Music festival returns to river at Rancho del Rio |

Music festival returns to river at Rancho del Rio

Caramie Schnellcschnell@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyBluesky Greengrass, a five-piece band from Michigan, is performing at YarmonyGrass music festival in Rancho del Rio on Saturday night.

RANCH DEL RIO, Colorado -Fisherman and boaters playing on the Colorado River between Radium and Rancho del Rio on Saturday are in for a treat. “We’ve created what we think might be the world’s first floating stage,” said West Vail resident Andrew McConathy, the founder of YarmonyGrass music festival, which takes place Friday and Saturday at Rancho del Rio. The festival kicks off Friday night with live music starting at 6 p.m. The festival continues Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. During a four-hour concert break on Saturday, concertgoers can take float trips with musicians. During the float trip, musicians will be able to “hop” onto a floating stage -two rafts tied together – with their instruments. McConathy said that most musicians are excited about the float trip and he expects 15 to 20 musicians to participate. The Colorado River Center, based at Rancho del Rio, is offering guided float trips from Radium to Rancho del Rio for $25 per person. One of the musicians planning to take part in the float trip is Keith Moseley, the bass player for Nailhouse, the band headlining the festival today and Saturday. Moseley, one of the founding members of the String Cheese Incident, will be returning for the third year to play YarmonyGrass. He’s excited about the new venue and said he expects it to be a homegrown, intimate festival that combines great live music with the outdoors. Moseley said he is bringing a camper to the site for the weekend and wants to take part in the float trip. “It sounds like a good time,” he said.

Paul Hoffman, the mandolin player for the Michigan-based band Greensky Bluegrass, first attended YarmonyGrass last year when it took place in Copper Mountain. The first two years the festival took place at State Bridge, but organizers were forced to move it to Copper Mountain last year because State Bridge burned down. “Last year, at Copper Mountain, it took place later in the year and it snowed,” Hoffman said. “That was unexpected. For some reason or other I only had sandals so I was tromping around in the snow in sandals.”Along with closing down the festival this year – the five-piece band is the last act Saturday night – Hoffman and his bandmates also want to play the float trip.”I’ll hop on there and play if they have an instrument for me to play, but I probably won’t be taking mine on there – I can’t be playing a waterlogged mandolin for our show,” he said. While nearly 3,000 people attended last year’s festival in Copper Mountain, organizers are expecting between 300 to 500 people at this year’s event. McConathy said he intentionally kept the lineup smaller and sold less tickets in order to “preserve the intimacy” of the event. “Last year it wasn’t intimate,” he said. “We put it in a resort environment and made it kind of corporate. In that case, it’s so easy for me to lose control over so many aspects of the festival. It got so large and I needed help. Now it’s me putting it on with a few key individuals and I get to retain ownership about what the festival looks like and sounds like.”High LIfe Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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