Celebrating 30 Years of Music in the Mountains

In Music
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There’s a good chance a good portion of the audience at this year’s Targhee Bluegrass fest won’t be as old as the festival they’re attending.

“Started in 1988 Targhee Bluegrass is the Grand Daddy of Bluegrass Festivals in the Northern Rockies, combining great Bluegrass with the ultimate mountain lifestyle,” wrote Grand Targhee Resort.

This year’s lineup includes acts that satisfy just about every taste in the genre, from decidedly modern bluegrass bands, to genuine legends to performers who can only be classified as having a sound of their own.



  • Mandolin Orange 3:30 pm
  • Sierra Hull 4:45pm
  • Darrell Scott 6:00pm
  • The Travelin’ McCourys 7:30pm
  • Infamous Stringdusters 9:30pm
  • One Ton Pig (Late Night Show @ The Trap) 10:00pm


  • Molly Tuttle Band 11:30am
  • Mr Sun w/ Danny Barnes 1:00pm
  • Growling Old Men 2:15pm
  • Tim O’Brien Band 3:30pm
  • Peter Rowan Dharma Blues ft. Jack Casady 5:00pm
  • Del McCoury Band 7:00pm
  • Sam Bush Band 9:00pm
  • The Travelin’ McCourys (Late Night Show @ The Trap) 10:00pm


  • Willie Watson 12:00pm
  • Rhiannon Giddens 1:30pm
  • Greensky Bluegrass 3:00pm
  • Railroad Earth 5:00pm




The Infamous Stringdusters – From the band

Unlike rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass music’s boundaries are often defined in very narrow terms and that has caused some bands to carefully consider their place within the genre. But, in order to survive, everything must evolve… even bluegrass. Enter the Infamous Stringdusters, the very model of a major modern bluegrass band.

“At a certain point in our career, there was hesitation in calling us a bluegrass band,” guitarist Andy Falco admits. “These days, we’re much more comfortable with that label.”

On Laws of Gravity, that’s exactly what the Infamous Stringdusters — Andy Hall (dobro), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book (double bass), in addition to Falco and Pandolfi — have done. Their seventh studio set further proves that the band’s collective whole is far greater than the sum of its individual parts, as the song selection and pitch-perfect performances weighs the Stringdusters’ appeal to traditional fans against their musical quest to attract new listeners. It’s a balance that comes naturally to the band.

Banjo man Chris Pandolfi echoes the point: “We love bluegrass, but we have been influenced by other genres as much, if not more. When it comes to making music, we always try to be a blank slate and give new songs whatever they need to come to life. We just try to make something good, something that is true to who we are.”



Perennial favorite Sam Bush brings his virtuoso mandolin skils back to Grand Targhee for this year’s Bluegrass Fest.

Sam Bush – From the performer

If joy were a person, he’d bring both peace and frenzy. He’d be full of music, light, and energy that soothes even as it stirs us up. Eyes closed, wire-rim glasses in place, mandolin pressed against his ribs, joy would be Sam Bush on a stage.

“I feel fortunate that when it’s time to play, no matter how I feel physically or mentally, once the downbeat starts, my mind goes to a place that’s all music,” says Bush. “The joy of the music comes to me and overtakes me sometimes––I just become part of the music.”

The Father of Newgrass and King of Telluride has long since established himself as roots royalty, revered for both his solo and sideman work, which includes time with Harris, Lyle Lovett, and Béla Fleck. But instead of kicking back and soaking up honors such as an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award and suite of Grammys and International Bluegrass Music Association trophies, Bush still strives relentlessly to create something new.



Del McCoury – From the performer

Vince Gill says it simply, and maybe best: “I’d rather hear Del McCoury sing ‘Are You Teasing Me’ than just about anything.”

For fifty years, Del’s music has defined authenticity for hard core bluegrass fans-count Gill among them-as well as a growing number of fans among those only vaguely familiar with the genre.

Indeed, McCoury is something special, a living link to the days when bluegrass was made only in hillbilly honkytonks, schoolhouse shows and on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Yet he is also a commandingly vital presence today, from prime time and late night talk show TV to music festivals where audiences number in the hundreds of thousands. “Here’s a guy who has been playing for fifty years, and he’s still experimenting-still looking to do things outside the box, to bring other kinds of music into bluegrass form,” says Americana music icon Richard Thompson, who saw his “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” turned into a bluegrass standard when McCoury brought it into the fold. “I think that’s the best bluegrass band, period. That’s it.”

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