Festival at Sandpoint: Music under the stars

Bruce Hornsby, Emmylou Harris, Ben Harper, Angelique Kidjo & NGDB

New & Notable

The Festival at Sandpoint celebrates its 34th annual summer concert series Aug. 4-14 with eight nights of music under the stars, on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, in Sandpoint, Idaho.

The season serves up an eclectic mix of classic favorites and progressive artists with headliners Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Railroad Earth, Emmylou Harris, Angelique Kidjo, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Ben Harper. Supporting stars and local favorites include Bridges Home, Rabbit Wilde, The Powers, The Bros. Landreth, Afrosonics and Luke Bell.

Opening Night with Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4. The Grammy Award-winning singer and keyboardist is known for the spontaneity and creativity of his live performances, Hornsby draws frequently from classical, jazz, bluegrass, folk, Motown, gospel, rock, blues and jam band musical traditions with his songwriting and seamless improvisations. He has collaborated with, and appeared on albums by Bob Dylan, Ricky Skaggs, Leon Russell, Robbie Robertson, Crosby Stills and Nash, Stevie Nicks and Squeeze. In the 1980s and 90s he performed over 100 shows as a guest member on tour with The Grateful Dead.

Sandpoint’s own Bridges Home, featuring Dave and Tami Gunter, with Paul Gunter, will open the show. All tickets are $44.95. The Festival’s popular Brew Tasting tickets are available for $10, which includes a commemorative pilsner glass and premium microbrew tastes.

Railroad Earth: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5. Roots and Americana-based newgrass jam band combines elements of bluegrass, rock and roll, jazz, celtic and more; the virtuosic band members are known for their extensive live improvisation and lyrical songwriting within an acoustic base.

Rabbit Wilde opens with an eclectic bluegrass sound that is original, authentic, and delivered with high energy and great showmanship. Tickets are $39.95 to this dance show.

Emmylou Harris: 6 p.m. Aug. 6. Country Music Hall of Fame singer/songwriter headlines a Super Saturday show with special guests The Bros. Landreth and The Powers. A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1992, Harris is a musical treasure famous for collaborations with numerous artists including Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Rodney Crowell, John Prine, Willie Nelson and Mark Knopfler.

Whether as a solo artist or with her Hot Band or the Nash Ramblers, she lit up the charts for decades and is one of the most decorated artists in music with 13 Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association,

The Bros. Landreth are a red-hot Canadian alternative country and folk music group formed in 2013 by brothers Joey and David Landreth. At the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2014, the band won the award for New/Emerging Artist of the Year and their debut album, Let It Lie, won the 2015 Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year. The Powers are a regional favorite – an indie folk/country band based out of Coeur d’Alene. All tickets are $54.95.

Family Concert: “Peter and the Wolf,” 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7. Concert features the Festival Community Orchestra and Sandpoint’s Studio One Dancers. Favorite pre-concert activities include the Instrument Petting Zoo, an animal petting zoo, pony rides, clowns, face painting, games galore and the popular Parents’ Corner where moms and dads can take a break from the chaos for a complimentary mini-massage. All tickets are only $6. Activities begin when the gates open at 2:30 p.m.

Angelique Kidjo: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, Festival at Sandpoint
Angelique Kidjo: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11

Angelique Kidjo: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11. Week two at the festival kicks off with the undisputed queen of African music, a Beninese-born American Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and activist, noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos. Time magazine calls her “Africa’s premier diva,” and the BBC includes Kidjo on its list of the African continent’s 50 most iconic figures. She won the Grammy Award in 2016 for Best Contemporary World Music Album.

Afrosonics, an Afro-indie band based in Boise, specializes in upbeat, positive, multicultural music that makes people want to groove. All tickets are $39.95.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12. NGDB comes to town as part of its historic 50th Anniversary Tour. The quartet of Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen is still going strong with their special blend of country music infused with pop, rock and bluegrass. With over 30 albums under its belt, NGDB continues to explore all sorts of musical roots and celebrate the life and love of the common man. A recent PBS special honoring the 50th anniversary featured a star-studded musical guest list including Jackson Browne, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and John Prine.

Rolling Stone says Luke Bell plays “classic honky-tonk with a wink and a yodel that summons the sleeping ghosts of country better than any voodoo spell ever could. Bell’s shows are welcome excuses to click your boots and down an extra sniff of bourbon.” All tickets are $44.95.

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals: 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. The second Super Saturday show features a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known to worldwide audiences for his guitar-playing skills, distinctive vocals, inspiring live performances, and activism. He is a three-time Grammy Award-winner in three different categories.

Harper will be joined by his old college friend and collaborator Tom Freund. The captivating songwriter is widely-traveled in a variety of genres, from heartfelt folk to buoyant pop to boho jazz to straightforward rock ’n’ roll and beyond. Local vocal favorite Sadie Waggoner will open the show, accompanied by her father Michael Waggoner. All tickets are $64.95.

Grand Finale Concert: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring the Spokane Symphony Orchestra”: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14. The festival season culminates with the return of the sensational jazz pianist and composer Vadim Neselovskyi and two Sandpoint natives Jason Moody (violin) and Hailey Fuqua (soprano). The summer-inspired program includes works by Mendelssohn, Vivaldi, Strauss, Gershwin‚ and Tchaikowsky.

Festival fans are also in for a special treat, the world premiere of Season’s Suite by Neselovskyi. Preceding the concert is the annual Taste of the Stars Wine Tasting – now the largest wine event of its kind in the state of Idaho and complimentary for all concert goers over the age of 21 years. The traditional fireworks finale closes The Festival at Sandpoint in spectacular fashion. Tickets are $39.95 for adults; $10.95 for youth through 18 years.

For tickets, visit www.festivalatsandpoint.com or call 208-265-4554 or toll free 888-265-4554.