Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival: 25 Years of Funky Good Times!

by Sep 19, 2018Reviews

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival: 25 Years of Funky Good Times!

The Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival took place at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, Colorado on September 14 & 15, 2018.

The Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery has been an important part of my life ever since I arrived in Boulder, Colorado in 2003. 

Never having been to Boulder before, I drove across the country hoping to put down roots somewhere other than the East Coast.  It wasn’t by accident that I stepped into the Mountain Sun Pub on my first walk down Pearl Street.

The Mountain Sun felt so different than any restaurant I had experienced before – decorated with tapestries and concert posters, playing the Grateful Dead and serving a variety of vegetarian food options along with tasty beers made right on site. 

Just a few days later,  I returned to the Sun with two of my best girlfriends to celebrate my 24th birthday.  It was my new favorite spot, and Boulder truly felt like my new home.

It wasn’t long before I was training in the kitchen of the Mountain Sun and eventually worked my way up to shift manager. 

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival

Those years spent with my Mountain Sun family were some of the best years of my life. We worked hard and played hard together, spending countless hours at the pub and countless more at Red Rocks, Boulder Theatre, Fox Theatre and the Fillmore dancing to bands like the String Cheese Incident, The Motet and Yonder Mountain String Band.  I still run into Mountain Sun regular customers who tell me those were the best years of the pub because of the special group of people working there. I know I’m totally biased, but I couldn’t agree more. 

Many of us stayed in Boulder, and many of us moved away. But we’ve almost all stayed in touch over the years, and I can’t explain how much those years truly shaped who I am today.  I developed such a strong passion for craft beer and live music, but I also made some of the best friends a girl could ever ask for!

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival

This year, the Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery celebrated their 25th Anniversary by throwing a music festival at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, Colorado. 

Appropriately named the Colorado Kind Festival (the very first beer ever brewed at the pub), it brought together some incredible bands that got their start playing at the Mountain Sun when it first opened. 

The String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band and The Motet headlined the two-night festival, while The Drunken Hearts and The Mountain Sun All-Stars brought us some incredible music during the day.  The festival was rounded out with a Friday Happy Hour set from Kessel Run and a Saturday late-night after-party with Envy ALO.

We arrived on Friday afternoon to pick up our passes, and we were immediately greeted by so many familiar faces.  Some were old friends from the Mountain Sun pubs, while many were newer friends we have made over the past few years at music festivals around the country.  It seemed like two worlds were colliding as we gave out dozens of hugs and ‘hello’s. 

Planet Bluegrass is as special a place as you will find in Colorado, and a more fitting locale for this celebration could not be achieved!  It is amazing to think back on the devastation this area experienced from the floods of just 5 years ago and to look at how beautifully it has been rebuilt.

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival
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We set up camp at our beautiful beach-front property in Laverne Johnson (Meadows) Park campground.

The river was low for this time of year, but we still managed to have a crystal clear swimming spot to cool off from the last days of the summer heat.  We met our gracious neighbors, went for an afternoon dip and then got ready for the Funky Friday Costume Party.  The evening kicked off with the Mountain Sun All-Stars, featuring most members of String Cheese Incident along with very special appearances from Jennifer Hartswick, Liza Oxnard, Lyle Divinsky (Motet) and Karl Denson.  It was an incredible start to an already amazing weekend!  But the dance party got even funkier when The Motet took the stage with some extra percussion from Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident).  We headed right up front for the extremely funky dance party.

The night ended fairly early, which allowed us plenty of time to hang with friends and stargaze by the river before calling it a night.

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival
Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival

On Saturday morning, there were plenty of options for activities. Those attendees looking for a healthy start headed over to morning yoga, while those looking to soak up their indulgences from the night before headed to the All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast with bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s (proceeds went to New Era Colorado).   We woke up with plenty of time for a refreshing swim before The Drunken Hearts warmed up the stage for Day 2’s entertainment.

The main stage area proved a little too hot for some, but it was easy enough to soak your feet in the river while still listening to Yonder Mountain String Band play two sets which took us from late afternoon into the early evening.  Yonder Mountain has made some changes since it first played at the Mountain Sun Pub years ago, but the addition of Allie Kral and Jacob Jolliff brought some new styles to old songs while the audience danced under Colorado bluebird skies.

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival

As the evening rolled in, The String Cheese Incident took the stage for the last two sets of the festival.  When the band played the first notes of the psychedelic, spacey “Rivertrance”, I was instantly reminded of my days getting down with my old Mountain Sun family at SCI’s epic Red Rocks’ shows. 

Their cover of the Talking Head’s “Naive Melody” brought out tears and hugs from many of the crowd members, and my husband and I embraced as memories came flooding back. The dance party kicked back up as the String Cheese Incident wrapped up their second set with “Jellyfish” into “Rollover”, two classics that kept the nostalgia pouring in.

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival

I spent the last set of the evening dancing with some of my newest Colorado friends, feeling like the music scene has truly brought me decades of memories with dozens of amazing humans.  But the Mountain Sun Anniversary Party truly came together when a few of my old Mountain Sun co-workers came to dance with us during the encore of The Jackson’sShake Your Body To The Ground”.

As the night carried on, the light show became more and more impressive.  Planet Bluegrass is certainly no stranger to world-class music and dance parties, but these lights were certainly giving the surrounding trees and rocks something new to enjoy at Kind Fest!

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival

The Mountain Sun 25th Anniversary Colorado Kind Festival was so much more than just a music festival.  It was a reminder of all of the incredible moments that I was so lucky to be a part of over the years, and all the amazing people that I was so blessed to have gotten to know from the Mountain Sun Family. 

The owners, employees, and customers all became a special part of my first years in Colorado, and this music festival flooded me with so many amazing memories. 

Let’s hope this was the start of a new annual tradition in Colorado!

Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival
Mountain Sun Colorado Kind Festival

Looking for more music festivals?

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