Northern Rockies Music Fesitval
Express graphic by Erik Elison
he 37th Northern Rockies Music Festival has come a long way since the days of a flatbed truck and banjo players.
“It’s grown up,” one of the organizers, Hailey resident Dana DuGan, crows. “The festival that we see today is a culmination of all our work coming to fruition.”
And that means a good old hometown music gathering where the performers really can play the instruments they wield.
“We are an old-fashioned community festival in that we like to see people actually playing their music,” DuGan jokes. “But, it is very current.”
The festival, to be held Aug. 1 and Aug. 2, announced its lineup last week and it’s chock full of roots and Americana.
Held at Hop Porter Park in Hailey, this is a ride-your-bike-in, pay-a-nominal-gate-fee and spend-the-day-dancing-in-the-grass-with-all-your-friends staycation.
Lots of new sponsors have joined in to lend a hand to ensure the festival prices are low while bringing some rising and already-established talent to town.
Fans and supporters love the festival “because it is a signature event, not just for Hailey, but the whole valley,” DuGan says. “It’s just so open to everyone with its diversity of music, and bringing together people for a good time. It’s a great time to be a resident of the valley each year.”
In addition to vendors and booths, there will be raffles, including for the Friendship Quilt, which is crafted by local artists.
“It’s a small town-venue with big spirit,” DuGan says, adding that she started bringing her kids to the festival when they were 2 and 5. “It’s such a family affair.”
A special note in the lineup this year is Sammy Brue, 12, a troubadour who appeared at the festival before as an opener but returns with his own slot.
“He just kinda blows you away,” DuGan says.
Olin and the Moon, a popular band at the festival, has spun off an alt/country band called Jackson Tanner.
The festival is one of the older in Idaho but DuGan said they keep the board vibrant with new members who also act as talent scouts to help the festival papa bear, Pete Kramer, wade through the selections each year.
The name change from folk festival to music festival allowed them to expand the brand to more genres and involve a wider range of audience.
DuGan plays a lot of the music on KDPI radio, where people can sample the upcoming acts.
The only unfulfilled wish she has for this year is that more people from the north end of the valley come out and play. Sheep Bridge Jumpers from Ketchum can help build that draw.
“The stage is a big professional stage, not just a flatbed truck with banjo players,” DuGan says. “It’s grown up from what people remember, even in the past five years.”
The festival website will offer samples of the music and offer discount tickets by May, she said.
Until then, here is a brief sketch of the players.
Tylor Bushman lives in Boise and counts among his musical influences: Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, John Prine, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Jerry Jeff Walker, Todd Snider, Micky & The Motorcars, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Reckless Kelly, Hayes Carll, Whiskey Myers, Chris Knight, Corb Lund.
The Far West has an authentically Americana sound that’s been described as what would happen if Waylon Jennings’ band jammed with Wilco.
The Damn Quails harmonies are compared to The Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel.
Sheep Bridge Jumpers recently left their home town of Ketchum to gather fans at the Treefort Festival in Boise to great success.
Sammy Brue is a 12-year-old folk singer, songwriter and one-man band. The troubadour has opened for Lukas Nelson, Hayes Carll and Asleep at the Wheel.
Jimmy Robb Band is a powerhouse of Portland-based musicians who play a southern Americana, rhythm and blues.
Jackson Tanner is a pop-country band and proud of it.
Smoke ‘n’ Bones is funk and horn heavy out of New Orleans.
Paul Thorn is known for bluesy, rocking and muscular roots music.
Who’s coming to Hailey:
Friday, Aug. 1
The Far West
The Damn Quails
Saturday, Aug. 2
Sheep Bridge Jumpers
Jimmy Robb Band
The Northern Rockies Music Festival Bar Dance Benefit will be held Tuesday, May 10, from 2-10 p.m. at Mahoney’s Bar and Grill in Bellevue. Enjoy music from Old Death Whisper, Kim Stocking Band, Up a Creek, Jimmy Robb Band, Lower Broadford Boys, Johnny V. Project, Haywire Hopefuls and more.
· Tickets are $45 at the gate or $38.25 online for both days.
· $20 at the gate and $17 online for Friday.
· $30 at the gate and $17 online for Saturday.
· For daily developments, band news, music and more, go to www.northernrockiesmusicfestival.org.