Rest up for sleepless nights in Pagosa Springs

Festival season can’t last forever.

With the Telluride Blues and Brews festival a few weeks away and the Four Corners Folk Festival beginning today, it is time to accept the end of another run of jam-packed weekend events. As sad as it is to lament the sunset of Summer 2012 and begin the long countdown to Summer 2013, maybe the end of the season is a good thing.

For the regular festival-goers of Durango, those of you who hit up Telluride, RockyGrass and the two festivals in Pagosa Springs that bookend the summer, winter is a chance to let your liver recover from the campground libations and your back to recover from those restless nights of sleeping on the ground.

Sleepers at the campgrounds at any festival more than likely kept up by musicians who play their own sets well into the night. At times, it is obnoxious, but a campground at a festival without music would be a campground missing an integral part of the festival experience. It has to happen. Anyone expecting a good night’s sleep in the campground on Reservoir Hill this weekend is better off renting a hotel room in town or perhaps just staying home altogether.

The Four Corners Folk Festival lineup gets consistently more diverse each year. Beginning today, more than 15 performers of bluegrass and indie-Americana music will take the stage through the weekend. Count on the big-timers such as Sam Bush and Railroad Earth to deliver high-energy newgrass and extended jams and seasoned folk singer Loudon Wainright III to bring humor along with his set. Personally, I’m anxious to corner Wainwright and do nothing but discuss his role as Captain Spaulding in three early episodes of “M*A*S*H.”

Sarah Watkins also returns.As one-third of the now-defunct Nickel Creek, the fiddle player began playing the festival on Reservoir Hill when she was a teenager. However, in typical Reservoir Hill fashion, the up-and-comers are the ones who come away stealing the show.

Elephant Revival is a five-piece bluegrass and hippie-friendly folk band based in Nederland. It has been gaining fans all over the state and opened for the Infamous Stringdusters last year in Durango.

The Wood Brothers is an acoustic roots-rock band featuring Chris Wood and Oliver Wood on guitar and bass. Chris Wood also is one-third of the jazz-jam band Medeski Martin and Wood. Rose’s Pawn Shop from Los Angeles has leanings in bluegrass, folk and rock. Its sound continues Southern California’s long-lasting affair with country rock.

Also back this year is the late-night stage happening on the hill. For the last few years, the late-night stage was moved to town. That didn’t fly, so a late-night pavilion has been constructed on the hill inside a heated tent.

Friday’s late night bands will be the Well Pennies, Mike and Ruthy and Rose’s Pawn Shop. Saturday’s late night set features Sarah Siskind and Elephant Revival.

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at