Coming To Targhee Fest? Here’s What You Can Expect.
Now in its 14th year, Targhee Fest at Grand Targhee Resort has become less of an event and more of a ritual for the faithful and a rite-of-passage for the uninitiated. Set among the soaring peaks of the Tetons and accessible only through the beautiful, verdant landscape of Teton Valley, ID, this festival offers an experience that is unparalleled in both natural setting and musical performance.
While the festival officially kicks off Friday, the boundless opportunity for adventure really makes it requisite to arrive at least day early, just to fit everything in. Bring your boats, bikes, fly rods, golf clubs and everything in between; there is ample opportunity in the immediate area for it all. Don’t be surprised if you see a few haphazard craft making the pilgrimage to Targhee, happily weighed down by a full collection of outdoor toys. If you’re an eager beaver, get yourself to Victor, ID on a Thursday night. The Music on Main series there will give you that initial jolt of live music, for free. Rock out to the band Within and get your mind right for the rest of this action-packed weekend.
Upon arriving in Teton Valley, you will pass through Driggs, ID. What was once a sleepy, Idaho mountain town has become an exciting hub of outdoor adventure, though it still retains much of its original small-town charm. Old-historical buildings are interspersed with newer storefronts displaying high-end mountain bikes, a small Farmers’ Market appears every Friday offering locally-sourced foods and crafts, and, like every small town, yesteryear’s diversions are plentiful from a historical drive-in theater to soda fountains and ice cream parlors.
As you turn through the single stoplight in town, the gradual climb up the winding, scenic road to Grand Targhee Resort begins. Some of the best Teton views are available along this route, as well as plentiful hiking opportunities on the adjacent national forest, mostly accessed via Teton Canyon. Pause at one of the several pullouts to fully absorb the majesty of the Tetons.
At the end of the road, you will arrive at Grand Targhee where you’ll likely be greeted by music floating through the air, emanating from the Targhee Fest camping area. One thing that makes Targhee Fest so special is the community-oriented character of the festivities; after the visiting musicians finish their sets, you can find numerous, small gatherings of festival-goers creating their own music. Even if you will not be camping on-site, a stroll through the camps can be very rewarding. All of this of course, is illuminated by those beautiful Teton sunrises and the fiery red-orange that signals sundown over the western mountain range, the Big Holes.
Targhee Fest’s schedule allows for adventure-filled mornings; being conveniently located adjacent to an entire system of lift-accessed, world-class singletrack, downhill trails, and hiking loops at Grand Targhee Resort. The music and merry-making of night is balanced by serene mountain mornings on the trail; chirping birds, perhaps a whirring bicycle drivetrain, and a pounding heartbeat providing the only soundtrack for top-to-bottom rides as the rest of the world begins waking up.
Once the bikes and boots are stowed, the music is only a hop and a skip away. Literally, just one hop and one skip. The festival is located in a cozy, forest-lined basin that forms a natural amphitheater. Stands of pine, fir, and spruce hem in the amphitheater, providing a natural backdrop that recirculates the music amongst the venue, providing full and clear acoustics under the rolling skies. A large, grassy space serves as the primary seating area, but towards the rear of the enclosed concert-area, a mini-Sherwood Forest develops with collections of festival-goers setting up blankets and chairs among the trees, a unique way of experiencing live music within a genuine, natural setting.
Kids Fun Zone – Kids grab your parents and take a break in Kids Club. Enjoy crafts, coloring, games, puzzle and more.
Go Green – Purchase a commemorative festival mug or bring a festival mug from the past. Let’s help keep those plastic cups out of the landfill!
Bringing Fido? – This weekend’s weather is looking pretty warm – please remember not to leave your dogs in your car. Temperatures can reach way above 100 degrees. Dogs are welcome at the resort, but they cannot come into the music venue. Thank you!
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.