WinterWonderGrass takes root in Tahoe

By Jenn Sheridan ·



Bluegrass fans rejoice as Keep Tahoe Bluegrass month continues with the first WinterWonderGrass festival at Squaw Valley from March 20 to 22. This family friendly event brings some of the greatest bluegrass musicians to the Valley for three nights of jamming paired with craft beer and local food.

“I saw the need to bring the community together with music, food and libations – the Colorado lifestyle. It’s really the mountain lifestyle,” said Scotty Stoughton, founder of WinterWonderGrass, which began in 2013 in Avon, Colo.

Staughton has been involved in event management for the past 20 years, including founding the SnowGlobe Music Festival, which takes place over New Year’s Eve in South Lake Tahoe.

“I enjoyed the community and the commitment to the lifestyle and the environment. I thought it would be a great opportunity,” said Stoughton, who thought Squaw Valley seemed like the perfect fit for the WinterWonderGrass community.

In addition to headliners including Trampled by Turtles, Greensky Bluegrass and the Infamous Stringdusters spread over three stages, the WinterWonderGrass festival features 14 regional breweries on site serving local suds. Organizers have partnered with Tahoe Food Hub and local food trucks to bring locally sourced health meal options to the venue. The main event is family friendly with kids ages 12 and younger receiving free admission. A kids’ tent will feature face painting, hula hooping and crafts will keep children entertained between their favorite bands.

A kick off party takes place on March 19 at with The Infamous Stringdusters at Moe’s Original Barbecue. Brothers Comatose rock the restaurant on Friday and The California Honeydrops play on Saturday. Meanwhile at the Olympic Valley Lodge, be sure to catch the après party with Dead Winter Carpenters on March 20, Greensky Bluegrass on March 21 and Dustbowl Revival on March 22.

Greensky Bluegrass headlines
“I’m stoked. We love playing in Tahoe so anytime we get to go back is a win,” said Paul Hoffman, who picks mandolin for Greensky Bluegrass.

The band has been involved with WinterWonderGrass from the beginning. Hoffman was introduced to playing music through his elementary school band program, which lead to him picking up a guitar and eventually the mandolin when he was 18-years-old. Although his family didn’t play music, his mother cultivated an appreciation of good music at a young age, he said.

Hoffman began jamming with a few of the band members around 15 years ago. Informal jam sessions gave way to writing, performing and the addition of band members. In 2006, Greensky Bluegrass won the band contest at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado and soon the band members were quitting their day jobs to pursue music.

Five studio albums and countless headlining shows later the group released “If Sorrows Swim” in the fall of 2014 and followed up an extensive tour this winter.

“When we released the album I felt it had a real eclectic feel. It’s a real representation of us as a band and thus not coherent thematically. But not in a bad way,” said Hoffman, whose writing style tends to lean toward a darker place.

“I write better from that perspective of fear, sorrow and struggle,” said Hoffman. “I used to think it was a form of catharsis for me, but it’s also like the nature of writing a novel. It’s about conflict.”

And, while the band has been busy on the road, there is already talk of material for a new album in the future.

As for the WinterWonderGrass festival, “We’re so stoked on the line up. It’s all people we love to play with and to party with,” Hoffman says.


Tickets for WinterWonderGrass range from $59 for a single-day pass to $139 for a three-day pass. As well, three-day passes with lift access to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are available for $318. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


Kick Off Party

March 19 | 11 p.m. (doors open at 9:30)

The Infamous Stringdusters | $20

Moe’s Original BBQ | Tahoe City, Calif.



March 20

2:30-5:30 p.m. | Beer Tasting

3:15 p.m. | Dustbowl Revival

4:30 p.m. | Front Country

4:30 p.m. | Special Pick

5 p.m. | Brothers Comatose

6:15 p.m. | Front Country

6:15 p.m. | Dustbowl Revival

6:45 p.m. | Dead Winter Carpenters

8 p.m. | Front Country

8 p.m. | Dustbowl Revival

8:30 p.m. | The Infamous Stringdusters

10 p.m. | Dead Winter Carpenters & Dustbowl Revival | Olympic Valley Lodge

Late Night | Brothers Comatose & Front Country | Moe’s BBQ


March 21

2:30-5:30 p.m. | Beer Tasting

3 p.m. | Brothers Comatose

3 p.m. | Paige Anderson & Fearless Kin

3:30 p.m. | Scott Law & Tyler Grant

3:45 p.m. | Sierra Nevada Brew Talk

4:30 p.m. | Brothers Comatose

4:30 p.m. | Head for the Hills

5 p.m. | The California Honeydrops

6:15 p.m. | Scott Law & Tyler Grant

6:15 p.m. | Head for the Hills

6:45 p.m. | Elephant Revival

8 p.m. | Scott Law & Tyler Grant

8 p.m. | Head for the Hills

8:30 p.m. | Trampled by Turtles

10 p.m. | Greensky Bluegrass & Head for the Hills | Olympic Valley Lodge

Late Night | The California Honeydrops & Dustbowl Revival | Moe’s BBQ


March 22

2:30-5:30 p.m. | Beer Tasting

2:45 p.m. | Fruition

3:45 p.m. | T Sisters

3:45 p.m. | WonderGrass All Stars

4:15 p.m. | Head for the Hills

4:30 p.m. | Golden Road Brew Talk

5:15 p.m. | Fruition

5:15 p.m. | T Sisters

5:45 p.m. | Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers

7 p.m. | WonderGrass All Stars

7 p.m. | Fruition

7:30 p.m. | Greensky Bluegrass

9 p.m. | Sam Bush & WonderGrass All Stars | Olympic Valley Lodge


*Events held at Squaw Valley unless noted