This annual event, held at Snowbird is a treat for lovers of folk and bluegrass music. Big names and locals alike perfom in an outdoor setting.
The festival lasts 3 days, with Friday being free. On Saturday and Sunday, there is a fee to get into the tent and near the stage, or you can just hang out in Snowbird Center and listen from a distance. The real fun, though is being up close so you can see the musicians and also enjoy the acoustics of the tent.
On Friday night (free) there is a "Band Scramble" where participants put their names into barrels labeled with the name of an instrument they want to play (i.e. there is a barrel for guitar, one for drums, one for banjo, etc). Then the MC picks names randomly out of the barrels and new "bands" are formed. These new groups have 30 minutes to rehearse before they perform on the stage.
Saturday and Sunday begin with instrument and songwriter competitions. The rules for each contest varies (in the instrument competition, there can be no vocals and each contestant gets 5 minutes, in the songwriter competition, they get 15 minutes...) and both have blind judging (the judges no nothing about the performers or their pieces.) Contestants are judged by their skill and stage presence. Prizes are significant and range from new instruments to cash prizes and festival passes.
The headliner bands start up around 3 p.m. and continue on into the evening. After the last artist has finished, there is a jam session in the Jamming Room and continues as long as the musicians want to keep going or up until around midnight, whichever comes first.
The performers, although all classified as Folk or Bluegrass have such varied talent and styles. Come and enjoy music from slow sultry voices to fast, frenzied picking.
Barbequed food, art vendors and shops are all open to the public and there is no need for a wristband. Along with the music, there are Snowbird's summer rides (alpine slide, mechanical bull, zip rider and bungee trampolines) that can have you soaring through the open air for a fee.
Coolers are allowed, but you can't bring in glass bottles or outside alcohol (wine and beer available for sale). Also, no animals are allowed, but jamming, dancing, and having fun is both allowed and encouraged.
Stay in one of Snowbird's many fine lodging options or camp in one of the Forest Service campgrounds in LIttle Cottonwood Canyon.
Tip: Sign up to be a volunteer and work a few hours and get into the rest of festival for free.
Images and graphics by Theresa A. Husarik