Bluegrass Fest Survival Guide

For those who have never attended and returnees alike, here is a handy toolbox for navigating the fun, music-filled scene of the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival, located in the heart of the Tetons.

1. Get yourself an on-site camping pass

This is possibly one of the best things you can do. Having that pass allows you to experience the Bluegrass Festival to the fullest extent. With “home” just a short walk away from the venue, you can stroll down to camp, throw together a snack, relax in some lawn chairs, enjoy the mountain air; all between sets while not missing any of the music. Grab your pass here to get the best experience!

2. Do expect to do more than listen to all the fantastic music

Cinch up those fanny packs (they’re back in fashion), slap on those straw sunhats, step into those hiking boots and take a quick jaunt around the mountain. Fortunately, this outfit can also perform double-duty as your official Bluegrass Fest attire. You won’t be the only one, I can guarantee that. Wear it like a badge.

3. Embrace the rowdier night shows

These later shows can be really fun. The sun goes down, the barn-stomping begins. Of course, the qualifier to this is that it gets just about as crazy as a bluegrass fest can get; somewhere on the spectrum between mildly uproarious and extremely enthusiastic.

4. You don’t have to subsist on a constant diet of crushed potato chips, bottled water, and warm beer

There’s plenty of delicious eats and drinks, both within the venue and area-wide. Between dining options at Grand Targhee and surprisingly-varied offerings in Teton Valley, from pad thai to pizza to local-brewed beer, you need not fret. Sometimes, it can’t be avoided, though. I understand; when your favorite band is coming on, and that bag of greasy crumbs is…just…right…there. Resist and, at least, get a hotdog at the BBQ tent. That way you’ve got two food groups covered.

5. Use free shuttle to and from Driggs

Take that shuttle. C’mon, it’s a Bluegrass Festival in the mountains. You’ll get additional cred as you stroll off such an efficient, environmentally-friendly form of public transportation. You will probably even make a few friends on your way up, or down. Check the shuttle routes and times and see just how easy it is!

6. Attend a late-night show at the Trap Bar & Grill Ft. Laney Lou & the Bird Dogs and Joe Craven and the Sometimers 

The smaller, indoor space of the Trap makes for a much more intimate, involved experience; plus, you’ll get to stay out past bedtime. If you’re camping on-site, this is the biggest thing going on! Grab a ticket, put on those dancing shoes and twirl the night away! Be there Friday at 10:00pm for Laney Lou & the Bird Dogs and Saturday at 10:00pm for Joe Craven and the Sometimers!

7. Find your tribe; with all sorts of people visiting from all sorts of places, the all-inclusive atmosphere makes it easy to find that one group of people that’s into what you’re into

Whether that’s swingin’ hula hoops, jamming out around a campfire, shredding the downhill trails between sets, playing a round of disc golf, or, simply, enjoying the music from the hillside, there will surely be others doing the same.

8. Kids make sure to grab your parents and take a break in Kids Club

Bluegrass is meant for families no question, but sometimes kids just need a break from all the adults. To see where all the real fun’s at, head on over to Kids Club. Bond with other family festival go-ers while enjoying crafts, coloring, games, puzzle and more!

9. Go Green

Purchase a commemorative festival mug or bring a mug from the past. It shows your connection to those around you as well your commitment to fun and to the earth! Be environmentally-friendly and keep the mountain ready for you to make more memories. Let’s help keep those plastic cups out of the landfill!

10. Let loose and have fun!

As always, the essential key to survival, or of anything really, is to have some fun. Luckily, it’s not hard to do with a soundtrack of joyous, fast-paced instrumentation, and bluegrass vocals in a beautiful setting. Get stoked!

For more information visit our FAQ page: Festival FAQ

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.