Shows officially started Friday afternoon with The WinterWonderGrass All-Stars taking the main stage. Members from The Travelin’ McCourys, Trampled by Turtles, and other WWG bands played bright and cheery tunes during the long-awaited return to the stage.
The festival moved quickly, alternating between artists on the main stage to three bands at a time in the side stage tents. After The WWG All-Stars, the three-side stages included shows from The Drunken Hearts, The Sweet Lilies, and the Jay Roemer Band.
All three side stage tents were rocking at the same time which made it difficult to catch every show over the course of the weekend, but most bands played more than once allowing fans to see everyone.
The last two main stage acts for Friday night were The Travelin’ McCourys then Lukas Nelson and The Promise of The Real.
Listen to my recording of their opener as the background to my highlights video!
Saturday, day two, opened with shows on the side stages by Buffalo Commons, Morsel, and members from WinterWonderGrass’s sister production RiverGrass. They got things going off on the right foot for a Saturday afternoon before Dustbowl Revival brought a brass-packed act to the WinterWonderGrass main stage.
This wouldn’t be the last show for Dustbowl Revival at WinterWonderGrass, but after they finished on the main stage, Molly Tuttle and her band came on to bring back the classic bluegrass sound to the mountain base.
After Molly Tuttle’s sunset show, the side stages housed The Kitchen Dwellers, Chris Jacobs, and The WonderWomen (Molly Tuttle, Lindsay Lou, Sierra Hull, and others). The Kitchen Dwellers have a stacked residency with WinterWonderGrass this year playing three sets in Steamboat and additional sets at WinterWonderGrass Tahoe.
The night started with a soulful show from War & Treaty. Not only this show but the entire festival revolved around the theme of “hope on the horizon”, and War & Treaty encapsulated it perfectly with their song “5-More Minutes”. The accompanying story revealed the lead singer, Michael Trotter’s, struggles with suicidal thoughts. The mood wasn’t dampened as the people of WinterWonderGrass hugged and danced to the band’s upbeat tempo and message of perseverance.
Saturday night’s headliner was Trampled by Turtles, a WinterWonderGrass veteran. They kept things hot in the freezing temperatures by opening with a crowd-pleasing “Victory”. Banjo Dave picked it up even more with “Help You” followed by “On My Own” to kick off their fast-paced show.
The night didn’t end when Trampled by Turtles did. There was one more set of RiverGrass on the side stage and plenty of Grass After Dark shows around Steamboat to keep the dancing going early into the next morning.
Yonder Mountain String band played an intimate show at the top of the gondola at The Thunderhead Lodge, while Ghost of Paul Revere played at Shmiggity’s, and Big Something played at The Grand Hotel ballroom.
Things got started early Sunday morning with Big Richard playing at the top of the mountain before The WinterWonderGrass festivities actually kicked off down below. As they say, “Never miss a Sunday show,” and a Sunday at WinterWonderGrass is most certainly not to be missed.
Sunday featured a loaded schedule of headliners starting with Lindsay Lou opening the day in her electric pink jumpsuit which matched perfectly with her funky sound.
Lindsay Lou was followed on the side stages by Pickin on the Dead, who played four sets that day, Morsel, and Big Richard. Each band had its own distinct sound in their designated tent, and they played their hearts out until time for the next headliner on the main stage.
Watch more about the layout of WinterWonderGrass and how the stages were arranged, in this video below:
The Kitchen Dwellers played their third and final set of the weekend on the main stage bringing their funky “Galaxy Grass” sounds to the masses. They opened with “Shadows” and played tunes off their upcoming album, including the title track, “Wise River”.
The next shows on the side stages included Ghost of Paul Revere and the return of Dustbowl Revival. Both played passionate, quick 40-minute sets to keep the crowd hyped and ready for the next-to-last main stage act.
Yonder Mountain String Band took the main stage for a much-anticipated return to WinterWonderGrass. Lead violinist, Allie Kral, wore a bright purple trench coach and the lights matched her look perfectly as the night rolled in.
They opened with a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know” starting off on a high note and keeping it there with “Left Me in a Hole”. The band jammed through a mix of their own songs and covers during the entire 90-minute set including a cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Mississippi Half-Step”.
After YMSB’s energetic show, the side stages of WinterWonderGrass came back alive with the sounds of Pickin’ on the Dead, Ghost of Paul Revere, and Dustbowl Revival before the final main stage show.
The fireworks signaled the conclusion of the festival, and the crowd whooped and hollered in celebration of the incredible weekend put on by The WInterWonderGrass team and the town of Steamboat Springs.
Now, on to WinterWonderGrass Tahoe in exactly one month!
Checkout my other articles for things to do in Steamboat and around Colorado:
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I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!