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State Bridge’s last stand

Andrew Fersch
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/ Dave Fleishman
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This weekend marks the end of an era: State Bridge has decided to go out in style with the two-day extravaganza known as YarmonyGrass. The year-old festival began last year at State Bridge and features bands with strong roots in bluegrass but don’t relegate themselves to being just bluegrass bands.

Festival creator Andrew McConathy of McCoy started YarmonyGrass as a way to thank music istelf for what it has done for him over the years.

“I started the festival because of my love for the music that has had such a profound impact on my life,” McConathy said. “Music (is) medicine for the soul.”

In the tradition of bands like The String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon, McConathy hopes to have a festival that allows for striking collaborations between amazing musicians in a fun atmosphere. McConathy has a strict methodology when it comes to choosing bands for the festival.

“I chose the bands for the festival based on a few concepts,” he said. “Namely, that they enjoy playing in Colorado or are based out of here, that they are willing to collaborate with other acts on the bill and that they represent some aspect of the jamgrass or bluegrass tradition.”

String Cheese Incident bassist Keith Moseley co-headlines the festival along with Billy Nershi, Kyle Hollingsworth and Jason Hann, and he’s excited to have an opportunity to return to State Bridge, even if it’s without all of his former bandmates.

“I think I know pretty much everyone playing the festival,” Moseley said. “It’s very exciting to share the bill with so many friends and great musicians.”

Moseley originally hails from Oklahoma but has lived in CO since 1989 and raised two daughters here. He is hopeful that String Cheese will reunite, as the members are still on “great terms.” And although their run has come to an end for now, Moseley has forged ahead, creating a new project with Keller Williams called the WMD’s.

McConathy chose State Bridge as the festival venue for a variety of reasons. He has family at Yarmony Creek Ranch in McCoy nearby, but he also hopes to help State Bridge hang on to a musical legacy in a time of uncertainty.

“Knowing that YarmonyGrass is the last event at this historic venue is very bittersweet,” he said. “While I’m excited that we have such amazing talent to host the last event, it is going to be a very emotional weekend for many of the folks involved who have put an incredible amount of their lives into making State Bridge such a unique place to see live music.”

“It was sad to hear about the fire, but I think everyone is really excited to rock out there one more time,” Moseley said.

Tickets are available online at http://www.statebridge.com or through String Cheese’s ticketing company at http://www.baselineticketing.com. Just over 400 tickets will be sold and camping will be available for free on the Colorado River.

Campers shouldn’t expect to get much sleep, as McConathy says they plan to “go out with one hell of a bang” on Saturday.

“It’s difficult knowing that this is it for State Bridge,” McConathy says. “But I also know that we are going to be putting on a very special show for everyone involved, so maybe we can all remember the venue with fond memories.”


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