Summer concert

New business startups are a risky undertaking these days. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of new businesses will fail within their first two years, 45 percent within their first five years, and 65 percent within their first decade. 

Outdoor music festivals are, of course, not immune to this phenomenon. While statistics on their specific survival rates may not be readily available, it’s a fairly safe bet that they don’t fare a whole helluva lot better.

All of which makes The MeadowGrass Music Festival that much more special. Organized and curated by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Highway organization, the three-day outdoor festival will be celebrating its 14th year this coming Memorial Day weekend. Few Colorado festivals have even approached that track record, although Blues Under the Bridge did come close; the much-loved Colorado Springs festival survived 13 years before being edged out by Downtown urban renewal in 2020.

MeadowGrass Music Festival, Friday-Sunday, May 26-28, La Foret Conference & Retreat Center, 6145 Shoup Road, Black Forest; see full lineup and ticket info at

Yet MeadowGrass continues to beat the odds. Situated half an hour north of downtown Colorado Springs at a scenic retreat center that’s surrounded by forest, the festival has earned a loyal following with its family-friendly atmosphere, often beautiful weather, and first-rate bookings that embrace musical diversity without losing sight of the festival’s bluegrass, folk-rock and roots-music origins.

This year’s lineup builds upon that tradition with headliners like Donna The Buffalo, the critically acclaimed upstate New York road warriors who’ve been described as “Americana’s answer to the Grateful Dead.” Also topping the bill are JigJam, who’ve been described as “Ireland’s answer to New Grass Revival,” and New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian funk band Cha Wa, who’ve been described as, well, that.

The festival will also feature plenty of night-time performances, music workshops, kids’ activities, yoga, food tents and the like. It’s a tried-and-true formula, one that will, in all likelihood, keep MeadowGrass going for years to come.  

Music Editor

Bill Forman is the music and film editor of the Colorado Springs Indy, as well as the former editor of Tower Pulse Magazine and news editor for the Sacramento News & Review.