Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass on tap for Tahoe bluegrass festival
WinterWondergrass Tahoe Lineup
Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang
Scott Law & Ross James’ Cosmic Twang
Visit winterwondergrasstahoe.com for further information.
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — A few years back, organizers of WinterWondergrass, a bluegrass and beer festival held in Vail, Colo., sought to stake its flag in another pocket of the West that, like Vail, richly celebrates the mountain lifestyle, environmental consciousness and community focus.
Not to mention, one that appreciates good tunes and good brew.
Quickly, the festival organizers landed on the ideal location: North Lake Tahoe.
With that, the inaugural WinterWondergrass Tahoe broke ground last year at Squaw Valley Ski Resort.
“It just made the most sense,” said Jennifer Brazill, partner and marketing director for WWG. “We really wanted to go into a place that really fit who we are as a people, and Squaw was a perfect match for us.”
SETTING A PRECEDENT
The match was so perfect that WinterWondergrass is returning to Tahoe for a second year this weekend.
The three-day bluegrass and craft beer festival featuring more than 20 bands and 16 California breweries will take place Friday-Sunday, April 1-3, at Squaw Valley.
“We’re so excited,” Brazill said. “We love being a part of the Tahoe community. It was overwhelming how awesome and welcoming the community was last year. The community as a whole brought us in with open arms and made us feel welcome here — we ended up selling out.
“It kind of blew away our expectations after year one.”
One shouldn’t be surprised if tickets sell out this year, too.
Headliners for WinterWondergrass Tahoe are a crop of acclaimed bands with devoted followings, including Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon and Elephant Revival.
“A lot of these bands just played with us in Colorado last month and they can’t wait to come here (to Tahoe),” Brazill said.
THE POWER OF POSITIVITY
With the striking snow-clad Sierra Nevada as their backdrop and a swath of raucous fans hugging the stage, the WWG performers are primed to stir up a joyous feet-stomping time all weekend long.
Just ask Carey Harmon, drummer for Railroad Earth, which is making its WinterWondergrass debut.
“It’s always about the vibe and setting something with the music,” Harmon, whose six-piece outfit blends elements of bluegrass, rock, jazz and more. “They have a great location and the lineup and the positivity of what they’re doing is pretty great. It’s pretty easy to want to be involved with it.”
Frequenters of the region, the New Jersey-based Railroad Earth has cultivated a strong following in the region, packing venues like the Crystal Bay Casino like clockwork. Additionally, the group has hosted the Hangtown Halloween Ball in Placerville for the past five years.
Harmon said the group is eager to take its sound to the North Tahoe outdoors.
“It’s going to be great to be back here for something else,” he said. “We’re really excited; it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Notably, the premium festival pass, the Music and Mountain ticket, includes all three days and a private show on top of Emigrant Lift with the WinterWondergrass All-stars on Sunday, April 3.
A focus on sustainable living
WinterWondergrass supports local North Lake Tahoe non-profits with a focus on sustainable living. This year, the festival is partnering with Tahoe Food Hub, Tahoe Fund, The Shane McConkey Foundation and Rex Foundation.
“We base a lot of what we do as a brand on our lifestyle, our vibe,” Brazill said. “That’s why sustainable living is so important to us. We can’t wait to come back to Tahoe and really dig back in and reconnect with everybody. It’s a fun place.”