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PC: Jodane Christoffersen, BackyArt Photography

Featured Article

Step Back in Time

Summer Music Festival at Roseberry

Article by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

Photography by Lance Thompson + Provided

Originally published in Meridian Lifestyle

In 1911, Roseberry was the largest town in Idaho’s Long Valley, complete with a hotel, two blacksmith shops, a restaurant, butcher shop, and a logging mill to serve the town’s descendants of Finnish homesteaders. But when the railroad bypassed the town less than two miles to the west in 1914, many people decided to move closer to the rail lines, establishing the town of Donnelly. Roseberry became a semi-ghost town of a few sturdy structures including a schoolhouse, general store, barn, and carriage house.

From July 18 to July 20, Roseberry will come alive with the sound of music. Since 1977, musicians have traveled to Long Valley to perform for enthusiastic crowds in the majestic mountains of central Idaho. And for two decades that crowd has gathered in Roseberry.

Cody Fisher has been coordinating the Summer Music Festival at Roseberry for 18 years. “I like that our festival is still a smaller local hometown festival. It's very cool to see so many awesome people come together each year to make this awesome tradition happen! It feels like you're home when you're there. The energy is always super positive and everyone is there to have fun.”

Fisher notes that he and the board members work all year long to plan and prepare the festival. “We appreciate our loyal audience who come out to support us no matter what. We love our people! The McCall Folklore Society is a non profit that also puts on the annual Kids Mountain Music Camp and local small concerts. (www.kidsmountainmusiccamp.com)” 

The camp, a three day workshop for children ages 8-17, is held in McCall with a final community performance in historic Roseberry.  The Summer Music Festival gives the students real life experience of performing for a live audience. Children learn basic music skills and the history of American music with an emphasis on folk, bluegrass, and mountain music. Classes cover an instrument choice of fiddle, banjo, mandolin, or guitar, plus singing and songwriting.

“We reach out to musicians and acts that fit our style, price point, tour routing, local popularity, and many other factors.” Fisher concludes, “Our festival and non profit board run on volunteer staff, and we always need happy people to come help us. Festival volunteers work in exchange for festival passes and a great time! Sign up to volunteer on our website.”  

For more information, go to historicroseberry.com.
https://thesummermusicfestival.com/

Here is the schedule so far (performances begin at 6:15 p.m):

Thursday, July 18:

- Locals Night - line up to be announced.

Friday, July 19:
- Potato Mountain String Band
- Big Richard
- Tierro Band with Bridget Law (of Elephant Revival)

Saturday, July 20
- Tophouse
- The Po Ramblin' Boys
- The Gasoline Lollipops

Potato Mountain String Band from Stanley, Idaho, serves up a mix of bluegrass, folk, and traditional Irish music.
Colorado-based Big Richard siphons from traditional bluegrass, oldtime, classical, modern bluegrass, pop and country.
Tierro Band with Bridget Law presents a unique Roma Grass musical style. 

Tophouse combines old-fashioned bluegrass, rock, pop, folk fused with Irish traditional tunes.
The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys take pride in being ambassadors of bluegrass.
The Gasoline Lollipops fuse folk with punk.

In addition to the Music Festival, Roseberry also has a free concert series on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. from June 26 to August 28. Banjo Matt opens the season on June 26.  Blaze and Kelly will be the last performers on August 28. Bring a chair or picnic blanket.

Located about 2 hours from Boise, turn east from Highway 55 on E. Roseberry Rd and go about a mile to reach Roseberry.  No camping or pets are allowed.

“Festival volunteers work in exchange for festival passes, and a great time! Sign up on our website.” 

  • Summer Festival at Roseberry, photo by  Jodane Christoffersen with BackyArt Photography
  • Kids Mountain Music Camp, photo credit Jodane Christoffersen with BackyArt Photography
  • Tophouse will perform on Saturday, July 20, photo credit Electric Peak Creative (@electricpeakcreative)
  • Roseberry historic site, photo credit Lance Thompson
  • Tierro Band with Bridget Law
  • Po' Ramblin' Boys, photo credit Michael Weintrob
  • The Gasoline Lollipops. PC: Lisa Siciliano
  • Colorado-based neo-acoustic Big Richard. PC: Akira Youngblood
  • PC: Jodane Christoffersen, BackyArt Photography