If the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons were just a concert, headlined tonight by Ray LaMontagne, it wouldn't disappoint. But it isn't just a concert; it's an event where more than a thousand people camp while others picnic or go tubing or simply plant their folding chairs in the middle of the St. Vrain river. An hour north of Denver, the venue has dramatic red rock cliffs, a river running by the stage, a beach where kids play, Steamboat Mountain in the background and trees aglow with colored lights at night.
"It's a pretty magical place," says Planet Bluegrass spokesman Brian Eyster. He says the same of the event, which is preceded each year by a songwriting school and contest. "It's folks with an 's', not necessarily all folk. It's songs with stories, great songwriting that moves us: the old-timey American of Gillian Welch, '60s rockabilly of Chris Isaak and modern folk of Ray LaMontagne."
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The festival costs $40 Friday, $45 for Saturday or Sunday, or $105 for all three days. Camping ranges from $45 to $60. For information, visit www.bluegrass.com/folks.