For those seeking the thrill of live Americana jamgrass music outdoors, Wibby Brewing will offer a COVID-safe lively and vibrant experience to kick off the season.
On Apr. 10, the Longmont brewery will welcome bluegrass duo Todd Sheaffer, the frontman of Railroad Earth, and Colorado songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Chris Thompson of Coral Creek to perform live in its roofed pavilion.
Sheaffer and Thompson have been playing intimate outdoor shows during the pandemic through the Live Out Front model, an initiative founded by Thompson in 2020 connecting artists and audiences safely in an outdoor setting, he said.
“One thing we learned this year during the pandemic is that people crave live music and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a big production and a 6-piece band to scratch that itch,” he said. “Music is magic and people need more magic these days. It sure feels like we’re coming through the storm and we’re psyched to get out and celebrate with people.”
Throughout the past year, the initiative has brought top-shelf talent and nationally touring up-and-coming-artists in the acoustic, bluegrass and jamband genres, he said., Longmont’s “vibrant live music community” and convenient location between Boulder and Ft. Collins made it the perfect spot to bring the show on stage, he said.
“Wibby Brewing has made a big commitment to bringing high-quality music to town,” Thompson said. “They have a great space, they’re lovely people and they’re committed to creating an excellent music experience — including a big stage and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, which makes the experience really great for the audience and the artist.”
During the pandemic, Wibby Brewing has been home to live performances as restrictions have loosened, according to Robin Wibby, the brewery’s strategist, special projects and events director.
“We jumped right in, they (public health) gave us the numbers for how to start running these shows and we started,” she said in response to how live music during COVID has looked like for the brewery.
“Instead of throwing the towel in during COVID, we decided to buckle down and built an entire open-air, indoor-outdoor beer garden bar, filled with plants and hops, that allows for people to be along that side of the venue and face out … we started doing shows once (the health department) started coming up with safety parameters,” she said.
To Wibby, nothing can compare to the experience of listening to live music, she said. “Even the bass or certain strings on a guitar, it’s like you can feel them in your chest, there’s something moving about having a live connection to a live performer.”
The brewery hosts small live ensembles every Wednesday night and a rotation of a large repertoire of musicians visit the stage every Saturday.
“People come to the shows at our venue and sometimes they don’t even know (anything) about the music or the band, they just want to listen… They want to follow the rules and also just want to be a part of something,” she said. “We’ve created a community and connectedness even in a (time) that is so disconnected.”
Shaffer and Thompson’s show in April will include original songs with a mix of Grateful Dead and other covers from the Coral Creek and Railroad Earth repertoires, presented in a solo format with some bass, guitar and dobro accompaniment, said Thompson. “It wouldn’t shock me if we have some special guests, but you’ll have to join us to find out for sure.”