April 17, 18, & 19, 2015 in Durango, Colorado

2014 Meltdown Events


Friday, 5 – 7 p.m., Durango Discovery Museum, 

1333 Camino Del Rio, along the Animas River

railroadmuseumThe warm-up for the Meltdown has become one of our festival’s more popular traditions. This free, two hour concert is held at the Durango Discovery Museum on Friday afternoon, when the festival opens.  Durango Discovery Museum is the Four Corner’s hands-on, interactive science center, providing innovative learning and unleashing human potential. Located on the banks of the Animas River in a historic coal-fired, steam-generated AC powerplant, Durango Discovery Museum presents a wide range of programs, exhibits, and activities for curious minds of all ages.  They are committed to developing a science center that is welcoming and engaging to all communities in the Four Corners and beyond. They strive to be inclusive because we believe science and technology are for everyone.  Enjoy exceptional bluegrass music and help us kick off the festival for the weekend with Sweetwater String Band and The Ruined Nation Boys.

Saturday, 12:00 – 6:00 p.m., Elks Lodge, 9th St. & East 2nd Ave.


Since it’s inception in the second year of the Meltdown, the Band Showcase has provided a stage for bands that want to participate but for whatever reason aren’t ready or willing to play the “main stage”. “Bluegrass Band Criteria” are severely bent for the Band Showcase.  The Stillwater Foundation and Escalante String Club will bring two great performances by the young aspiring musicians, The Slackers are a local favorite, Paw Coal and the Clinkers will bring their style from New Mexico, Tristan Scroggins and Anam Cara make a unique duo, Colorado College has a second band and Tom Klema and Family will wrap things up.  The Band Showcase never lacks for entertainment, not to mention the most entertaining Band Showcase MC in the four corners area. In 2006, this free to the public event found a permanent home at the Elks Lodge dance hall.

Saturday, 7 – 10 p.m., Henry Strater Theater, 7th St. & Main Ave.


Join the spontaneous fun of the Meltdown’s Superjam. The event has become a festival tradition and no two are ever the same. Local, regional and national talents come together to collaborate and inspire on the stage of the Henry Strater Theatre. The bluegrass community is a small circle of incredibly talented musicians. It’s often amazing to witness how individuals from different bands are sometimes old friends, past band mates, or just like-minded individuals. It’s impromptu magic, so sit back and see what happens!  Benny “Burle” Galloway and Jordan Ramsey will be hosting the event and are sure to throw together some incredible collaborations for the stage.

Saturday, 7:30 – 10 p.m.,Elks Lodge, 9th St. & East 2nd Ave

Do you know how to tell the difference between old time fiddle tunes? They have different titles.

In 2006, after recognizing the popularity of the old timey music scare with bands such as Reeltime Travelers and Sweet Sunny South, the Meltdown introduced the Old Time Barn Dance, at the Elks Lodge dance hall. With the perfect setting of the Elks Lodge and it’s hardwood dance floor and great old timey bands like the Pick and Holler and the Six Dollar String Band, this has evolved into a “don’t miss” event. Nobody has more fun during the entire Meltdown weekend than the kids of all ages that pack the Elks’ dance floor.

Saturday, 7:00 – 10 p.m.,Durango Art Center, 8th St. & East 2nd Ave

(Admission free with Saturday or Weekend Meltdown Wristband or $10 at the Door)

Open session at the Irish Embassy (free), Saturday, 10:00 pm -12:30 am

The Durango Bluegrass Meltdown presents an evening of traditional Irish and Scottish music.  Jim Lynch, the area’s finest highland piper for miles around for as long as most people can remember, will open the show accompanied by Bryant Forseman also on pipes and Steve Studebaker on drums.

We are fortunate to have once again a local and regional favorite, Giants Dance playing dazzling instrumentals and stellar vocals. Steve Cunningham (Guitar, vocals) and Karen Cunningham (flute, penny whistle, vocals) performed at the first Meltdown eighteen years ago as members of the pioneering Durango Irish band, the Wild Geese. With Kevin Dawson (fiddle, vocals) they formed Giants Dance and have entertained at many Celtdowns since. Eric Morningstar will support them on percussion.

Next will be Makhbeth, the newest addition to Durango’s thriving Celtic music scene. Bethany Wanket and Maria Blair, on fiddle and cello will perform music from all across the world, spanning from Scotland to Brittany and Ireland to Cape Breton Island. Playing fiddle and singing with the group, Bethany Wanket graduated from Fort Lewis College with a violin performance degree and is currently teaching private lessons and performing classical and Celtic styles regularly throughout the area. Maria Blair plays cello with Makbeth and is an avid fiddle player.

The Knockabouts from Flagstaff, Arizona will return to the Celtdown stage after an absence of three years. The band features veteran performers John McGregor on whistle, Jacquie McGregor on flute, Julianne Layton on percussion. Craig Yarbrough on guitar and Hannah Prizznik on fiddle will make their first Durango appearance. They all contribute to the groups strong vocals.

Their energy, musicianship and wit always compel the audience to be part of the show and leave them wishing for more. The Knockabouts have made numerous appearances across the West including the LA Irish Festival, Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas, Arizona Highland Celtic Festival, Phoenix Irish Fair and the Prescott Highland Games just to name a few.

Their perfect blend of time-honored tradition, bawdy good taste, and rowdy energy will serve them and us well when they host the open jam at the Irish Embassy after their main stage performance at 10:00 PM.


Saturday 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., Animas City Theatre

The singer/songwriter event consists of a group of talented performers who are invited to join together on stage to present their own original songs, poems or stories. Historically there are at least six songwriters. The event usually lasts for two hours plus with each songwriter getting at least two opportunities to perform, sometimes more when time allows. Audiences have found the time to be entertaining and exciting as they hear the different songs and how each songwriter presents their own finely honed material.




Sunday morning, Durango Art Center, 10a.m.-1p.m.

gospelYou don’t want to miss the gospel set on Sunday morning. This set highlights the versatility of at least three of the bands performing at the festival. There’s no reason to fret about missing church during the Meltdown, the a cappella vocals bring out heavenly harmonies. God is definitely present on Sunday mornings!




Jamming-Strater-sidewalk-HAR-Jeff-Scroggins-and-sonThe Meltdown features many indoor and outdoor (weather permitting) locations for informal jamming. The management of the Strater and Rochester Hotels welcome musicians to gather and play for their own enjoyment as well as that of the hotel guests. Numerous downtown bars and restaurants also encourage musicians to play at their discretion, and may offer complementary food and drink. Spring afternoons in Durango are often very pleasant and jamming on the sidewalks and at outdoor cafes can be a pleasant way to make new friends and expose the general public to the joys of bluegrass. Look for the Meltdown Flyer in the windows of participating establishments.

Friday & Saturday nights, see program guide for location

Part of the fun during the Meltdown is enjoying live bluegrass music while sampling great food and drink at some of Durango’s finest downtown bars and restaurants. Many of the same bands that play the main stages will also provide late night entertainment with no cover charge for those with Meltdown wristbands. See schedules on side bar for locations and times.



FILM: The Tao of Bluegrass – A Portrait of Peter Rowan
Sunday, 12 Noon – 1:30 p.m. at Animas City Theatre 

Peter and Bill  copyThere are only a few Blue Grass Boys still around that played with the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Peter Rowan was a Blue Grass Boy in the 1960s for only a short time, but Bill’s influence and musical knowledge still resonates with Peter. Even as he branched out into his own music after leaving Bill’s band, his bluegrass roots were never far away. This portrait of Peter expands beyond his music to his artistic and spiritual endeavors spanning four decades, giving the viewer an in-depth look at a true legend within our Americana musical history. His lyrical quality and melodies are memorable, and Peter influenced the next generation of musicians, sharing what Monroe taught him and what he has learned while being a troubadour and traveling the world.

There will be a Q and A with filmmaker Christine Funk sponsored by The Four Corners Film Office
Film was produced by South 40 Films and Floating Records

$10 at the door or $8 for any Bluegrass Meltdown ticket holders.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at