Beyond the Lineup: WinterWonderGrass

For eleven years, WinterWonderGrass has been hosting the most prolific pickers and roots artists in their majestic mountain communities. They have expanded from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to Palisades, Tahoe, CA – and beyond. The festival cherishes the connection of music, mountains, nature, and community, and they are inspiring positive changes in their family and fans’ lives. They take people down the river and deep into Baja, as these sacred spaces of the natural world seem to love the music as much as they do. WinterWonderGrass is a community, first and foremost. It is part music festival, part beer festival, and part family reunion. The event contains stages, three of which are under huge heated tents, a kids’ zone, food trucks, a VIP area, and a coffee bar. They offer three hours of free beer, wine, spirits, and N/A tastings from 3-5pm daily. 

When they come together with open hearts and minds, bringing their differences and unique opinions, they begin to dissolve the illusion of separation. They intend to create a platform for artists, attendees, their families, and the natural environment to unite – building a community. 

From the actual roots, Scotty Stoughton, hailing from a background of skiing in Vermont and later engaging in ski racing across the state, made the move to Colorado at 24. There, he formed a band, now recognized as Bonfire Dub, which has graced the Vail area with performances for two decades. Alongside his musical endeavors, Stoughton established himself as a concert promoter through his own production company, Bonfire Entertainment. In early 2023, Stoughton spearheaded the inaugural WinterWonderGrass, initially conceived as a bluegrass festival held in the parking lot of Crazy Mountain Brewery in Edwards Colorado. With a focus solely on grassroots marketing, the two-day event, dubbed WinterWonderGrass, attracted a crowd of 1,400 attendees. 

Featuring headline acts such as The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, and Head for the Hills, as well as additional performers like Grant Farm, MilkDrive, Drunken Hearts, State Bridge All Stars, Olora Brothers, Old Town Pickers, Magic Beans, Hardscrabble, and She Said String Band, the inaugural WinterWonderGrass also boasted participation from eight breweries offering complimentary samples, a feature that would become a staple of the festival in the years to come. 

In 2018, a collective emerged from the stages of WinterWonderGrass with the aim of promoting the presence of women in the bluegrass genre. Composed of female members from predominantly male-dominated bands and women from various road crews, this group took shape and became known as WinterWonderWomen. Bridget Law of Elephant Revival and Lindsay Lou, members of Della Mae, Pixie and the Partygrass Boys, Driftwood, Sweet Lillies, and Upstate, led the ensemble. The mission of WinterWonderWomen is “to highlight top female musicians and enhance opportunities for women and girls through advocacy, mentorship, programming, and performance.” The band debuted with three sets in Steamboat Springs that year. 

This year, two WinterWonderGrass main events will be making their appearances in Steamboat Springs on March 1-3, and Tahoe on April 5-7. There are also events happening in Baja, Mexico and one-off shows along the Colorado/Utah River. If the names on the lineup look unfamiliar to you, don’t worry. The utmost talented musicians will be gracing the mountainous atmosphere of both locations, giving you some of the most prized possessions in nature. 

For more information and tickets, click here.

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