass. Maybe it’s because Folks is less popular (though it may present a line-up with better name recognition). Maybe it’s because I’m more of a fan of eclectic acoustic music than I am of pure bluegrass (I know, I know, I just spoke heresy). Maybe it’s because the first time I went to the festival, I took my then-two-year-old daughter to hear Jeff Tweedy on a perfect summer night (and he apologized for telling members of the audience to shut up during a show at the Boulder Theater).

For the Faithful
For the Faithful

No matter the reason, the Folks Festival is my favorite music happening in the state. This year, the event, which runs August 14–16 offers yet another impressive line-up. There will be standbys, including Gillian Welch, Rufus Wainwright, Susan Tedeschi and Dougie MacLean alongside Portland indie hipsters M.Ward and Blind Pilot and icons like Don McLean (how can you pass up a massive “American Pie” singalong?). But the best thing about the Folks Fest is still the location. Lyons is one town on the Front Range that has bucked rampant development to stay quirky. Plus, its canyons, streams and trails offer enough adrenaline to make you feel justified in just sitting in your lawn chair, drinking a Dale’s Pale and taking in the tunes. So take a gander at our mini-guide to what you’ll hear at the festival and buy your tickets soon.

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