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Sweet strains of bluegrass
hit Lyons

Travis Henry
For the Vacation Guide

   LYONS Nestled along the St. Vrain River and in the shadow of nearby cliffs, the homestead at 500 West Main St. in Lyons is a place like no other.

   Kids scamper and scurry through the day-care center located at the site, while dogs run freely over the 19 acres.

   A large house sits in the middle of  the land where an ex-lawyer, his wife and their family now reside.

    Catty-corner to the home sits another older building that houses a thriving, but non-traditional, business.

   And when summer comes, the ex-lawyer and his wife open up the gates and hold a big concert on the stage in the back yard.

   This is Planet Bluegrass.

   Just entering the funky enclave brings with it a different attitude, something imperative to the people who work there while they organize the biggest bluegrass festivals in the state.

   "A couple of elk visited us a week ago and just hung out for a few days," Planet Bluegrass publicist Maria Camillo said, explaining the peacefulness of the property.

   The employees all bring their dogs to work and an office cat named Corbin keeps the mice away.

   Much of their work is concentrated on their famous Telluride Bluegrass Festival held hundreds of miles a way.

   But twice during the summer, Lyons becomes the focus of acoustical jams at what some workers call a "bluegrass compound."

   The compound is owned by lawyer-turned-promoter Craig Ferguson and his wife Sally Truitt, a former musician Ferguson met while at Telluride, according to Camillo.

   Ferguson acts as festival director while Truitt is the festival's art director.

   This year the lineup at the three-day July 28-30 RockyGrass festival includes 18 performers including Rick Skaggs, Peter Rowan and Doc Watson.

   RockyGrass  is in its 28th year and on-site camping for the event is already sold out.

   There are still spots left in the Meadow Park campground in Lyons and tickets for the shows are still available.

   On the three days before the festival, Bluegrass musicians also hold a RockyGrass Bluegrass Academy where aspiring musicians can learn from the best while camping and barbecuing at the site.

   On a different tune, the 10th annual Folks Festival is scheduled Aug. 18-20.

   This year the festival will feature more than 20 artists including Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffith.

   An annual songwriting summit along the shores of the St. Vrain River is held on the three days prior to the Folks Festival where novice songwriters can receive instruction from accomplished songwriters.

   "Festivarian's" are allowed to bring their own instruments to the shows and can also record any of the music played at the events.

    Kids under 12 are also admitted free with a paying adult. 

   For information on prices and the festival call 303-823-0848 or 1-800-624-2422.

   Planet Bluegrass also has a Web site with details of the upcoming festivals including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, at

July 28-30, 2000


  • Big Twang Theory
  • Yonder Mtn. String Band
  • Rhonda Vincent & The Rage
  • SugarBeat
  • Nashville Bluegrass Band
  • Peter Rowan & Crucial Country


  • Mighty Squirrel
  • Songs From The Mountain
  • Blue Highway
  • John Hartford Strings Band
  • Doc Watson & Ricky Skaggs
  • Ralph Stanley with Jim Lauderdale
  • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder


  • Open Road
  • Flinner, Grier & Phillips
  • Retrograss
  • Doc Watson
  • The Flatheads with Jerry Douglas and Tim O'Brien

Aug. 18-20, 2000


  • Folks Showcase
  • Kelly Joe Phelps
  • Catie Curtis
  • Martin Sexton


  • Cheryl Wheeler
  • Greg Brown
  • Nanci Griffith


  • Guy Clark
  • Solas
  • Emmylou Harris & Spyboy

Also scheduled to appear:

  • Dakota Blonde  Mary Gouthier
  • Diane Zeigler  Tom Rush
  • The Nields  Willy Porter
  • Stacey Earle  Lucy Kaplansky
  • Shana Morrison & Roy Rogers

More acts to be announced...

All acts and times subject to change

Children 12 and under are free for the Festival and camping, but must be accompanied by a paying adult.