(this Cover Story was published by Planet Jackson Hole)
The fusion of old timers and newcomers. The updating and preservation of tradition. The human eagerness of gathering with a like-minded tribe to revel in movements of acoustic music. Welcome to the 28th Annual Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival. No mammoth Telluride Fest or the 78,000 people that gather at Merlefest, just slopeside simplicity with a few thousand compatible folks. Legend states that Chief Targhee was crucial in keeping the peace between white men and his tribesman. Allow Grand Targhee Resort to accentuate what is quintessential to the mountain lifestyle — peaceful intimacy and spatial goodness, prime camping and nearby accommodations, high-altitude beauty, access to National Forest activities and, of course, good company.
“This festival’s resiliency really is a testament to Geordie’s commitment,” festival talent buyer Tom Garnsey said during an interview with The Planet in 2009, referring to Targhee’s owner George “Geordie” N. Gillett III. “We’ve paced ourselves over the years, [as is] the American way, instead of finding some corporation to come in and make a seven-stage mess out of the place.”
Festival culture with respect to concert bills has long intrigued, especially when it comes to bluegrass. Just like the ole saying, “there’s nothing like a Grateful Dead show,” there’s also nothing like a bluegrass festival where “pickin’ tunes” extend beyond the mirage of main stage acts into the adjacent family-friendly campgrounds, parking lot jam circles and the first-rate Targhee Music Camp. The traditional musical language that has developed in bluegrass is comparable to