BY Kirsten Cohen
Jeff Guercio Memorial Baseball Park, Nederland, Colo.
The legacy of NedFest lives on in spite of the tragic loss of its founder Michigan Mike Torpie in 2011. This August the festival will celebrate 15 years of music and the ongoing mission of Torpie.
In Torpie’s name, a non-profit organization named Peak to Peak Music Education now presides over the event. The group’s goal is to raise money through the festival in order to donate to organizations along the Peak to Peak corridor to enhance and increase instructional and experimental music education among children. This year, the nonprofit made its first significant donation to Teens Inc., which plans to use the funds to provide music lessons for teens that would not otherwise have access to music education.
The annual three-day festival started in 1996 in Chipeta Park, and after a short hiatus moved to its current location at the ball field, where it’s been going steady since 1999. It is an extremely cool, family-oriented event that happens in late August. The three-day festival starts Friday evening with two acts, and five bands perform on both Saturday and Sunday, with acoustic ‘tweener’ sets between each band. Over the years, the bluegrass and improv-heavy festival has attracted some legendary artists from David Grisman and Leftover Salmon, to the Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann and the Funky Meter’s George Porter, Jr.
You’re going there to see: Funky Meters, Drew Emmitt, Dr. Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys. More artists expected to be announced soon
You’re going to come home talking about: Local bands on the rise, including Boulder-based band Monocle
(As calculated by maps.google.com from
Denver, Colo. to Nederland, Colo.)
Total Est. Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes
Total Est. Distance: 48 miles
You Need to Know: NedFest can sometimes overwhelm the little mountain town. Simply put, parking can be a challenge. But NedFest has something few festivals can offer — RTD bus service. Those who are wise will park in Boulder and take a short, and very cheap bus ride right into downtown Nederland. For less money than you pay to park at regular concerts, you can park and be chauffeured to your destination in RTD style. Barring that, though, sticking your thumb out at the bottom of the canyon usually works just as easily.
Camping: Not on-site, but family camping is available in Chipeta Park only a few hundred yards away, and several other off-site locations, many of which are free.