It’s Renewal time in the Arkansas River Valley. The return of Bluegrass musician Billy Strings and his 2022 Renewal Music Festival to the bucolic setting of The Meadows, in Chaffee County on the edge of Buena Vista is a welcome country reprieve. This festival has always been a family-friendly celebration bringing together music, community, and nature.
The two-day entertainment event is set to kick off at 4:00 p.m. Friday Sept. 23. It continues on Saturday, September 24.The concert has been sold out practically since the festival was announced.
While Strings is the headliner, there are several musical groups performing on two stages, with strong followings including The Seldom Scene, Cris Jacobs, Sarah Jarosz, and the Renewal Revue.
The bluegrass festival is a production of Bonfire Entertainment, the Steamboat Springs-based, family-owned entertainment organization led by CEO Scotty Stoughton.
Stoughton got unanimous approval to schedule the event back in May from the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners; recognition that he runs a well-organized, safe, and family-friendly festival. He has noted that his organization chooses to do only three to four festivals a year but “we do them very well. We are after quality, not quantity.”
The beautiful 100-acre venue holds plenty of room for stages and camping groups, for a crowd estimated to be around 5,000. Bonfire Entertainment does an admirable job in displaying the beauty of the site, which includes meadows, Cottonwood Creek and a swimming pond affectionately called “The Beach” on its website: https://bonfirentertainment.com/renewal/
Bonfire Entertainment highlights our rural setting in a way that shows they understand this valley: “The soul-filled community of Buena Vista, nestled in majestic Chaffee County, has once again, welcomed us to gather. We invite you to join us as we celebrate amongst the forest, river and towering mountains. Come with respect for the land, the community and each other, and to bask in the light of Billy Strings.”
Putting on an event like this takes clockwork scheduling and organization. Here in the county, the festival works with the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Chaffee County Public Health, and a host of entities that must approve event plans, safety and emergency evacuation plans, contingencies for lightening, and about every public emergency that can be thought of.
The involvement of a nonprofit is a Colorado requirement if an event believes its sound levels might be at or slightly above the state’s limits. In this case, Bonfire Entertainment has partnered with the Chaffee County Community Foundation, assuring a bonafide nonprofit credential.