Planet Bluegrass music festival, Lyons, has seven full time, year round staff. There are about 185 people hired to be part of the festival crew (production, sound, bar, etc.), and they accept around 125 volunteers. (They bring on more folks for their Telluride music festival.) Yes, that’s pretty much a Village!
They pride themselves on being a “sustainable festivation” (see guidelines here.) such as waste diversion (recycle bins), energy conservation, encouraging the use of bikes and golf carts, and more. Note, they had to make some changes due to Covid such as not using reusable plates, and doing social distanced viewing corrals.
Within the office there are several departments working like a bee hive: Operations, Communications, Marketing, Customer Service/Box Office, and Artist Relations. While Craig Ferguson and Brian Eyster are often the face of Planet Bluegrass, there are dozens of mostly unacknowledged workers making it all run smoothly.
“But we all really wear a lot of hats,” says Grace Barrett, Communication and Partnership Coordinator. “Allison manages our volunteers and vendors, Zach handles accounting as well as all operations, Brian (Eyster) does academy and song school prep. Geoff is our box office manager, Amy does everything artist (and wedding) related, and I do all of our social media. Natalie came on two months ago to help us out on phones and with customer service. She’s wonderful!”
“The RockyGrass lineup was stellar. From old crowd favorites to new, younger bands, this lineup had it all,” continued Grace. When asked about the early mini-concerts in spring 2021, with COVID-corral-spacing, and their instant sell out, she said, “Craig (Ferguson) books all the artists and has great relationships in that sphere. When we reached out in March, everyone was really happy to be getting gigs after COVID. Schedules are filling fast now that live music is making its comeback, so these conversations are happening earlier on.”
Below are photos of some of the visible worker bees at each Festival. The Community of Lyons thanks them for benefiting the economy and prestige of Lyons, and for the staff who are so efficient and friendly!
=======NOTE: these photos are best seen on a computer screen,
as the essential text covers part of the image ========
Camping, Transportation, Recycling – in Sustainable Ways
Food prep, and booths
Artists, and backstage activity
Relaxing to the mountain music
All Photographs copyright 2021 by Kathleen Spring
History of Planet Bluegrass Festivals
Planet Bluegrass was founded in October 1988, and their first festival was a sold-out performance at their Telluride Bluegrass Festival, featuring James Taylor. In Lyons, their first annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival was in Estes Park, in August 1991; but their first on the Lyons property was July 1992, RockyGrass Festival. Next came the Folks Festival (which was moved to Lyons) and the First annual Song School in August 1994. A smaller, favorite of locals was the Mabon Festival in September 2001. Then the Wildflower Pavilion was built and had its first concert in September 2007.
The owners survived the disastrous Great Flood of 2013, taking many months to recover the damaged property. And, they survived being closed for more than a year due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. They opened this spring and summer 2021 with sold-out festivals. And, were welcomed back by many eager, happy people from Lyons, and around the country, attending the events.
Planet Bluegrass Festival Articles
= Overview and Review of RockyFest 7/29/21
= Strolling Around the Grounds of a Festival 7/29/21
= Overview and Review of FolksFest 8/12/21