WinterWonderGrass is returning to Eagle County, but not in the way you may think

Daily staff report
A selection of artists from the popular WinterWonderGrass music festival will kick off the Hot Summer Nights concert series on Tuesady, June 26. Musicians include Andy Hall,of the Infamous Stringdusters; Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon; Adam Aijala of Yonder Mountain Spring Band; three members of Elephant Revival and Scotty Stoughton, founder of WinterWonderGrass and singer for Bonfire Dub.
Jim Dimitroff | ShowLove Media

If you go …

What: WinterWonderGrass All-Stars kicks off Moe’s Original BBQ Hot Summer Nights

When: Tuesday, June 26. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Concert starts at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail

Cost: Free

More info:

VAIL — One of the best things about going to a music festival is getting to see all of your favorite bands on the same bill. For the Hot Summer Nights kickoff concert on Tuesday, June 26, fans will get to see all of their favorite musicians together on the same stage. The first Hot Summer Nights show of the season will feature WinterWonderGrass All-Stars, a supergroup of the festival’s most popular and beloved musicians.

WinterWonderGrass is held in Colorado every winter and will return to Steamboat Springs in February 2019. But local fans won’t have to wait this long to see some of the festival’s headliners play a one-of-a-kind concert this summer in Vail.

For the Hot Summer Nights show, WinterWonderGrass All-Stars will include Andy Hall, dobro player for bluegrass band the Infamous Stringdusters; Andy Thorn, banjo aficionado for Leftover Salmon; Adam Aijala, guitarist for Yonder Mountain Spring Band; and three members of Elephant Revival, including fiddler and vocalist Bridget Law, bassist Dango Rose and percussionist Darren Garvey. Scotty Stoughton, founder of WinterWonderGrass and singer for Bonfire Dub, will also take the stage as part of the All-Stars lineup.

“(We’ve) got all these incredibly talented people who don’t often get a chance to play together,” Stoughton said. “(The show) will be an opportunity to really let loose and have fun.”

Spontaneous show

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Stoughton said the idea for an All-Stars show grew out of these musicians playing regularly together at the WinterWonderGrass festival over the years. While Stoughton said that while the group hasn’t had a chance to rehearse much in advance of the Hot Summer Nights concert due to their different schedules, that’s part of the beauty. He’s excited for the musical magic that happens when these players all jam together.

“It’s really going to be an all-Colorado experience on stage,” Stoughton said. “The show is unique because it’s not a structured band. You have no idea what’s going to happen.”

New collaborations

For locals and visitors who have yet to attend WinterWonderGrass, the concert will indeed be an excellent showcase of what the Colorado music scene has to offer. In January, the Infamous Stringdusters won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. Leftover Salmon is one of Colorado’s most well-known jam bands and is often credited for ushering in “jamgrass,” a mix of traditional bluegrass and a more free-flowing jam style.

Elephant Revival, a folk group that hails from Nederland, recently announced a hiatus after they headlined Red Rocks Amphitheater at the end of May. While many fans are bummed about one of Colorado’s favorite folk bands deciding not to tour in the near future, the group’s members are ready to branch out and find new collaborators.

“This was a group of people that have worked together for the last decade-plus,” said Bridget Law in a recent interview with Denver’s Westword. “The main focus of our twenties was Elephant Revival … Now it’s almost like you’re a family and you’re leaving the nest. There’s a world of opportunity out there for you to experience. For us, that comes in the form of music.”

Fortunately, fans of Elephant Revival will still get to hear three of the group’s former members (Law, Rose and Garvey) play together again this summer as part of the WinterWonderGrass All-Stars show. As a longtime local, Stoughton himself is looking forward to the return of Hot Summer Nights and the fantastic lineup of free concerts being held right here in Vail this year.

“Having a free show and bringing people together, it’s just a nice welcome to summer,” Stoughton said. “I like that there’s always a lot of comradery (at Hot Summer Nights) and (the concerts) really emphasize community.”

It’s hard to think of a better way to celebrate the start of summer than with a free outdoor concert featuring some of the best musicians Colorado has to offer. Come out to WinterWonderGrass All-Stars at Hot Summer Nights for some great music, good vibes and a guaranteed fun time.

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