Campers are already staking their claim on Reservoir Hill for one of Colorado's best ways to say goodbye to summer over Labor Day Weekend: The Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs.
The festival boasts an impressive lineup in an intimate setting on Reservoir Hill, which overlooks Pagosa, a mere five-hour drive south from Denver.
The festival begins Friday with The Black Lillies, John Jorgenson Quintet and festival favorite, The Infamous Stringdusters.
Travis Book, the bass player for the Stringdusters, has unwittingly become the poster child of the festival, literally and figuratively. An iconic image of him playing bass with the San Juan Mountains panorama in the background became the poster art for the Pagosa Folk 'n Bluegrass, the promoters' June festy. And audiences have seen his career grow throughout the last 10 years.
He first came to the festival in 2001 as a patron, just before discovering the world of acoustic music. Reservoir Hill enchanted him so much he returned several years, until he was booked in 2005 with his band Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band.
That year, festival power was knocked out and Book and a group of musicians -- including current Stringduster bandmate Chris Pandolfi on banjo -- got up on stage and played anyways to a dark, silent crowd.
"That's when I sealed the deal with Dan," Book said.
Dan Appenzeller and his wife Crista Munro are the masterminds behind the festival along with a great cast of volunteers and board members. Now in its 15th year, the festival has brought in many bluegrass greats, including John Hartford (before the music world lost him to cancer), Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Nickel Creek, and this year, Ricky Skaggs.
For Book, as a musician, it's all about the people who return to Reservoir Hill year after year.
"The music audience are some of the most open-minded people you have ever come across," he said. The Stringdusters first graced the stage in 2006 and this year will be Book's tenth year in a row on Reservoir Hill.
"I haven't been to any other festival more than 2 years in a row," he said. And with an impressive year round touring schedule, the festival is always at the top of the band's list.
"I'm sort of hesitant to tell people about it, I don't want the festival to get spoiled," Book said. "When a festival gets too big, it really looses something. Crista and Dan have achieved the perfect balance... It's the best place for a festival."
Tickets are still available for the festival and Saturday's lineup boasts Books' lovely bride Sarah Siskind, The John Jorgenson Quintet (who played with Elton John for 6 years), Over the Rhine, The Stringdusters and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.
Sunday's line up features the young song bird Sarah Jarosz, Cooked Still, Caravan of Thieves, Solas and Bush.
Camping is available in the pine trees on Reservoir Hill and there's still plenty of room for tents and music lovers to squeeze in. Click here for ticket information. And see you on Reservoir Hill!