Bluegrass and Brews come to Dillon |

Bluegrass and Brews come to Dillon

Geoff Mintz
Summit Daily News
Special to the Daily Oakhurst plays Saturday night in Dillon.

Pickin’ music and beer go together like peas and carrots in Colorado, and this weekend’s Summit of Bluegrass and Brews festival brings the best of both to the Lake Dillon Amphitheatre.

The music kicks off tonight with Marty Jones and the Great Unknowns playing a free show along the reservoir and continues Saturday with Oakhurst headlining, supported by Boulder Acoustic Society and McConathy and the Drunken Hearts.

To wash down the grass, there will be 25 brewers from around the region serving up craft beers for a thirsty crowd of avid beer connoisseurs. While we can’t recommend trying all 25 varieties, a $35 pass will get you access to the beer tasting, which begins at 1 p.m.

“We thought it would be a great way to kick off the summer,” said Molly Speer with the Town of Dillon. “We’ve had a bluegrass event in the past, but this year, we thought it would be a good idea to add the brews. And it wasn’t very hard to find 25 brewers who wanted to participate.”

A portion of the proceeds from the event benefits the Colorado Brewers Guild, a nonprofit association that, among other responsibilities, advocates on behalf of craft brewers in the state Legislature so that we can continue to enjoy their wonderful products from around Colorado.

For the musicians, it’s a fun opportunity to play for an authentic Colorado crowd that’s ready for a good time.

“It’s going to be a high-flying Colorado bluegrass show,” said Andrew McConathy, frontman for the Drunken Hearts. “Anytime we get a chance to play in front of a crowd that likes to have a good time drinking beer in the High County, we’re happy to take part.”

Made up by musicians from Vail and the Front Range, The Drunken Hearts formed in 2010 and have rapidly accelerated through the Colorado jamgrass scene, playing some of the biggest festivals on the map, like the recent Telluride Bluegrass Festival, where they gigged with Time Carbone of Railroad Earth and James Thomas of Head for the Hills.

Oakhurst, the headlining act, will play at 7 p.m. after the tasting (so everyone’s dancing legs should be well lubricated by that point). Take a string band and swap out the fiddle player for a groovy drummer and you’re on your way to understanding the sound of Oakhurst.

The band “spikes traditional bluegrass with rock ‘n’ roll and a kamikaze rhythmic sensibility. That danceable concoction along with banjo versus fiddle shootouts, three part harmonies, and “citybilly swagger” sparks interest in folks who don’t know Doc Watson from Doc Holliday, the group says.

In 2007 and against stiff competition, Oakhurst captured the “Best Bluegrass Band” honor from Denver’s Westword Magazine after four straight years of being nominated.

The Boulder Acoustic Society, comprised by four young musicians ready to take audiences to the edge of American roots music, opens the music on at 1 p.m. Americana, Gospel and the Blues all combine with a strong indie-rock edge to craft a sound rooted deeply in the past but pointed directly towards the future, the group says.

“The energy these players bring to the music means an incredibly varied live performance,” the group’s bio reads. “One tune may conjure up an apocalyptic hurricane, while the next may take your hand and lead you directly through the eye of the storm.”

For more information on the bluegrass and brews at this weekend’s festival or to purchase tickets for the beer tasting, visit

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