Excited For Grand Targhee Bluegrass Fest? So Are We! Here Are Some Bands To Check Out…

It’s close to the 31st Annual Grand Targhee Bluegrass Fest! You can almost hear the music drifting on the breeze, tossed down from the mountains on high. With the gathering of so many renowned artists and, especially, the crowds that sustain that feel-good vibe of the festival, I’ll admit, it’s pretty hard to not get excited. While everybody playing at this year’s fest is certainly not-to-be-missed, I’ve got a few favorites that I’m looking forward to. Annnnd… here they are; Greensky Bluegrass and Keller Williams’ Pettygrass feat. The HillBenders!

Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass

Photo By ontheDL Photo © Greensky Bluegrass All Rights Reserved 2016

It’s difficult to separate bluegrass music from the mountains, plains, rivers, forests it celebrates or, at least, becomes a musical backdrop to. Many of Greensky Bluegrass’s songs reflect upon the western landscapes they’ve played in or have traveled through. Songs like “Old Barns,” one of my personal favorites, pick familiar symbols like the slumping, worn-out barns ubiquitous along American highways, creating a sense of place and all the stories wrapped up in it. This combination of Grand Targhee’s natural setting and the evocative music of Greensky Bluegrass will, surely, amplify the experience; such bands are meant to play under the mountains and wide-open skies of the Tetons.

With Greensky Bluegrass, expect a very high-energy show. Toe-tapping will give way to head-nodding, then a little shaking and shimmying, and finally culminate in some good old fashioned boot-stomping. Bring your lawn chairs with the expectation they won’t get a whole lot of use. It’s hard to remain seated, as this variety of fast-paced bluegrass, sprinkled with a little rock n’ roll, will certainly get you up and moving. Greensky Bluegrass, also, has some slower, more introspective gems and, with a Teton sunset overhead, there certainly will be opportunity to sit down, catch your breath, and appreciate the beautiful place you find yourself in.



Keller Williams’ PettyGrass feat. The HillBenders

Keller Williams PettygrassOften, Keller Williams plays solo, crafting a unique sound from various musical elements, but for his appearance at Grand Targhee Bluegrass Fest he will be accompanied by the HillBenders, a bluegrass outfit with some rock n’ roll sensibilities. With their combined sounds and abilities, they will unleash a collection of re-imagined Tom Petty covers in honor of the late and great.

It’s hard to resist a good cover band, especially if that cover band is a Tom Petty cover band. And even more so when that Tom Petty cover band takes those legendary songs, adds to them, and re-imagines them in a more stripped-down, bluegrassy context. That’s exactly what Keller Williams’ Pettygrass feat. The HillBenders will do. Imagine hearing classics like “You Wreck Me” and “The Waiting”, except with the jangly instrumentation of a bluegrass ensemble. Come August 10th, you won’t have to imagine, there will be all the Petty covers you can handle. I challenge you NOT to sing along.



So, let the countdown begin! Get those festival clothes laid out just right, listen to some festival-inspired playlists, and, get ready to have a real good time, in a real good place, with alot of real good people. Ready or not, here comes the 31st Annual Grand Targhee Bluegrass Fest!


This story was written by Emil Harry. Part-time snow reporter for Grand Targhee in the Winter and, now, a purveyor of Targhee’s music-filled Summer.