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Steamboat Magazine

Winter Blues and Brews

12/16/2016 04:04PM ● By Dan Greeson

Tickets sell out quickly for the music festival WinterWonderGrass, which moves this year from Avon to Steamboat Springs. Photo courtesy of WinterWonderGrass.

By Deborah Olsen

Sam Bush and Leftover Salmon are among the headliners at the Steamboat Springs premiere of WinterWonderGrass, an outdoor bluegrass and brew festival that is making a big move from Avon to the Steamboat Ski Area in 2017. 

The festival combines approximately 30 of the top bands in the contemporary bluegrass genre with 22 craft brews for a winter festival experience. Events range from pop-up jams, firepits and barbecues on the slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area, to daily beer-tastings and hard-cider sampling stations at event headquarters.

The Knoll Parking Lot, across Mt. Werner Road from the ski area base, is being transformed into a “full-on festival site,” says Jennifer Brazill of Bonfire Entertainment, which organizes the event. A main stage, side stages, beer tent, VIP tent, warming hut, food vendor trucks and a kids zone are included. 

Local favorite bands will perform along with national bluegrass stars. Jay Roemer of Old Town Pickers has been involved with the festival since its inception five years ago in Edwards. “It’s a good crowd of people,” Roemer says. “All of the best bands in the jam-grass genre are there. It’s an honor to be included. It used to be the only weekend in winter that I would leave Steamboat, and now I don’t have to.” 

Fans from as far away as Hawaii attend WinterWonderGrass on a regular basis, as do a loyal group of Steamboat followers, who are known for their love of bluegrass. 

“WinterWonderGrass has a huge following here,” Roemer says. “It’s a perfect place for it.” 

A free welcome party with the WinterWonderGrass Allstars kicks off the weekend on Thursday, Feb. 23. The same evening, a dinner featuring Colorado foods is slated at the top of the gondola. 

WinterWonderGrass takes place Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 23-26. For a full list of bands, brews and events, or to purchase tickets, visit

2017 WinterWonderGrass lineup: