On Sept. 12, the viral videos of a flooded Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons horrified anybody who had ever been to the mountain music festival venue.
The home of RockyGrass and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival (and planning hub for the popular Telluride Bluegrass Festival), normally a tranquil stretch of land bordered by rugged cliffs and the modest riffles of the North Saint Vrain Creek, looked like a raging river in the videos – wide and dark like the Mississippi but with fences and houses and stages and structures amid the roiling waters.
“There’s a lot of destruction,” said Brian Eyster, a Planet Bluegrass employee and Lyons resident. “The worst thing that happened on the Ranch that we know about is one of the offices floated down the river. It’s totally gone.
“The kitchen-sized refrigerator from that office floated from inside the Ranch to in front of (coffee shop) the Stone Cup, and there were still some magnets on the refrigerator – that’s how we knew it was ours. The roof of that office building landed on (Planet Bluegrass owner) Craig (Ferguson’s) overturned car, which is underground now.”
Video courtesy of Jon Gold on Facebook:
Eyster said he’s met with Ferguson and other Planet Bluegrass employees, and everybody’s balancing their time between personal duties – such as venturing back into Lyons on Sept. 19 to collect personal items – and the business’ day-to-day.
A few days ago, Ferguson waded across the river to inspect the Ranch’s stage, Eyster said: “He walked around the stage, and structurally there were no obvious signs. But we’re 100 percent committed that on July 25-27 we will be in Lyons and RockyGrass will happen that weekend.
“Just on the emotional power alone, it’ll be the best RockyGrass ever. It has to be.”
They’re hoping the main festival stage will only require refurbishing, as will Ferguson’s house, which is on the Ranch property and was hit with four feet of water and mud. They plan on restoring the bathhouses in the same location and having the offices rebuilt by Thanksgiving. The popular Wildflower Pavilion venue “took a big hit,” Eyster said.
Video courtesy of Early Ferguson on Facebook:
“But Planet Bluegrass is going to make it through,” he said. “Planet Bluegrass is lucky compared to so many people in town who don’t have the resources to rebuild.”
The organization has heard from hundreds of musicians in the last week who want to help.
“We’ve heard from a lot of locals and a lot of folks in Nashville, too,” he said. “The whole McCoury family have said they’ll drive out here and we can put them to work. Casey Driessen was in town this weekend, and he said he was going to pack his car with shovels and waders and give us a hand.”
The community has also rallied around the organization, and around each other.
“Lyons is a special place,” said Eyster. “And people are making that highly visible. One of the most heartwarming things about the last couple days has been the people who are saying that, despite all this destruction, they’re determined to go back there and make a life.”