Summer fun in ski country: Base Lodge Bluegrass Festival

The Hot Flannel All-Stars headline the first Base Lodge Bluegrass Festival

Janelle Faignant

Last fall three organizations came together to brainstorm collaborative ways to bring new events to the Suicide Six Ski Area and the South Pomfret area. The Base Lodge Bluegrass Festival became the first of those efforts.

The collaboration between ArtisTree Community Arts Center, the Woodstock Inn and Resort and Suicide Six Ski Area combines the artistic resources of ArtisTree, the outdoor recreation destination of the ski Area, and the marketing power of the inn.

The Base Lodge Bluegrass Festival opens at Suicide Six Ski Area’s Base Lodge at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Musical performances kick off with the festival opener Deadgrass at 6:30 p.m. followed by headliner Hot Flannel All-Stars at 8 p.m.

Tayo Skarrow, communications and marketing director at ArtisTree, says the acts for the festival “came together organically.”

“Mark van Gulden, the music director at ArtisTree, has an extensive knowledge of musical talent in the area and was able to secure the main headliners, Hot Flannel All-Stars,” Skarrow said.

The product of fifth-generation fiddler Patrick Ross and guitarist Doug Perkins, the Hot Flannel All-Stars offer acoustic “newgrass,” a blend of folk, jazz, rock, Americana and Cajun genres, while Ross mixes music with storytelling.

“Doug and I have known each other for over 25 years,” Ross said by phone recently. “I met him in Winooski when I was 14 at Sneakers, and we’ve played hundreds and hundreds of gigs together.”

At the festival they’ll be joined by “all-stars” Matt Schrag on mandolin, and Pat Melvin on bass.

“For this particular event we have what I’m referring to as the A-plus list rhythm section,” Ross said. “Because whenever we can, we try to have this band, but everybody has their own projects and families.”

They’ll play a mix of covers and originals. “But for this one it’s probably going to be a little heavier on the bluegrass sounds because it’s a bluegrass festival,” Ross said.

“The songs we sing hold up as songs,” he added. “We have as much prowess with singing as we do with the instrumental because each musician in this particular lineup are soloists. So each of these artists in the band could do a 90-minute program solo and just floor the audience. Then to bring the five members together — you know when you add vinegar to baking soda? It’s going to be like that.”

Base Lodge Bluegrass Festival

ArtisTree Community Arts Center, the Woodstock Inn and Resort and Suicide Six Ski Area present the Base Lodge Bluegrass Festival Friday, Aug. 31, at Suicide Six Ski Area’s Base Lodge, 247 Stage Road in South Pomfret; Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, $28 in advance, under 12 free; for tickets or information, go online to

Janelle Faignant

Janelle Faignant is a freelance writer living in Rutland.

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