Man against marlin

| April 01, 2006

For 33 years, Telluride has attracted music lovers to late-night concerts and impromptu jam sessions on the street and in hotels. Sign up for a workshop on the Elk Parks Stage in the middle of town to learn from the greats of bluegrass. A four-day pass starts at $175, and one-day passes start at $55. Camping areas are spectacular, and the Colorado town also has unique lodging. Register in advance for camping and lodging, and book tickets in advance for workshops and festival passes. The festival runs from June 15 to 18, 2006. For more information, check out this site.

The RockyGrass Bluegrass Academy in Lyons, Colo. is the premier place to learn how to play bluegrass. From July 23 to 27, take advantage of advice and instruction from professional bluegrass musicians. The classes are small, and students can learn the banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle or bass. Academy evenings feature impromptu jam sessions and barbecue. All experience levels are welcome to the instructional sessions. These classes sell out quickly, so claim your spot soon.

The Song School in Lyons brings songwriters together for a few days of intense writing and learning. If you are a budding songwriter or have been writing for years, instructors will teach you how to become a better songwriter and performer. For four days and nights, students compose and perform songs in jam sessions, which, of course, include barbecue. For more information on the Song School and RockyGrass Bluegrass Academy, log on to this site.

It isn’t difficult to find a bluegrass festival in the Bluegrass State, and the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration in Rosine, Ky. is the fertile crescent of the banjo.

Bill Monroe, whom many consider the “Father of Bluegrass,” was born in Rosine in 1911, where he learned and developed his bluegrass skills. After he died, the Monroe Bluegrass Music Foundation built a museum and amphitheater as part of the Rosine Project. Monroe’s childhood home has also been restored as a museum for visitors.

More than 4,500 fans turn out to the Jerusalem Ridge Festival to honor Bill Monroe’s legacy and to hear acts like Tommy Brown and Country Line Grass, and Dave Davis and the Warrior River Boys. The amphitheater, built in a ravine among tall pine trees, is a beautiful and unique setting for bluegrass concerts.

A four-day pass to the grounds is $68, and one-day passes can be purchased individually. Visitors should bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the music in its natural setting. The international Bluegrass Museum is located nearby in Owensboro. For more information about Jerusalem Ridge, check out this site.

The pluck of a banjo resonates best in the mountains, and the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival is located at the main gateway to the Grand Teton Mountains and Yellowstone National Park.

A little less simplistic than a guitar and a stage in the woods, Grand Targhee is a self-contained resort in Alta, Wy., with mountain condos, shopping and hot tubs. But at 10,000 feet, the Grant Tetons rise above the rest of the world to host one of the most unique bluegrass festivals in the country.

The Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Aug. 11 to 13, is in its 19th year and is a favorite among locals and travelers. The 2006 lineup includes artists like Tim O’Brien and Uncle Earl, and tent camping in the Tetons provides perfect bluegrass ambience. Good food, arts and crafts, and festival games provide the perfect combination of fun and relaxation for festival goers.

Of course, impromptu jam sessions and music contests are prevalent throughout the weekend. Check out this site for ticket information, lodging and band schedule.

Country music doesn’t get much bigger than the Country Fever Music Festival in Pryor, Okla. This year’s acts include Travis Tritt, Carrie Underwood, Neal McCoy and Brooks and Dunn. From June 8 to 11, more than 35,000 fans will pour into the tiny Oklahoma town to hear what’s happening in country music.

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