Yonder Mountain String Band performing at Oktoberfest 2019 on Saturday, September 21 in Longmont, Colorado. Photo by: Matthew McGuire

Downtown Longmont, Colorado was filled with local residents as the city hosted two outdoor events on Saturday evening.

Left Hand Brewing Company hosted their annual Oktoberfest at Roosevelt Park. Also, from 4-8 p.m. the city of Longmont also had an outdoor art festival that was taking place.

Roadways and sidewalks were filled on Saturday evening as I drove up around 6:30 p.m. Last year, I attended another event held by Left Hand Brewing at Roosevelt Park. It was more low key in comparison to the traffic and size of the events last night.

The outdoor art festival had several booths of local artists putting their work on display. They even had an outdoor stage with a DJ spinning music. It was a pleasant surprise to have a similar event to check out before heading over to Oktoberfest.

In 2003 I attended my first Yonder Mountain String Band performance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. 16 years later, I still find myself being drawn to the stage area when they perform.

Several bands performed on Friday and Saturday evening in addition to Yonder Mountain String Band. On Friday, Head for the Hills performed their high altitude bluegrass and Elephant Collective Showcase brought their style of bluegrass to the stage on Saturday.

Oktoberfest and Left Hand Brewing Company provided games and special events to take part in. The stein holding competition was fun to watch. They also had a polka event.

During YMSB’s set they performed ‘Polka on the Banjo.’ One of the audience members next to me asked in a general sense, ‘what is polka?’ I felt a little uneducated on the topic, so after a little research, it appears to be a traditional form of dance music from Eastern Europe. The form of music is popular in Poland. Also, Poland is well know for hosting Oktoberfest events, so the culture does pair well together. That being said, I did crack up when Adam disclosed that it was in the band’s contract to play at least one polka song.

After 16 years of traveling and getting to know YMSB, I seriously enjoy all the small and subtle parts to their live show. It is highly entertaining the way Ben and other members in the band look at each other with admiration when performing their craft. In an era of digital music being forced down our throats via mainstream radio and streaming platforms, I also admire the acoustic sound from the bands on stage this weekend.

If possible, I will try to cover the Jeff Austin memorial show coming up in early November at the 1st Bank Center. The loss of Jeff has impacted us all in different ways. I usually do not write articles after musicians have passed away to treat them and their families with respect. Jeff was a bright light in a dark world.

Watch the band’s latest video on YouTube: