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Steamboat Magazine

WinterWonderGrass Artist Spotlight - Greensky Bluegrass

02/22/2023 08:00AM ● By Ski Town Media

(Photo: Greesnky Bluegrass performs at WinterWonderGrass Festival. Courtesy of Dave Vann Photography.)

This year, WinterWonderGrass will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in Colorado, set to take place right here in Steamboat Springs on March 3-5. Each week, we will be featuring artists who are performing at this year's festival. Get an inside look at what this weekend is like for the artists and bands, and find out what goes into creating an iconic festival. 

Greensky Bluegrass returns to Steamboat Springs to once again headline this year’s WinterWonderGrass. The band, which formed in 2000, has grown a devoted following over the past two decades, selling out multiple nights at Red Rocks, debuting two albums at #1 on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums Chart and earning praise from publications like Rolling Stone, Billboard and Parade. We caught up with mandolin player Paul Hoffman, ahead of his trip to Colorado.

Ski Town Media: Greensky headlined the very first WinterWonderGrass Festival in Edwards, CO back in 2013 – what was that first festival like, and how many WinterWonderGrass Festivals has the band performed at since?

Paul Hoffman: I’ve sorta lost count… there’s been WinterWonderGrass festivals in Tahoe, Vermont and Colorado, so it’s hard to say at this point. We played at least one of them every year I believe. The first one was cold and fun. I think about it every time I drive by that parking lot in Edwards. That first one was a real eye opening, “Wow. This idea could work!” kinda moment.

STM: After that first year in Edwards, what made you guys decide to come back and do it again (and again)?

PH: Scotty [Stoughton] and his team host magical events. I always tell people that WinterWonderGrass is a terrible idea that turns out amazing. It’s hard to play in the cold, but overcoming it unites the crowd and the music in such a powerful way, there’s really nothing else like it.

STM: What’s it like to come back a decade later and headline the 10-year anniversary show? The event has grown in the past decade, as I imagine your band has as well. 

PH: It's a real honor. We feel a strong sense of ownership and pride in this event. It feels like an important part of our story and our identity in Colorado. 

STM: From an artist’s perspective, what is the WinterWonderGrass weekend in Steamboat Springs like for you? 

PH: It's a blast! The lineup is always a huge collaborative gathering. We are very close to almost all the bands that participate, and every year Scotty finds and invites a few new ones that become our next best friends.

STM: Do you have a favorite memory from the past ten years of WinterWonderGrass that you can share?

PH: [Laughs] Yeah. One year in Tahoe it was April Fool’s Day and we sent out a fake Greensky band to lip sync to Windshield. It was hilarious! I was played by John (John Skehan, Railroad Earth), Devol was Scott (Scott Parker, The Lil’ Smokies), Bont was T-Tom (Tyler Thompson, Fruition), Dave was played by Kellan (Kellan Asebroek, Fruition) and Anders was played by Andy (Andy Dunnigan, The Lil’ Smokies). I revisit the photo regularly and crack up.

(Photo: Paul Hoffman shreds the mandolin. Courtesy of ontheDL Photo.)


STM: Which other artists are you most looking forward to seeing perform at this year’s WinterWonderGrass? Are there any other artists that you’re hoping you’ll get a chance to play with? 

PH: As I mentioned, a lot of bands I love collaborating with will be there. The Lil Smokies, Lindsay Lou, The Dusters, Dwellers, but there’s also a few I'm less familiar with. I’ve been stoked to see Neal Francis for a long time. He was supposed to be at one of our festivals that got COVID-canceled. I just saw Big Richard for the first time in Mexico recently. They’re phenomenal and it seems like they’d be fun to bring up. We’ll see how it all shakes out!

STM: You guys released your eighth studio album at the beginning of the year, Stress Dreams. What was some of the inspiration behind the new album, and what was the writing process like as a band?  

PH: We wrote most of that album at home and shared demos with each other. That album is a real testimony of how much we enjoy playing music together. We got in the studio, and we were just excited to be together and be creative. We weren’t playing any shows and it was our primary focus. We are always so busy touring that this album stands alone in that way.

STM: What are some of Greensky’s goals for 2023?  

PH: We have some plans to do some recording that I’m stoked about. We also just announced a destination event in Iceland that we worked real hard to curate. It's going to be a great year.

To learn more about the upcoming Colorado 10-year anniversary of WinterWonderGrass, visit: 

To learn more about Greensky Bluegrass, visit:

WinterWonderGrass 2022, Steamboat Springs, CO. Courtesy of WinterWonderGrass Festival / Molly McCormick.