Ullrgrass Festival seemed like the perfect way to kick-off festival season in our newly re-established home state. For 3 days, music lovers join together in Golden to praise Ullr, music, and beer – all while dressed up like Vikings.
Why not?! It is a Norse god!
Golden is a beautiful town nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and Ullrgrass is spread between two iconic town locations – the daytime activities are held in Parfet Park, while the evening continues indoors at the Buffalo Rose.
The Community of Golden shines strong at this festival, which is run by over 100 volunteers. Add in the fact that Ullrgrass was created as a non-profit to support the Coral Creek Music Project, and you get an all-around feel-good festival.
UllrGrass was started in 2015 by Chris and Susannah Thompson, also the founders of Coral Creek Music Project. The Coral Creek Music Project provides music instruction and performance opportunities to children, while supporting local artists and community music organizations.
What You Need To Know About Ullr:
How the heck do you even pronouce Ullr?
Here’s a clue: It rhymes with Bueller. Bueller? Bueller??!
Who is Ullr?
Ullr is most known as the Norse god of winter and snow. Depending on who you ask, he also is quite the stud on the slopes. While his origins are unclear, his spirit is invoked often in the winter months, either in praise (“Praise Ullr for this killer pow!”) or curse (“Curse Ullr for closing down I-70 so I can’t get to the killer pow!”) or for good luck (“With the luck of Ullr, I will totally shred this fresh pow”).
Why does Ullr come to Golden? (This is solely our opinion, but most likely fact.)
Ullr’s disposition thrives in the Colorado winter. His name is called so often from the slopes of the Rocky Mountains that he just tends to stick around every Winter. From what we could determine, over the years he developed an affection for Colorado beer and bluegrass. So, it seemed fit that he eventually took on the title “Norse god of Winter Bluegrass Festivals”.
It’s obvious the creators of Ullrgrass wanted to create a festival that went beyond the stage. The foundation of the festival is built upon community, music and beer. Who doesn’t love when those three elements come together?
Not only does this festival function by the handiwork of volunteers, it also raises money for a non-profit (Coral Creek Music Project) focused on spreading music education and opportunities throughout Golden, CO. Additionally, Ullrgrass is incredibly family-friendly – and a pretty happening event for the children of Ullr. Throughout the day, kids were encouraged to participate in a handful of activities: a parade, arts and crafts, hula hooping, face painting, costume contest, etc. Point is – this was a sweet event for parents to be able to enjoy a craft beer (or three) while letting their precious ones enjoy the day, too. Several kids actually showed up the adults when it came to dressing like a Viking and hula hooping.
Ullrgrass showcased a solid lineup of over 20 musical acts, ranging from Bluegrass to Americana to Funk. Nobody should be surprised that even though they may not have been familiar with some of the bands, every act on stage brought an incredible amount of talent to this local musci festival. Of course, let’s not forget – this is Colorado! This state is well-known for its craft beer and its impressive lineup of musicians.
The main stage of UllrGrass was beautifully framed by the backdrop of Golden’s hills and buttes. The crowds were engaged and energetic, and the sound was spot-on throughout the entire festival.
Between each set on the Main Stage, we were treated to music on the Wagon Stage – literally a stage on a wagon (praise Ullr!), directly adjacent to the main stage. ‘Tweener’ sets on the Wagon Stage kept the music going non-stop throughout the day.
As the sun set on the Main Stage and all of the attendees added on the layers, the artists on stage didn’t bat an eye. It at times felt like it should be impossible to pick stringed instruments while the rest of us were wearing gloves, but the talented musicians didn’t seem to miss a single note.
Nevertheless, the warmth of the Buffalo Rose was a welcome change for the evening edition of music. It wasn’t just the comforts of the indoors that warmed us – the strings were on fire Friday and Saturday evening as the acts burned up the stage! A dance party ensued, and we all praised Ullr for something or other.
All of these small changes in our environment created the feeling of a much larger music festival than one may think they were attending in Golden. With acts rocking the Main Stage, the Wagon Stage, and then the Buffalo Rose, it all built up to a complete day full of music and activities.
On Saturday afternoon, UllrGrass went from mountain bluegrass festival to full-on beer fest! Twenty-seven brewers from near and far brought their craft selections to the Colorado Front Range to the delight of everyone in attendance. “Skål” (the nordic equivalent of “Cheers”, but much more Viking-y) was heard throughout the festival as bluegrass music and beer celebrated the marriage that only the Gods could have conceived. Perhaps the pinnacle of the weekend, Saturday gave attendees the opportunity to breathe in the crisp mountain air, sip the hoppy local (and not-so-local) brews, and wiggle to the fiddles of the bluegrass jams.
While bundling against the elements after the sun departs behind the looming foothills, a Viking hat and furry boots are just the thing to dance away the cold! What better way to revel in the Colorado music scene than by fully embracing the winter, raising a glass to Ullr, and shouting “Skål!” while doing the boogie!