The MeadowGrass Music Festival in Colorado Springs is back with more diverse programming than ever | Culture & Leisure

It would be hard to beat the excitement of last year before the MeadowGrass Music Festival.

The beloved festival served as a “welcome” sign for live music in the Pikes Peak area after the pandemic hit. And that was a good sign, as Memorial Day weekend drew its highest attendance.

“We were like a beacon in the night,” said Nicole Nicoletta, executive director of festival organizer Rocky Mountain Highway. “It was phenomenal. It was huge.

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The Lighthouse is back, as MeadowGrass returns for its 13th episode this weekend at La Foret Conference & Retreat Center in the Black Forest.

The lineup offers plenty to be excited about, as is routine for MeadowGrass, including headliners Darlingside, a folk band from Boston, and Marc Broussard, a singer-songwriter known for his “Bayou soul” style. .

Attendees will hear insights from across the country. Musical acts are divided into thirds, with even parts representing local, regional and national acts.

This year’s lineup is probably the most diverse in the festival’s history, as more than half of the performers are women or of ethnic origin.

One of the headliners is Ranky Tanky, a Grammy Award-winning band from Charleston, SC, who perform jazz-influenced music inspired by Gullah culture.

“It’s an amazing tapestry on that stage,” Nicoletta said. “We’re talking about some serious souls and lived experiences and you can’t get that from just one demographic.”

Others on stage include Big Richard, a new supergroup of female musicians from Colorado, and Sugar Moon, a new bluegrass group made up of three female musicians from Longmont.

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MeadowGrass has a knack for booking emerging talent that you’ll hear from again, Nicoletta said.

“That’s what makes Meadowgrass so special,” Nicoletta said. “Our lovely little community gets to see up-and-coming musicians before they’re on ‘Saturday Night Live’ or playing the Red Rocks. It’s a gem.

One of them is Raye Zaragoza, a Los Angeles-based folk artist who said she’s heard a lot of hype about MeadowGrass in recent years. She filled her summer schedule with festival concerts, which was not possible in 2021.

“That’s why I play music, for unique experiences,” she said. “Summer festivals are definitely the most fun of tours. Nothing beats that.

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Zaragoza will sing songs from her album “Woman In Color”, which she was unable to perform much live due to its 2020 release date.

“It’s a collection of stories about different feminine energies in my life and being a mixed woman in America,” she said. “I worked very hard on the album, so I really wanted to play this music live and give it the life it deserves.”

She will do it during a set on Sunday. When she’s not on stage, Zaragoza plans to soak up some moments as a festival goer.

“Since COVID, I’ve really missed this festival experience,” she said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to be in the community as much as this.”

She will live this experience this weekend, with hundreds and hundreds of other music lovers.

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