How does one go through summer and the festival season without a trust fund? Telluride, shows at Red Rocks and points north and local shows can really add up and don't leave a lot of time for working. But there's still a festival out there that remains relatively cheap and includes tons of great talent, and for those of us in-state, it's the event that kicks off the summer festival season.
The affordable, easy-to-get-to Pagosa Folk 'n' Bluegrass Festival begins Friday and features great national, regional and local acts. While most of the festival takes place on beautiful Reservoir Hill, Friday's music is in the Pagosa Springs Town Park Gazebo. This free night of music will feature Jeff and Vida and The Boston Boys. Here's the rundown on what's not to miss. Get to these and do your best to catch as much as you can.
The headliners are Nashville's Infamous Stringdusters on Saturday and the John Jorgenson Quintet on Sunday. The Stringdusters have gotten lots of coverage in this paper, as a result of coming through the area often, having a local in the band and, most importantly, being quite good. This five-piece plays all original acoustic bluegrass-based music.
The John Jorgenson Quintet features guitarists Jorgenson, known as one of the early players in America's Gypsy-Jazz movement, and was even a member of Elton John's band for five years. He's also recorded with Darol Anger and David Grisman.
Speaking of Grisman, his son Sam will be appearing with The Boston Boys.
The band is a group of bluegrass and roots youngsters who have all studied at one point or another at the Berklee School of Music. That makes their tour of the festival circuit the equivalent of a field trip, without those annoying chaperones making sure you behave yourself in the campground.
In addition to bassist Sam, The Boston Boys are made up of Eric Robertson on mandolin, Nate Leath on fiddle, Stash Wyslouch on guitar and Nick Falk on drums.
There also will be appearances by The Badly Bent, Tony Furtado (who used to make regular rounds in Durango but hasn't in ages) and The Expedition Quartet featuring Jake Schepps on banjo, Ryan Drickey on violin, Ian Hutchison on bass and Colorado treasure Greg Schochet on guitar, who often is referred to in some Durango circles as the best musician in the state.
As always, the real highlights on Reservoir Hill are the impromptu campground picking sessions. Last year, most musicians stayed in the campground, providing more music around the fire than they did from the stage. All that extra music comes with the prize of admission. Let festival season truly begin.
Liggett_b@fortlewis.eduBryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager.