2nd Troublesome Fest sees 20% higher attendance than the 1st | SkyHiNews.com

2nd Troublesome Fest sees 20% higher attendance than the 1st

Katie Hearsum
For Sky-Hi News
Perfect weather graced the 2nd annual Troublesome Fest in Grand Lake Sept. 10.
Greg Hoover /Courtesy Photo

Local and international bands graced the waterfront stage on the shores of Grand Lake Saturday, Sept. 10, during the second annual Troublesome Fest, a fundraiser for multiple fire-related causes and agencies.

Interspersed between songs, local leaders including Grand Lake Mayor Steve Kudron, and Stephanie Conners, executive director of the Grand County-based nonprofit organization Fire on the Mountain, gave speeches to the crowd. 

Fire on the Mountain was formed in the days following the East Troublesome Fire with the mission to promote wildfire education, mitigation and recovery projects, and to provide support for fire victims and first responders. Troublesome Fest is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, and its inaugural event in 2021 drew 1,200 attendees and raised approximately $70,000. About half of of those funds were funneled directly to local fire districts for purchasing equipment and training materials, local schools for scholarships to support students interested in pursuing first responder careers, organizations that specialize in wildfire education and research, and mental health services for first responders. 

The annual Troublesome Fest takes place on the shores of Grand Lake, in view of Mount Craig. | Greg Hoover/Courtesy Photo
Greg Hoover/Courtesy Photo

Preliminary figures estimate that 2022 ticket sales were up about 20% over last year, according to Fire on the Mountain treasurer Krystal Steward.

“One hundred percent of the money raised will stay in Grand County, and we will look to the community to dictate how it should be used,” Conners explained. “Last year we left it up to the community to come to us with their needs and wants, and we plan to do the same thing this year.” 

The festival, with the tagline “A Musical Tribute to a Resilient Community,” was headlined by Stoney LaRue, a Texas-based group known for its “Red Dirt” country music roots, who took the stage after dark from 8:30-10 p.m. Prior to the finale, the global rock-and-soul group Band of Heathens performed a lively set of their top hits at sunset, including their popular rendition of the song “Hurricane.”

Earlier performances included classic jams by Grand Lake-based Puddle Stomp, Appalachian folk artist Lance Rogers, country-rock crooner Jeff Crosby and crowd favorite Todd Park Mohr, founder of Colorado darling Big Head Todd and the Monsters. 

Attendees lounged in camp chairs and on picnic blankets spread across the grassy lawn of Lakefront Park, whose perimeter was lined with several booths selling food, drinks and festival merchandise like posters, band albums and clothing. A silent auction was also held, with items like autographed Colorado Rockies baseball jerseys, camping equipment and an acoustic guitar. Volunteers mostly staffed the station, including members of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District. They headed up grilling operations.

New to the festival this year was the presence of local radio station KFFR 88.3 FM, which set up shop next to the sound booth in the middle of the park to provide a live broadcast to listeners, and conducted exclusive live interviews with the artists between sets. 

The Fire on the Mountain team is already working on a third festival for 2023. According to Conners, the Town of Grand Lake has expressed interest in hosting the festival again next year, and several “major” bands and sponsors have already contacted them about participating in the future.

“Each year we are learning more about what we need to do to produce an even stronger event, and next year we plan to invest in professional event staff to help manage certain aspects of the festival, as well as a party supply company to help us streamline our setup and cleanup efforts.” Conners said. 

Details about future events and funding reports can be found online at TroublesomeFest.com.

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