YarmonyGrass 2016: A Weekend of Bluegrass on the Colorado River

first_imgColorado sure loves its bluegrass festivals—RockyGrass, Winter Wondergrass, Telluride Bluegrass Festival—but none are quite as intimate or isolated as YarmonyGrass. Celebrating its 11th year this past weekend, the festival is nestled on the banks of the Colorado River at Rancho Del Rio surrounded by mountains, including its namesake Mt. Yarmony to the West. It is hard to find a more beautiful setting for a music festival.During the days, the river was filled with swimmers and a laughable fleet of inflatable vessels. Participants relied on anything they could muster to float the winding stretch of flat water connecting Rancho Del Rio and State Bridge four miles downstream–paddle boards, duckies, mattresses, inner tubes, rainbow unicorns, you name it. Back for the first time in five years, a “floating stage” hit the river midday Saturday with the aptly named Whitewater Ramble playing a set on rafts while a long line of festival-goers floated along for the ride. During the nights, a non-stop flow of music poured over the grounds from two stages. The Main Stage faced an open lawn and the intimate Saloon Stage was on a deck that featured half-hour tweener sets from up-in-comers on the bluegrass scene including the Kitchen Dwellers, Caribou Mountain Collective, and Whiskey Tango.The Jeff Austin Band headlined Friday, drawing the largest crowd of the weekend. In his usual quirky nature, Austin announced how excited he was to be “by all the freakers by the river” and continued to play a dark, experimental set with his four-piece band. To the pleasure of many longtime fans of Yonder Mountain String Band, Austin dove into nostalgic material he has been reluctant to play since his departure from the band, including “Dawn’s Early Light” and an encore of “Raleigh and Spencer” with a Roosevelt Collier sit-in. Though Austin’s choppy mandolin certainly led, it was virtuosic banjo player Ryan Cavanaugh that stole the show every time his number was called for a solo. Early Main Stage performances Saturday included an evening set from the Grateful Dead cover specialists Uptown Toodeloo String Band and Andy Hall’s Joint Set, dobro extraordinaire from the Infamous Stringdusters. Hall’s set began with a beautiful rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” with Roosevelt Collier (the two announced they will be releasing an album together) before bringing a full bluegrass band to the stage to work through a handful of unique covers. But Saturday night belonged to the Drunken Hearts. Bringing a welcomed change of pace from the traditional bluegrass prominent for much of the weekend, their Main Stage set opened up into a number of rocking jams (Steve Miller Band’s “Swingtown” may have been the best) that let the chops of lead guitarist Rob Eaton Jr, bassist Jon McCartan, and drummer Alex Johnson truly shine.Even after playing the set of the weekend, or maybe because of it, the Hearts were enlisted as the primary backing band for Roosevelt Collier’s Colorado Get Down. Bringing out almost a dozen guest musicians before he was done, the pedal steel guitar specialist Collier continued on a funkier path that included an extended rendition of Billy Cobham’s fusion classic “Stratus” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”If you were to nominate the MVP of this year’s festival, it would certainly have to be former Leftover Salmon keyboardist Bill McKay. It seemed as though his rig never left the main stage and his signature brand of honky-tonk, rag-tag playing shined on sit-ins in with Coral Creek, the Drunken Hearts, Uptown Toodeloo String Band, Andy Hall, and more.Over a decade after its inception, YarmonyGrass is now one of the state’s premier musical destinations.  With breathtaking scenery and tight-knit community of loyal patrons, it sure looks like it’s going to stay that way.Check out more photos from the event, courtesy of Elliot Siff Photography (Facebook)!last_img read more

4 persons arrested for illegal gambling

first_imgDetained in the lockup cell of themunicipal police station, they face charges for violation of PresidentialDecree 1602, which prescribes stiffer penalties on illegal gambling./PN ILOILO City – Police caught four personsengaging in illegal gambling in Barangay Salacay, Cabatuan, Iloilo. They were John Dave Perez, EdwinMonegro, Roel Dela Peña, and Christian Angelo Gazo, a police report showed. center_img Their apprehension came after the Cabatuanpolice chanced upon them playing pusoy ata wake around 9:10 p.m. on April 6. The suspects were not observing socialdistancing, police said.  last_img

Hidden Homelessness

first_imgWe are used to seeing homeless individuals: there are 20,000 people in Melbourne alone sleeping on cardboard boxes, wrapped in dirty blankets, with some food left beside them and a hat for the spare coins of passersby. Perhaps we are a bit more used to this image than we should be; which is why most of us pay little or no attention to the 44,000 homeless young people in Australia.Often our eagerness to expand the luxurious surroundings of our own ‘Australian dream’ comfort zone, makes it difficult, impossible even for an everyday person to understand, let alone relate to, life on the streets; the reality of life from couch to couch and hostel to hostel. There is, however, a category of homeless people living among us who do not wear dirty clothes, who aren’t seen sleeping on the streets, who don’t beg for money.Canberra-born Dionysios Georgopoulos, a 20-year-old photography student at RMIT, captured images of several homeless people around Melbourne, most of them young, and decided to tell their stories through his lens.Working with the St Vincent de Paul Society, one of Australia’s largest charities, Dionysios ventured on a photographic journey to depict one of Australia’s biggest social problems. “St Vincent’s de Paul Society came to RMIT University to talk with the photography students about hidden homelessness and how we could help by taking photographs,” Dionysios tells Neos Kosmos.Dion Georgopoulos.“I personally had never heard ‘hidden homelessness’ before they mentioned it. It is a real issue that I and I’m sure a lot of other people haven’t thought about, so I thought it was a great cause and jumped on board immediately and started to think critically about the issue and how I can communicate it effectively to others.” The purpose of the project is to communicate hidden homelessness as something that can affect anyone, at any time in their life, without warning. Showing snippets of ordinary peoples’ lives shows just how destabilising and psychologically damaging an experience like this can be, according to the young photographer. “We wanted to help create a dialogue on the issue, sparking a conversation people are comfortable talking about it,” he continues. “Hopefully, this project is a first step towards understanding hidden homelessness, and creating awareness within the community.”Initially, Dionysios saw the project as a major challenge on many levels. He wondered how he could photograph people without resorting to stereotypes. He eventually resorted to the classic vox pop method, approaching a significant number of homeless people some of whom managed to conceal the fact that they had a housing problem quite well.“Ultimately it came down to talking to people about it,” he muses recounting his meetings with homeless people of all ages from different ethnic and social backgrounds.“Central Melbourne was a great area to go since it’s filled with diverse people, cultures and age groups. I walked around the street and started talking to ordinary people about their experiences and this idea of hidden homelessness.” To his surprise the majority of people he talked to had some form of housing stress whether it was minor or severe. Although even more surprising was their openness. “While some were hesitant to open up to me,” he explains. “Most were more than happy to share their experiences.”Dionysios will be finishing his degree at the end of this year, and even though it is difficult to say what his future plans are, he hopes to begin a career in photojournalism and continue to tackle a variety of different social and environmental issues. “Communicating these stories effectively to a large audience and finding new ways to tell them is very exciting to me,” he says.“This project is only the beginning.”Kenbon

: “I remember two years ago when I used to live with my family and they kicked me out of the house. I went to Yarra housing and they gave me money to sleep in a hotel for 3 days, that’s what I had to do. I am currently staying at my friends house, I’ve been here for about two weeks and they gave me a bedroom in Fitzroy. It is really a tough situation, I felt concerned and didn’t really know what to do. My situation is alright at the moment, and I hope I can stay at my friend’s house long enough to find a new place.”Alexander: 
”Recently I broke up with my girlfriend and I got kicked out of the house, even though it was a joint lease. I was trying to do the nice thing so I left. I had to call on a few mates to couch surf for a while. I live in Hobart in Tasmania, and I was sleeping in the backyard in a tent for two-and-a-half months with my friends. The break-up was expected but the rest that came with it was the hardest; being homeless, living in a tent, relying on your mates. It was dark.”Nashan: 

”I was going through that teenage stage where you have problems with your parents, and I started staying out late. Sometimes I would stay with my friends and other times I wouldn’t have anywhere to stay. There were a few nights where I would roam around the streets, going into McDonalds and ordering a burger trying to stay as long as I could, until they kicked me out. The main thing that hit me that night was the cold, it’s something you take for granted, just heating, somewhere warm to sit or even sleep. It made me appreciate what homeless people go through, there was something very primal being out in the cold all night.”Ben

: “When I was 12 years old with my father worked as a dishwasher and chef, we didn’t really have any stability, a home, or anything like that. As a kid you when you don’t really have that sense of place, or security, it kind of makes you bit more anxious about what could come around the corner. Dad always struggled with money and bills, we lived in share houses. It was difficult to focus on studies, especially when going through high school it’s just something you always have to worry about. 
It defiantly made me grow up a lot quicker, it’s very real, you have no money, you have no where to stay, no where permanent. Faced with something that’s very adult at a very young age.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more