Bluegrass festival starts new kind of fun |

Bluegrass festival starts new kind of fun

Kudos to George Gertz and Jody Andrews of Glenwood Springs for organizing the first Sunlight Mountain Bluegrass Festival, and to Sunlight Mountain Resort for hosting the event.

The event brought in dozens of musicians and entertained scores of music lovers over the Fourth of July weekend, in the green and cooler-than-town setting on the ski slopes.

Clinics for pickers, fiddlers, clogging and harmony vocalizing filled the morning hours, and the music ran from midday until well after dark. Vendors set up booths to promote handmade string instruments and solar energy, sell bluegrass CDs, give massages, and serve beer and food.

In short, it was the kind of fun event that people like, and one that is sure to keep growing.

Yes, the crowds were sparse through the weekend, which may have discouraged the organizers. But few homegrown events draw huge crowds the first time out of the gate. It takes repetition, and improvements, to build an audience.

Amy Reinholds of Lyons travels with the Open Road bluegrass band, selling their CDs at festivals like Sunlight’s. She rated the turnout good for a new festival, and wisely noted, “This is how Telluride started.”

Telluride’s festival is 30 years old, and it’s become a huge event, over time. In its early years, however, it was a small-scale event not much different from this first venture at Sunlight.

The Sunlight Mountain Bluegrass Festival could be a real winner.

Here’s hoping the Gertz and Andrews hang on to their vision and keep the bluegrass energy flowing.

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