WinterWonderGrass returned to the snow-capped mountains of Steamboat Springs, CO over the weekend for another weekend of bluegrass, beer, and a tenth anniversary blowout. The sold-out weekend marked ten years since the inaugural WinterWonderGrass at the now-defunct Crazy Mountain Brewery, where in 2013 The Infamous Stringdusters and Greensky Bluegrass headlined just as they did in 2023. The 2023 edition of the bluegrass and roots music festival marked its sixth year in Steamboat Springs.
Pickin’ on the Dead opened the main stage on Friday at the Steamboat Resort with bluegrass interpretations of Grateful Dead classics. John Mailander and Lindsay Lou—who would prove rosy-cheeked familiar faces all weekend long—made their first of many guest appearances of the festival, with the latter joining the band on “Eyes Of The World” alongside Kyle Tuttle. Leftover Salmon banjo picker Andy Thorn also hopped in for a medley of “Scarlet Begonias” > “Throwing Stones” > “Truckin'”.
Emerging jamgrass stars Kitchen Dwellers took the main stage to the outer reaches of mountain music with a set of galaxy grass. The band performed with Parrish Grabriel (Sicard Hollow) on bass as their usual low-ender Joe Funk awaits the birth of his first child. The main event then arrived with The Infamous Stringdusters, who delivered bluegrass classics from the likes of Bill Emerson and Bill Monroe with special guests Kyle Tuttle, John Mailander, and AJ Lee (AJ Lee & Blue Summit).
Related: The Infamous Stringdusters Cover The Dead, Daft Punk, ZZ Top, More At Fort Collins “Rematch” [Photos/Video]
WinterWonderGrass welcomed Steamboat Springs’ own Buffalo Commons for their main stage debut on Saturday, prior to Neal Francis joining the WWG family. That same day, alt-country firebrand Paul Cauthen also joined the club, making a lasting impression with a 15-minute performance of his seminal single “Cocaine Country Dancing”.
Between main stage sets, the side stage tents received flurries of talent including Nashville’s budding Sicard Hollow, AJ Lee & Blue Summit, and Tenth Mountain Division. The side tent also hosted the return of a beloved festival tradition with the WinterWonderWomen superjam featuring Lindsay Lou, Megan Letts, Michelle Pietrafitta, Emma Rose, Bridget Law, Avril Smith, Amanda Grapes, Kimber Ludiker, Nina Waters, and Carrie McCune.
After hitting the slopes all day, the elder statesman of Leftover Salmon slalomed their way to the main stage. The band even performed “Powder Days” in tribute to the heavenly white dust that poured down all weekend long. Lindsay Lou made one of many special appearances, joining the band on Townes van Zandt‘s “Two Hands”.
As the third and final day of the 2023 WinterWonderGrass Steamboat descended on the mountain, all-female string ensemble Big Richard welcomed early afternoon revelers on the main stage. Highlighting the set was a bluegrass take on Britney Spears‘ “Toxic” before The Lil Smokies took over. The Montana quintet’s set was a revolving door, featuring appearances from Lou, Kyle Tuttle, and even Greensky Bluegrass‘ Paul Hoffman ahead of the band’s headlining sets.
WWG originals Greensky Bluegrass finally took over the main stage for a climactic two-set performance. All hands were on deck as GSBG welcomed Mark Morris (Rapidgrass), fiddler Jake Simpson (The Lil Smokies), and the usual suspects Lindsay Lou and Kyle Tuttle. Following the last of the main stage merrymaking, things came full circle as Pickin’ on the Dead closed out the weekend on the Soapbox side stage with the final performance of WinterWonderGrass Steamboat 2023.
Check out daily photo recaps of WinterWonderGrass Steamboat courtesy of the festival. Up next is WinterWonderGrass Tahoe in California from March 31st–April 2nd. Tickets and full details are available here.
WinterWonderGrass Steamboat 2023 Recap