Welcome to The MusicFest

A special message from John Dickson

It’s a privilege to welcome you to the 37th annual MusicFest at Steamboat. One of the longest continuously running festivals in the USA is a longstanding traditional gathering of Good People and Great Music resulting in memories and friendships for a lifetime. 

It’s exciting to see the festival reach another milestone with the 21st consecutive year of selling out, and it took only 19 minutes—another record. As seasoned MusicFesters know, the “Pre-Reservations” system is in place for current participants to secure their spot prior to the sell-out frenzy.  

The MusicFest is known for cultivating one-of-a-kind specialty shows and events each year. This year is no different with over 30 unique shows/events alongside the nearly 200 incredible shows. 

Of course, we like to mix it up with some “fun” shows like last year’s Vanilla Ice performance in the Big Tent. I’d co-produced a college tour in the ’90s with him and it was great to reconnect. Vanilla Ice elevated a full tent to a sing-a-long of his hits and covers from those days. 

Take a few minutes to check-out this year’s many specialty shows complete with a ’90s Country Throwback, Musicians’ Livingroom show, Cajun party (beads optional) featuring a Grammy winner and many more…ONLY at The MusicFest. (See The MusicFest fold-out program in your check-in bag for a full list and links to find more info.)

Every year, The MusicFest boasts a stunning lineup that includes both legends and rising stars alike.  We’re proud and thankful to have such incredible talent in veteran artists who support the fest year after year and help open doors for other artists to follow in their paths of touring and album success.  

And then there are the artists in their first few years of enjoying The MusicFest experience. Over the years we’ve hosted many artists early in their careers, providing exposure and assisting in elevating them, and we’ve seen them go on to national acclaim, filling large venues across the country. This year is especially exciting with the surge of young artists that are reaching national touring heights like never before and they’ll be at MusicFest. If you haven’t already heard of them, you will throughout your stay in the majestic Rockies!

On that note, a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Shane Smith and The Saints, who will be back at Steamboat for their seventh MusicFest! A couple of months before last year’s MusicFest, the band had their song “All I see Is You” featured in an episode of Yellowstone, TV’s most-watched series. This past November, millions watched Shane Smith and The Saints perform three songs in a cameo appearance during Yellowstone’s record-breaking Season 5 premiere.   

While MusicFest is well known for cultivating and exposing up-and-coming artists—many who have gone on to national and worldwide fame earning accolades such as CMAs and Grammys—it’s incredible that six MusicFest artists (and counting) have had songs on the Yellowstone, including one artist who’s part of the cast.

Ryan Bingham was introduced in the first season of Yellowstone and has been part of some major storylines. He performed at The MusicFest for seven consecutive years. During one post MusicFest celebratory evening in Steamboat, I shared with Ryan a story about spinning a bottle on the highway to determine which way to go next. A few days later, Ryan contacted me from LA and told me he spun a bottle on I-70 resulting in some West coast couch surfing and new contacts … and the rest is history. Congratulations to Ryan for his exceptional (Grammy- and Oscar-winning) success in movies, TV, and music.

While you’re enjoying your MusicFest experience take a moment to focus on the talent on the many stages or who you’re rubbing elbows with in the hallways. As MusicFest history shows, there’s a good chance you’re hanging out with the “next big thing”!

Last but not least, we’re pleased to have Ben Haggard performing at MusicFest for the first time. It’s truly an honor to be recognizing his father’s work and ongoing influence at the annual MusicFest Artists Tribute to a Legend honoring Merle Haggard. “The Hagg” had 38 No. 1 singles plus collaborations with multiple music heroes including a version of past MusicFest tribute honoree Townes Van Zandt’s  “Pancho and Lefty” with Willie Nelson and George Jones. Enough said! 

Wishing you the best times with family, friends and the incredible sounds of The MusicFest experience.

Happy MusicFest,

John Dickson

MusicFest founder John Dickson, Vanilla Ice and radio/TV personality and MusicFest emcee Anne Hudson at one of the many specialty shows