By Crista Munro
Special to The PREVIEW
This year marks the 23rd annual Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs, and what a journey it’s been. The festival kicks off on Reservoir Hill on Friday, Aug. 31, at 3 p.m. and ends on Sunday, Sept. 2, around 9 p.m.
People travel from all over the country each year to experience the amazing musical lineup, which this year includes a wealth of talent and variety of musical styles from artists The Dawg Trio (featuring mandolin legend David Grisman, award-winning banjoist Danny Barnes and bassist Samson Grisman), Nahko And Medicine For The People, Sam Bush, Amy Helm, We Banjo 3, The Accidentals, Sam Reider and the Human Hands, Front Country, Jon Stickley Trio, Jacob Jolliff Band, Darling West, The Western Flyers, Bonnie and the Clydes, Tallgrass and Courtney Hartman and Taylor Ashton.
The lineup is a blend of returning artists mixed with lots of new faces, too. Renowned mandolin player (and fiddler) Sam Bush is no stranger to Reservoir Hill, but, incredibly, this will be David Grisman’s first time appearing at a FolkWest festival. We Banjo 3 is bringing their high energy Celtic dance music back after completely wowing the audience at the 2017 festival. From newgrass to Irish trad to rhythmic folk rock, the one thing all this year’s bands have in common is talent. There are many bands on the lineup that residents of Southwest Colorado wouldn’t have an opportunity to see without traveling to a major city.
All the incredible live music will take place on two stages throughout the weekend — the Main Stage and the Late Night Stage, a smaller and more intimate setting that takes place on Friday and Saturday nights after the main stage sets end. In addition to the musical performances, the family-friendly event will also feature music workshops, arts and crafts vendors, a food court, beer and wine garden, morning yoga sessions, guided walks of Reservoir Hill and lots of picking circles in the campgrounds.
Festival admission is free for children 12 and under (accompanied by an adult) and there will be plenty to do and see in the Four Corners Kids tent. On Friday, kids can enjoy a juggling show at 2 p.m. and upcycled arts and crafts from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday have free crafts from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., face painting, juggling shows by Andy the Juggler, balloon animal artistry by Ruby Balloon and a special performance of “Pinkalicious the Musical” from Pagosa Springs’ own Thingamajig Theater Company each afternoon at 3 p.m.
The free parking shuttles will start operating on Friday, Aug. 31, at 12:30 p.m. Venue gates open at 1 p.m. Festival-goers may bring their own blankets, tarps or chairs for seating in the meadow, or may claim a spot on one of the 1,100 general admission seats under the tent. Coolers and outside food are allowed; however, alcoholic beverages, glass containers and unsealed beverages may not be brought in. Free filtered water is available in the food court and participants are encouraged to bring their own (empty) refillable water containers.
The festival is supported in part by sponsorships, generous donors and a matching grant from Colorado Creative Industries.
Lots more information about this year’s Four Corners Folk Festival is available at the website, www.folkwest.com, or by calling (877) 472-4672. A free festival app is available for download; search “FolkWest” in your app store. If you’ve never been to Reservoir Hill for a FolkWest festival, this is the year to do it. Bring the family and come up for a day. You’ll be hooked.