Astronomers have some sort of agreement that summer begins late in June each year. They have got to get out more.
Today marks the first day of summer as the 17th annual Bluegrass on the River festival kicked off this evening on the banks of the Arkansas River in Pueblo, Colorado. A down home event in my hometown, BGotR emphasizes traditional bands and a family atmosphere. A dual-stage arrangement comfortably accomodates the attentive crowds sheltering from the high plains sun beneath majestic cottonwoods. The River Stage offers the only amplification to performers standing over the fast-running river while the unplugged, intimate Pickin' Parlor tent seats perhaps 150 music lovers on folding chairs and hay bales.
The highlight of tonight's opening lineup was Sons and Brothers, a quartet that has found its stride through plenty of solid touring. The setlist included previews of tracks from their upcoming CD, "Count The Score Even" as well as crowd-pleasing standards delivered with classic mando chops and tight four part harmony.
BGotR has offered a nurturing place for young bands seeking a place to hone their skills, a list that includes Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band, and the brilliant Hit and Run Bluegrass Band. This year will be no exception, as the weekend kicks into high gear tomorrow with Skaggs Family Records artists Cadillac Sky, the youthful exuberance of Pagosa Hot Strings and BGotR favorite Hickory Project.
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