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Summer 2012 Music Fests 

Nearby music-fest road trips

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With Desert Rocks Festival and the Ogden Bluegrass & Acoustic Music Festival from oh-so-early in the summer behind us, the festival outlook for these hot, hot months might seem bleak. Two words: road trip! Options abound in the Intermountain West, from intimate affairs to colossal music carnivals—the choice is yours.

Targhee Country Festival
It gets pretty damned hot in Nashville in the summer, so it seemed like a good idea to bring the city—or, at least, some of its crooners—up to cooler latitudes for the first-ever Targhee Country Festival. With best-selling Dierks Bentley headlining Thursday, and country mainstay—actually, he shows these new whippersnappers the ins and outs of traditional honky-tonk and Bakersfield country—Dwight Yoakam headlining Friday, it’s sure to be a scintillating first edition. Alta, Wyo., July 26 & 27, $35-$47 per day, $67-$75 for two-day pass, GrandTarghee.com

Oyster Ridge Music Festival
While the headliners (Young Dubliners, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, Royal Bliss) are impressive for this free festival, the annual band scramble is even more so. Around 30 players throw their names into a hat and several bands are pulled together at random. Then, they take an hour to practice before taking the stage in competition for fame—or infamy. Kemmerer, Wyo., July 27-29, free, OysterRidgeMusicFestival.com

RockyGrass Festival
It’s been 40 years since Bill Monroe and the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society founded what’s now called RockyGrass Festival. This three-day event carries the intimate charm of the early days of the now bigger but one year younger Telluride Bluegrass Festival (run by the same folks, Planet Bluegrass), yet boasts an insanely amazing acoustic-music lineup. Lyons, Colo., July 27-29, sold out, Bluegrass.com

Sawtooth Music Festival
What had been a one-day festival since its inception, the Sawtooth Music Festival launched a Friday-night pre-festival concert in 2010, which was so successful it turned the event into a two-day spectacle—Idaho’s biggest little music festival. The Cave Singers and Langhorne Slim headline. Stanley, Idaho, July 27 & 28, $15-$45 per day, $50-$55 for weekend pass, SawtoothMusicFestival.com

Targhee Bluegrass Festival
At 8,000 feet above sea level and sitting in the shadows of the Grand Tetons, Targhee Bluegrass Festival’s locale is as cool as the caliber of musicians it attracts—and without all the fuss over the other, bigger mountain bluegrass festival in Telluride. Truth be told, even the artists feel like they’re on vacation. Leftover Salmon, Del McCoury Band, David Grisman Quintet, Infamous Stringdusters and Donna the Buffalo lead a killer lineup. Alta, Wyo., Aug. 10-12, $45-$65 per day, $119-$159 for weekend pass, GrandTarghee.com

NedFest
Nestled in the Front Range just west of Boulder, Nederland is a place all its own. Homegrown brews—among other “homegrown” things—and music make it magical. The powerhouse trio of Steve Kimock, Keller Williams and Kyle Hollingsworth along with Melvin Seals backed by the Jerry Garcia Band make this fest one not to be missed. Nederland, Colo., Aug. 24-26, $35-$55 per day, $105 for two-day pass, $130 for three-day pass, NedFest.org

Twitter: @AustenDiamond

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