WinterWonderGrass kicks off Thursday with Beaver Creek concert
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What: WinterWonderGrass Festival kick off concert.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Doors for the pre-show events open at 6:30 p.m., with Bonfire Dub hitting the stage at 7:30 p.m., followed by Elephant Revival and special WWG guests.
Cost: $30 at the door.
Bridget Law isn’t second fiddle to anything lately, especially this weekend. The fiddle player might end up logging the most time with her instrument of any musician at this year’s WinterWonderGrass Festival, taking place in Avon Friday through Sunday.
At the kick-off concert taking place tonight at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, Law will perform with both of the bands playing. She’s a member of Elephant Revival, a Nederland-based quintet known for its Celtic, Americana and folk-inspired grooves. Law also plays the fiddle in Bonfire Dub, a local roots music band that Scotty Stoughton founded. Stoughton is also the producer of WinterWonderGrass.
On Friday, Elephant Revival will be the third band to play on the new stage in Avon. And the rest of the weekend, Law will roam the festival as Stoughton’s “artist-at-large,” collaborating with various artists who are available.
“This is what I do and it’s fun, so sign me up,” she said.
It’s become tradition to kick off WinterWonderGrass with a concert at the Vilar Center.
“This opening night concert is a great, intimate way to kick off the festival weekend by coming inside and having an up-close experience with these artists and brewers in the unique setting of the Vilar Center,” said Kris Sabel, the Vilar Center’s executive director.
Law performed with Bonfire Dub at the final Apres Avon concert for the World Alpine Ski Championships on Feb. 14.
“I saw the new stage — I’m super pumped,” she said. “(WinterWonderGrass) is really growing. People seem really into it and the town seems really supportive. And Thursday night we have a chance to gather in a gorgeous venue. The Vilar is my favorite venue ever. When people ask me, I say ‘the Vilar Center.’”
Along with Elephant Revival and Bonfire Dub, a few special guests will perform.
“We’re hoping Fruition can get there in time; and Tyler Grant should be there,” Law said.
“We can’t think of a better way to kick off WinterWonderGrass than a family-style gathering featuring some of our favorite artists, brewers and event photographers,” Stoughton said. “The vibe is going to be meet-and-greet style with many WinterWonderGrass artists on hand to sit in, mingle and sink into the luscious Beaver Creek surrounding of the VPAC.”
PHOTOS AND BEERS
In addition to the music, tonight’s event will include a curated photo gallery in the lobby of the Vilar Center with signed photographs from past WinterWonderGrass artists including Infamous Stringdusters, Fruition, Greensky Bluegrass and Elephant Revival. Event photographers Dylan Langille, Michael Liggett, John-Ryan Lockman, and Zach Mahone curated the gallery — choosing photos that encompass the festival vibe. Based in the Vail Valley, Mahone’s work has been featured in the New York Times. He is the house photographer for the Vilar Performing Arts Center, as well as an event photographer for key events with the Vail Valley Foundation, Vail Resorts and WinterWonderGrass to name a few. Also based in Vail, Lockman specializes in live music photography, working with bands/events such as The String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He has been a staff photographer for WinterWonderGrass the past three years.
“It was exciting for us all to get together and choose the photos that we believe best tell the story of WinterWonderGrass — with the artists and the people making this such a great event to be a part of each year,” Mahone said.
All of the prints are framed in beetle kill pine wood, custom framed by Vail Valley carpenter Sean Grace. The photos will be sold via a silent auction; all proceeds will be donated to the festival’s 2015 non profits: Walking Mountains, Chris Anthony Youth Foundation and All Hands Volunteers.
Starting at 7 p.m., ticket holders can sample beer from Great Divide in the lobby. Between sets, there will be brew talks and beer samples from WinterWonderGrass brewers Great Divide Brewing Company and Crazy Mountain Brewing Company. Beer from the brewers will also be on sale at the bar, which opens at 6:30 p.m.
IN THE STUDIO
Law has been in the studio a lot recently.
“Technically this has been our break,” she said, referring to Elephant Revival, “but I have to say, recording and being in the studio is one of the best parts of the job. It’s a really positive and empowering experience.”
The band is putting together a live CD/DVD combo, recorded at the Boulder Theater. It will be released “in the next couple of months.”
“It’s our first live record and totally cool because it’s such a part of what we do: play shows. This record will capture that. There’s also a bunch of unreleased material on that so it’ll be new for fans,” she said.
A new band member will perform with Elephant Revival for the first time on the Vilar stage tonight.
“His name is Charlie Rose; he plays everything but (mostly) pedal steel and banjo,” Law said.
Bonfire Dub has been spending time recording as well.
“Bonfire Dub is getting ready to release two really good tracks with a music video attached to each of them,” Law said.
When Law isn’t busy performing over the course of the next four days, she’s hoping to catch a few performances.
“I love Paper Bird,” she said. “I’m excited to see Les Claypool. The Stringdusters are good friends. It’s all great.”
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