Bluegrass band FY5 will open the three-week Music in the Mountains festival Saturday at the Bayfield Performing Arts Center.
The event, which starts at 6 p.m., will feature Colorado-based groups FY5 and The Stillhouse Junkies. Since the festival started in 1987, Music in the Mountains, a nonprofit, has worked to connect communities with classical music by bringing renowned musicians to rural towns. But the festival isn’t just about the classics, and for Bayfield residents, it’s an opportunity to introduce visitors to their own lively community.
“Any event we do in Bayfield is good for Bayfield and our businesses out here,” said Greg Allen, co-owner of Bottom Shelf Brewery. “The more of these kinds of things we have here, the more people understand there’s a town here and a lot going on here.”
It’s the second time that Music in the Mountains Classical Music Festival has opened in Bayfield. The festival, which will continue until July 28, features more than 100 world-renowned musicians, and the nonprofit organizes year-round educational programs for more than 4,000 elementary through high school students, according to the Music in the Mountains website.
“Our mission is to increase awareness and engagement in classical music and music in general,” said Angie Beach, executive director for Music in the Mountains. “It’s important to us to bring this high-quality and high-caliber musicians to our rural communities in the area.”
This year is also the fourth time Music in the Mountains will host a concert at the Bayfield Performing Arts Center. From the acoustics to the fact that it seats 400 people, “we think that venue is pretty spectacular, especially for the size of the community,” Beach said.
FY5, a five-person bluegrass group from Colorado, is the concert’s main act. In 2017, the International Bluegrass Music Association conference selected the band as official showcase artists, and they released their fourth album, “The Way These Things Go,” in 2018, according to the band’s website. Northern Colorado Speaks, a blog, also named the group as one of the top 20 northern Colorado bands to know.
The opening band, a three-person bluegrass group from Durango called The Stillhouse Junkies, recently won runner-up at the 2019 Telluride Bluegrass Band Contest.
The event will also feature a beer garden, for which proceeds will go to Pine River Arts, a local organization. Pine River Arts grew out of a community desire for more arts and culture events after the first Music in the Mountains concert in Bayfield. Now, it partners with other area organizations that support arts and culture in the Pine River Valley, Walchak said.
“The arts and culture is important for any community to buy into. It creates a cohesiveness and an appreciation of a skill that is far-reaching,” said Shelley Walchak, organizer of Pine River Arts. Not only do kids experience more academic success when they play music, she said, but “it’s another way for people to come together and appreciate Bayfield as a community unto itself.”
Upcoming festival events will feature guitarist and cellist duo Boyd Meets Girl (plus handcrafted cocktails and chocolate desserts), an homage to Charlie Chaplin’s classic soundtracks and critically acclaimed violinist Philippe Quint. The events are presented by Animas Chocolate and Coffee, Ore House, Sunflower Theatre and Ballantine Communications Inc. The price is $20 for all attendees except students, who will pay $10.