Kinfolk Celebration - Lyons, CO (August 25-26, 2012)

written by Dorothy St.Claire; with various contributors

Yonder Mountain String Band is known not only for their inventive bluegrass-inspired music, but also for the way they truly love and appreciate their fans.  Every show is a celebration, but each year we get a special show or two to really get into the Kinfolk spirit, and to grow closer as a community.  I am referring to the Kinfolk Celebration; and this year it was taking place over two days at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, CO.

Of course, I wasn't the only one excited for these two days.  It all started early Friday morning:

"With a great night’s sleep under our belts, we descended to Lyons to join the lot of Kinfolk waiting in line at Bohn Park. We were immediately greeted with hugs and beers and shouts and so much love that it is hard to describe."  ~Michelle Schiller

"This sunny Colorado Bluebird Sky morning reminded me of yet another reason why we travel across this country for music – ALL OF THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE!"  ~Michelle Schiller

Once the lines started moving and we drove down the street to the Planet Bluegrass Ranch, our crew divided.  Those who wouldn't be camping with their cars went back behind the stage to the tent only camping area, while those of us who couldn't bear to part with our cars stayed out front, right by the box office.  It was unfortunate that we couldn't all camp together, but it wasn't the end of the world.  I soon learned just how small the Ranch really is, and that we weren't that far away after all.  We spent a great few hours catching up and taking it all in.

** There are a handful of middle fingers in this blog.  Please know that these middle fingers signify happiness and are in no way meant to offend. **

As soon as we got into the venue area, I was amazed by my surroundings.  It was so green!  I've never been to a festival where there was so much grass instead of just trampled dirt.  And then to be surrounded by the mountains, and to hear the trickle of the very low St. Vrain River...  From the moment we arrived, I never wanted to leave Lyons, CO.  

Not only was this the first day of the Kinfolk Celebration, but it was also Tim's birthday - and their camp celebrated with pounds of smoked pork.  You could literally follow your nose to their camp.

Everywhere we walked, we ran into more friends.  The Ranch is so small that it was impossible not to.  

Around 3:30 we made our way to the stage for the first band, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge.  

Larry's set was over far too soon, but next up was Split Lip Rayfield.  I love Split Lip, and I love the raw energy they bring to each show.  It was a hardcore dance party, which left some a little worse for the wear.  

"I Get Down" ~Junkyard

It was the perfect afternoon to see music outside with your friends.  

We took a little breather after Split Lip, getting plenty of laughs before Todd Snider hit the stage.

"Now some of you reading this know that when our group gets together, we like to get a little goofy. This weekend’s goofy garb was inspired by a poster and a case of vodka. The vodka, Spring Hill 44; the poster, Kinfolk Celebration; the outfits: Bees of course! We were buzzed and we were buzzing around Planet Bluegrass."  ~Michelle Schiller

After Todd Snider, I wandered a little bit and saw some friends, who booed me as I walked by (a sign of affection, inspired by Maury Povich).  As they headed to the front of the stage, I headed to the back - all of us getting ready for Yonder's first Kinfolk Celebration set.

I had a great time taking photos backstage while Yonder did their thing.  I didn't stay back there long, because I had to get back to where I belong - with my Kinfolk on the rail.  One of those Kinfolk was Eric Martin; here's his story:

After a few wonderful days hanging out in Colorado, we made our way to beautiful Lyons, Colorado for my first Kinfolk Celebration since 2009. This was my first time at Planet Bluegrass and as soon as I was there, I knew it wouldn’t be my last. The first day started with a great set by Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, an ever-energetic dance party with Split Lip Rayfield, followed by another great set with Todd Snider. Soon enough, though, I was ready for what I had traveled 1400 miles for. Yonder was back home for this kinfolk celebration, and although I was so far from Atlanta, I couldn’t help but feel at home as I looked at the beautiful scenery surrounding me, made all the more beautiful by the friends and family in every direction, and serenaded by a wonderful “Shady Grove” opener.

Anyone who knows me knows one of the things I was most excited for was Andy Hall joining the guys onstage all weekend, and he asserted his right to be there during the “Wheelhoss” that had quickly morphed out of the “Shady Grove” opener. I think Andy fits in perfect with these guys. He always adds just the right touch, never too much. And a great Andy Hall solo took us back into a quick “Shady” outro, followed by a huge burst of applause as the crowd released a big chunk of the energy that had been steadily growing since the Lyons announcement months ago. The energy remained high as Ben began “Sometimes I've Won”, and only grew more as Adam sang “All the Time”. After that the boys took a quick breather, allowing us some time to rest our feet after a great opener. Jeff mentioned how good it was to be home, made a comment about the elusive “new record” they’re working on, and kicked it over to Dave for what could be one of the best songs of all time. Quote me on that. It’s good. It’s one of those songs you listen to over and over; and over, and over, and over…. So yeah, I love “Don’t Worry Happy Birthday”. Dave’s songwriting is so unique, and it’s obvious that he is having fun onstage, which makes it that much more fun for the audience.

I was all smiles at this point, and Jeff picked up the pace with “Out of the Blue”. This was really starting out to be a great night. I was excited to hear from Ben after this song that this was his son's first concert. I wish I was cool enough to be going to Yonder shows as a baby; but I think when I was a baby the Yonder boys were learning geometry or something. Anyway! The proud father took over the mic next with his newest song, “Straight Line”. I couldn’t have been happier to be so far away from home at this point, and as if the boys wanted to bring a little of my home to theirs, they started the fly-by-you dance party that is known as “Sothern Flavor”. If there had been dust instead of beautiful lush grass at this amazing venue, it would have really been flying now. I should know this by now, but just when you start thinking that it couldn’t get much better, it does; and at this point the boys started strumming the very funky, very familiar “well, well, well” beat, and Ben sang “Shakedown Street”. Not being at Strummit, this was my first ever Yonder performance of "Shakedown". This rendition of "Shakedown", though, would include a bitchin' Andy Hall solo. Take that, Strummit. Like a rare eclipse, it was done as soon as it started. “What the Night Brings” kept the feet moving afterwards, and go figure, Andy Hall kicked the sh*t outta this song, too. There’s just something about the way these guys pass along solos onstage, always accentuated with a fierce energy and intense passion. As I tipped more of my drink down the gullet, the words “not sure how I got here, but I got here anyway” truly rang home like never before. What a blur everything but this exact moment seemed to be. Whoever said “getting there is half the fun” obviously never made it to a Yonder show. One thing was not for certain, what the second set would bring. And after a first set like that, who knows what the next 3 would bring.

~Eric Martin

Eric couldn't have said it better.  We had a nice quick set break with our Kinfolk, and soon we were thrown right back into the music.  There was no banter - just a whole lot of notes as "New Horizons" brought us back into the Yonder zone.  The groove just got going when they completely took me by surprise with a beautiful "Dear Prudence".  My eyes welled up a little as I sang along, "Look around, round, round, round, round..."  It was perfect, and I was still in disbelief as they crashed back into "New Horizons".  Adam's dark guitar riff took us into "Pass This Way", a new song that has already become a favorite of many, including me.  Then it was time to get down to business, with "On the Run"> "Pretty Daughter"> "On the Run". I know there's a lot going on musically in "On the Run", but this is one of those songs that I can't help but focus on the bass.  Sure, I'll get distracted by my favorite pieces of the solos, but that fast thumping bass just grabs me.  Andy Hall took a nice long solo before "OTR" broke down and slammed into "Pretty Daughter". They brought it all back together when they finished "OTR"; it was a spectacular sandwich journey through two great songs.

"Pockets" and a kick-ass "My Gal" were next, with Larry Keel joining them on stage. Let me just say that Jeff and Andy's "Over the Waterfall" at the beginning of "My Gal" was fire.  There was no time to pause and reflect, because "My Gal" raged all the way through until they took it straight to "Snow on the Pines".  It was a big one, and stood all on its own.  We knew the show had to wrap up soon, but the Yonder boys wanted to make sure we were all thoroughly entertained, and finished the set with an aggressive "Raleigh and Spencer".  The crowd goes wild when they play this one.  Every time.

The encore brought the 5-piece Yonder Mountain back to the stage for two goodies: "Dim Lights Thick Smoke" and "Going Where They Do Not Know My Name".  Fantastic choices to end a fantastic day.  

"Yonder played an amazing show and we were all having such a great time flying around the Planet Bluegrass ranch. The best part about the evening was knowing that we got to do it all over again the very next day!  Nature, friendship, and music— Life truly doesn’t get any better than this. Thanks to all of the Kinfolk that made this weekend one that I will never forget!"  ~Michelle Schiller


I woke up really early Saturday morning.  Like really early.  Around 6:30.  I didn't plan to stay awake, but as I walked by the box office, I noticed outlets on the outside of the building.  Was I dreaming?  Was this a dream?  No, I was awake - and there was no way I could go back to sleep after discovering electricity.  I got a lot done as I watched the campground rise with the sun.  

Photo courtesy of Kelli Scott

People were up and laughing and playing.  It was another beautiful day.

I was sitting at my camp later that morning when Pastor Tim came looking for me. I was needed to photograph the long-awaited Polar Bears Club Reunion! I followed PT over to his campsite, where we met with Whitney, Kyle, and Matt. Here's Whitney's story:

The 2003 Kinfolk Celebration at Planet Bluegrass was held September 12 & 13. That was long before Facebook and Phantasy Tour existed and all we had was the Yonder Yahoo Group. It was a time of getting to know people by their online handle name, setting up meet and greets in the various places Yonder played, and of course sending notes, stickers and blanks & postage in the mail. At meet and greets it was customary to burn a few shows and bring them to trade with people. The 2003 Kinfolk Celebration was the first time I had met Pastor Tim in person (as well as many other wonderful Kinfolk—some, sadly, who are no longer with us), and there had been discussions long before the festival that we all wanted to get up early Saturday morning and go swimming in the St. Vrain River. As it got closer, it was apparent that it was going to be pretty cold, but it was still on. The weather forecast called for it dropping into the lower 30s at night. When we arrived, we realized that there was hardly any water in the river. By Saturday morning, I heard PT yelling my name, and I came running out of my tent. I was ready! We convinced only two more people to join us (Matthew Fleahman and Charlie Shonka). The moment was caught on film so we had proof, and it was supposed to become a tradition. However, the Kinfolk Celebration did not return to Planet Bluegrass until this year. Even though it was much warmer now, we still had to do it for the sake of tradition. We were thankful that Dorothy was easy to find that morning, so we could again have photographic proof! Although we were unable to locate Charlie that morning, we were able to wrangle up Kyle Buss and Matt Smith who were happy to be a part of our tradition.
~Whitney Maxwell

It was fun watching Pastor Tim, Kyle, Whitney, and Matt take a dip in the low and freezing cold river, and I was so thankful that all I was submerging was my feet.  We all headed back to camp for many more hours of Kinfolk fun.  The music didn't start until after 5pm, and we were all so happy to get to spend so much quality time together.

The afternoon went by in a flash, and it was soon time for our big Kinfolk Meet and Greet.  A gaggle of Kinfolk met at the venue gates and flowed over the lush lawn towards the Wildflower Pavilion.

It was great to see such a big turn out for this meet and greet, and I loved making so many new friends.  Once again, I got to put a lot of faces to names I had only seen online, which is always so cool.  Dave, Adam, Ben, and Jeff joined us, giving a lot of fans the chance to meet the Yonder boys for the first time.  Everyone mingled, drank some beers, and had some laughs before heading outside for our big group photo.

It was impossible to get anyone moving anywhere, and I knew Colin and I weren't going to make it for the beginning of Greensky's set.  We were just having far too much fun with our friends.

"... I think Brandon deserves an award for appearing in almost EVERY Kinfolk’s photos. It looks like that guy made it to EVERYONE’S camp! How did he do that? What a great guy! I love Brandon to pieces!"  ~Whitney Maxwell

We finally crossed the venue and headed backstage, where I shot a couple songs of Greensky's set.  I never get tired of this view.  It's so great to look out over the band and see all of you having such a fun time!

It was impossible to get anywhere without running into friends!

I enjoyed the rest of Greensky's set with my friends in the crowd - where the shenanigans seriously never stopped.

When Greensky was finished, I headed backstage again to wait for the beginning of Yonder's set.  I felt like I was running back and forth this whole weekend - luckily the Ranch is nice and small.  

I was ecstatic as I watched the Yonder boys walk across the backstage lawn and up the steps to the stage.  I stood at the back of the stage in disbelief of where I was as the boys came out to thunderous applause. I'll never get used to the feeling of being up on their level as all the fans send their energy up toward the band. It's absolutely incredible. I snapped my shutter as they tuned up, and felt the warmth bubble up inside as they started with "Rambler's Anthem".

I don't know if I've ever seen the boys as happy as they were this weekend.  They were surrounded by family and friends and were radiating happiness.  It could be felt bouncing off of everyone, as if there was an electric current jumping between all of us.  I was running through the crowd as the next song started, and was stopped dead in my tracks.  I felt my heart begin to race as I ran into Marissa and we gave each other a big hug.  They were playing "Maybe You Will Change Your Mind", and I couldn't believe that they were finally playing the top song on my wish list.  We danced hard to one of our favorite bluegrass songs, thinking that it couldn't get any better.  But you know what they say - just when you think it can't get no better, then it does!  Surely, it was the two shows at Terrapin Crossroads with Phil Lesh that inspired them to add some new Dead songs to their repertoire, and their first one tonight was "Jack A Roe", with Adam singing the lead.  It was an indescribable moment. 

By now it was obvious that this was the Kinfolk request set.  I love it when Yonder asks us to help them create a set, because we always get such a great mix of old favorites and new covers.  It felt like New Years in St. Louis all over again. "High on a Hilltop" came next and brought us back to a bluegrass frame of mind.  I was so happy, I hardly knew what to do with myself.  My face hurt from smiling.  Then Jeff asked Ben to "Tell us the beginning and the middle of a story, would you?"  So many people requested another full Sheriff Saga, but without more time, we would have to do with "Part 1"> "Mother's Only Son".  Darn.

I got back down to my crew up front just in time for "Gilpin Swing".  I searched for the tallest head around me, found Bub, and knew Carin wouldn't be far.  "Gilpin Swing" is her number one request, and I was so happy to get to boogie with her to her favorite once again.  It is a really cool instrumental, but then with Andy Hall added to the mix, it was breathtaking.  

"The boys should definitely play 'Gilpin Swing' more often, but only in confidence that I'll be there... just kidding.  But really, the song has the most perfect elements of spookiness and jazziness; A+ early Adam Aijala."  ~Carin Tompkins

"Rag Doll" came in with some seriously heavy bass and spooky dobro filling the air. I love this song, especially when Jeff hits those high notes.  It's just so damn good. As they got ready for the next song, Adam pivoted the boom on his mic stand, "I'm gonna position my mic to face Jeff a little bit for this next number."  "This is for all our bluegrass buddies!" Jeff exclaimed.  And there we were, jammin' to "Pan American".  Why would Adam want to look at Jeff during this song? Because it could easily turn into a disaster if Ben and Adam missed Jeff's cues. A simple head bob does a lot!  

What could they possibly throw at us next?  It was my request for the weekend, "Hey Bulldog".  Oh yes yes yes!  I heard a recording of Ben and Adam playing it at one of their shows, but this was the first time for Yonder.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  The coarse guitar riff, the harmonies, and the way Adam belted out "You can talk to me, yeah you can talk to me.  You can talk to me... If you're lonely you can talk to me!" I really didn't care what they played next, having experienced such a perfect set already, but they weren't backing off at all, summoning the end of the set with "Peace of Mind".  As the song transitioned into its jam, Jeff started on the pedal while Adam, Andy, and Dave took turns breaking it down. It obviously turned into another song, but it wasn't one that I recognized. Gregg turned to me and asked, "Is this a Phish song?" "I don't know." I replied, "Where's Colin? Look at his face, and we'll know if it's a Phish song." We found Colin a few rows behind us, and the grin that was spread ear to ear answered our question. "Sand" was sandwiched in "Peace of Mind", and made the audience quite happy.  I couldn't believe all of the gems they were bringing out for this show. The "POM"> "Sand"> "POM" jamwich lasted a full 27 minutes and finished out the first set.  

There's no other band I would want to call my favorite. Once again, these guys wholeheartedly took our suggestions and put on an absolutely amazing first set, giving us exactly what we wanted. 

After about 30 minutes, Pastor Tim and Whitney Maxwell came to the stage.  It was a big night, but I'll let Whitney tell you the story:

As soon as "Peace of Mind" was over, PT grabbed my hand and led me backstage. I was just in a daze. I didn’t know what I was in for. I was so nervous! We stood around for a while, until finally it was time to go backstage. Kevin was there to give me a huge hug, and thank me for helping to pay his salary all these years. I told him I was happy to help and that he was worth it. PT and I talked a bit about what was going to happen, but it really didn’t matter. I think at that point he sounded like the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons where you can’t understand a word they say. It all went by so fast! He told me he wanted me up on stage the whole time, so I just followed him out there. Boy, those stage lights are hot. I think I just stood there and played with my elbow—it was all very intimidating! All you Kinfolk are so intimidating! It was so awesome to see my good friend, Ian Mitchell, down in front cheering for me. Ian was the one who first nominated me for the Hall of Fame, and I thank him every day for this amazing honor! There were so many other wonderful Kinfolk down in front, but I was too nervous to make too much eye contact. I hope you can understand! The next thing I know, PT was handing me the microphone. The only thing I remembered was PT telling me that he was going to hand me the microphone and I was supposed to scream out, “Kinfolk’n A!” So, that’s what I did. But I don’t think that was where he wanted me to do that. It ended up being perfect though, because “Kinfolk’n A” as a phrase means so much to me.

Kin  folk  n  a – adjective.
1.     An expression of sincere gratitude. An overwhelming feeling of thanks.
2.     A phrase used when there is a loss for words.
3.     An expression of happiness and excitement.
“Kinfolk’n A there are so many great people here!”
4.     A phrase used to announce when Kinfolk family are present.

While I had wished that my nerves hadn’t got the best of me up on stage that night, there really couldn’t have been anything better that I could have said at that moment. That phrase has come to mean so many things to our Kinfolk community, and I am sure so many more wonderful uses for that word can be created. I am so honored to be a part of a community who thrives on tradition, and rejoices in the new. This community is so fortunate in that there are fans who have been around since day one, and there are new fans who just saw Yonder for the first time at this festival. The best thing to know is that our Kinfolk community will continue to open their hearts and their arms for each and every one of the fans who shows an interest and appreciation for the band, and who portray a general caring attitude towards our community. Our Kinfolk community needs nurturing, and it will only continue to be the community we have grown to love by our family continuing to carry on the things that have carried us thus far. Yonder is the thing that brought us all together in the beginning, but it is their fans--their Kinfolk, us--who keep making this community, this THING, bigger than any of us can even begin to explain. All I can do most of the time is just sit back and smile when someone asks me who this band is that I keep going to see. While I may try my best to explain it to them, it takes a certain kind of person to appreciate and understand what we have going here. And it is important to make sure this tradition lasts. For the sake of our Kinfolk community, and for the music!

After it was all said and done, I walked off the stage and my legs were Jell-O! Kevin offered me a beer which I happily agreed to. Then the band walked up, and one by one each of them gave me the most awesome bear hug. Each one of them whispered, “thank you” in my ear and again I was brought to tears. I could never even begin to explain what their music, their incredible fans, and their community mean to me. If it wasn’t for this band, I am not sure where I would be in life. I feel like there would be such a huge hole, and I am so thankful I don’t have to try and fill that hole. The last band member to give me a hug was Dave, and he definitely saved the best for last. He said to me “You now have the authority to slap people!” Such a classic Dave comment. When the band came back on stage, they called me out again, where I again gave Jeff a huge hug. What a cool moment I won’t soon forget.

~Whitney Maxwell

It was such a cool thing to see our Kinfolk sister Whitney up on stage, with tears in her eyes as Pastor Tim called her out for all of her Kinfolky awesomeness. Our Kinfolk family was spread all across the Planet Bluegrass grounds, each person forming their own cherished memories of this two day event. I always love the way Kelli Scott brings us into her world, so here's her set 2 story:

The boys hit the stage for the last set of the Plant Bluegrass Kinfolk Celebration 2012. They all looked excited and ready to go. The 2nd set started fast and hard with an out of the gate "Illinois Rain". Another song by written by Austin, inspired by emotional struggle and the constant reminder of the perseverance needed in life. Andy Hall molded into the song so well... he was a wonderful guest and a natural fit. The sounds of his dobro blended into the solos as if he were always there. The addition of Andy never felt imposed or forced... he is the ideal sit-in guest. 

Next was a very familiar song that hit me deep with "I've Been All Around This World". I moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains when I was 21 year old. It was truly "where I made my stand" and began to discover who I was. The melody has been played in the natural soundtrack of my life 'a many a time'. This was a great version of the traditional tune, and Dave's voice fit perfectly. Next, It was hard not to bounce to the fast beats and hard driving banjo of "Another Day". Again... plenty of room for Andy. It was great to hear his notes sliding and sweeping across the backdrop of the song. Ben checked in with the crowd for the 2nd set, and then surprised us all with "Someday's Reunion". This tune is rarely played, and there could have not been a more fitting song for the weekend. "We've been gone so long, we still could find our way home"! I was immersed in a sea of my most beloved and favorite people in the entire world!!! I could feel the love from all directions. Everywhere I looked I saw kinfolk sharing true connections and unforgettable good times. I had not seen my sister, Annie K, in over a year. She and I sang this song to each other like there was no tomorrow! It was "So damn good, to see her for a while"!!! The band gave many thanks to the crowd and announced the upcoming 4 day run at the Boulder Theater for NYE (Dec. 28-31st). 

After all this emotion and love... hugs, unicorns, and rainbows, I needed to get it all out of my system and RAGE. I needed a release; to just allow myself to totally let go. My little ears heard just what I wanted to liberate my dancing soul... Adam's honky-tonk opening lick of "Ten". It was on... "head down, feet on the floor" style. It was so good to dance and let loose with so many loved ones. My eyes were closed for most of "Ten", but when I did open them, I was continually greeted with happy, smiling faces enjoying the moment! The sky was beautiful all weekend in Lyons. It was clear and the stars were out by the billions, big and bright! Ted did an outstanding job with the lights. He used the full span of space available to him, from the stage lights that shown down onto the crowd, to the lights on the trees behind the stage, to the amazing shapes and designs he displayed on the cliffs that rose above the St. Vrain river. Way to go Ted! Great Job... You never disappoint. :) The sound was also amazing, clean, clear, and crisp for the large natural, outdoor venue. Ben Hines is the man! He always makes Yonder sound their best! His shirt on Friday summed it all up, "You Rock or You Die". The middle of "Ten" got slow and dirty... not sure where they were going, but I liked it. Ben popped out of the sultry jam into the Danny Barnes tune, "Funtime". "Hey Baby, it's a fun time... all alone in my mind..." So good... so true! And a great song to sandwich with "Ten". Both songs are very danceable, but with different vibes. The rage and determination of "Ten" was broken up by the very light "Funtime". We were treated to 3 special dancers for "Funtime". It was a family event. The fist pumping ensued with the completion of "Ten".

Next was a song that I have not heard since CFT. I was so happy to hear Dave's, "Ripcord Blues". Again, it was awesome to share my dance space with Annie. We did a little jig and tried to bring back the era of swing. I love when Dave reminds us "tough shit if you can't hack it... ". This is my favorite saying in life for when things don't go my way... or for times when I try, but don't quite get where I would like to.... It refreshes my memory to not take life so seriously and lighten up. Andy Hall's sound added a great dimension to the boogie-woogie style of "Ripcord Blues". Jeff says Andy "fits in like a little extra peanut butter on top of our jelly!" I couldn't agree more. Adam then sang everyone's favorite love song, with "You left me in a hole". And, Ben took a turn with Hartford's "Holdin'". It was great to bring back "Romance Blues". A blast from the past. "I'm talking to you, little girl, but you don't seem to hear me", Classic!

Now, for the last big chunk of music of the night. Wow, when I say chunk, I mean A Chunk! Not to be taken lightly. Breathe deep and get ready Kinfolk, you are about to get delivered a 40 minute, super-stacked, hot and juicy club sandwich of what Yonder does best. Hardcore, jam grass, in your face, YMSB style, leave you wanting so much more to finish off the set. The multi level feast began with the always rockin' "Traffic Jam". The crowd was unified by the intensity and synergy of the jam. It's as if everyone begins to move as one... one big ass ball of unstoppable energy! "TJ" slowed into "Keep on Going". This was one of the first songs that hooked me on YMSB. I was going through a hard time in my life and I listened to this song over and over again! This "KOG" was really special because everyone around me was singing along with every word. It was wonderful! Folks were there from every region of the US, and all walks of everyday life. It was in every sense a "Kinfolk Celebration". After "KOG", I thought the band was going back into "TJ", but I was very pleasantly surprised when Jeff seductively led into the vocals of "After Midnight". Oh, the exchange from the crowd was nothing less than a dirty dancing, sweaty mess of Kinfolk "lettin' it all hang out" underneath a big open clear Colorado sky! What could be better? The band then went back into the reggae beats of "KOG", and Adam and Andy gave it their best! UUMMM, SOOO GOOD :) We were all waiting for the big "AAAAA" and ending jam to finish off "Traffic Jam". The magically woven stacks and layers of this Super Club Sandwich jam will fuel me for weeks to come.

The set ended and the crowd exploded with excitement! "Wow, did we just get that?" was the overwhelming feeling all around me. The boys took a quick breather. Drinks were hoisted and cheers for the encore welcomed the band back on stage for a couple more. Jeff's sweet little opening note of "Reuben and Cherise" filled the air! Our buddy Justin had been chasing this one for a while. He was front and center for his request! We all sang at the top of our lungs to a very soulful version. I tried to keep my eyes open, just to hold onto the image as long as possible. The night ended with "Troubled Mind"> "20 Eyes"> "Troubled Mind". The night was complete, we were left in an energetic frenzy, raging it only like Kinfolk can!

The 2012 Kinfolk Celebration at Planet Bluegrass will forever be captured as a magical experience frozen in time! The experiences and memories have taken root in my soul, and I am constantly surprised as the thoughts flood back into my mind. I find myself with a big Joker grin on my face that can't be shaken. We are all so lucky to share the ride with so many loved ones and true family! I love you all so much! I'm so grateful for this wonderful Kinfolk community, and am continually taken back by the fireworks created through our collective energy. Thanks for a great 2 days in Lyons!!! Next year, I vote for 4 days! I also welcome Andy Hall to sit-in --- anytime.
~Kelli Scott

The party didn't stop with the music.  We all took full advantage of our last night together, and celebrated being Kinfolk.  The morning came far too soon, and we all had to say goodbye.  But goodbye is never forever, and thanks to Yonder's continuous touring, we would all be reunited soon.  Thanks to Michelle, Kelli, Whitney, Eric, Carin, and Junk for contributing to this blog, and thanks to ALL of our Kinfolk for contributing to the most amazing weekend a Yonder fan could ever ask for.

Photo courtesy of Colin O'Brien

Written by Dorothy St.Claire; with contributions by Michelle Schiller, Kelli Scott, Whitney Maxwell, Eric Martin, Carin Tompkins, and Junkyard.

Yonder Mountain String Band
8/24/12 Kinfolk Celebration at Planet Bluegrass, Lyons, CO

Click below to preview tracks from this show


Yonder Mountain String Band
8/25/12 Kinfolk Celebration at Planet Bluegrass, Lyons, CO

Click below to preview tracks from this show