The 10th annual MeadowGrass Music Festival in Black Forest, Colorado, runs from Friday, May 25, through Sunday, May 27, and features an eclectic mix of over 20 up-and-coming bands with numerous local eateries. The family-friendly event has performances on multiple stages, music workshops, yoga, kids activities, craft areas, hiking and camping.

“Everyone always thinks it’s a bluegrass festival but it’s not,” says Michele Mukatis, MeadowGrass Music Festival director. “We get really good musicians and every year we get one or two that are getting ready to go big.”

A bright gathering: MeadowGrass Music Festival. Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo

This notable year also invites the inaugural beer tasting in partnership with the All Colorado Beer Festival from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., on Friday, May 25, at the La Foret Conference & Retreat Center. Over 17 craft breweries and a ciderhouse, are set to pour select beers to include the MeadowGrass Jam Session IPA crafted specifically for the fest by Pikes Peak Brewing Co.

“It’s still got the bold character of an IPA but it’s lighter,” says Mukatis. “Anybody, even people who don’t like IPA’s tend to like this beer.”

Drink all day with the MeadowGrass Jam Session IPA. Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo
MeadowGrass Music Festival’s “brewery of choice.” Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo

The food at MeadowGrass expands this year with “more ethnic choices” and an assortment of eats that caters to specific dietary parameters.

“I’m a total foodie and that’s my background,” says Mukatis. “So I’m trying to get our vendors to each have a vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free option so there is enough to eat all weekend.”

Past participant, The Coffee Exchange, who Mukatis calls one of their “main vendors” follows suit and broadens their menu beyond traditional sweets with a sundry of soups, empanadas and savory pastries.

“Their giant cookies and coconut bars are to die for, but his booth is going to double in size and have everything you can possibly imagine,” says Mukatis.

Sweet surrender. Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo
Festival fuel. Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo

High Grade Catering & Food Truck is an eager first-timer at MeadowGrass and owner/chef, Everton Cameron, brings forward his vibrant Jamaican flavors which are simply, too legit to pass up.

“We’re hoping that it leads to something more long-lasting and not just a one off,” says Mukatis, of the new relationship and optimistic list of food vendors ready to participate.

High Grade Food Truck is Colorado Springs’ Caribbean flavor console. Photo credit: MeadowGrass Music Festival
High Grade’s island-spiced, jerk chicken wings. Photo credit: MeadowGrass Music Festival

Fellow mobile kitchen, Lil’ Tin Can delivers their unique Southern/Italian fusion with stacked paninis, bowls of gumbo, homemade pastas and soul food-style extras.

“Lil’ Tin Can has amazing food that’s all kind of Cajun-Italian,” says Mukatis. “The caprese mac and cheese is the thing I’m looking forward to the most this year.”

Mountain Pie Co. actually hand-delivers their sweet and savory gourmet hand pies throughout the festival and offers a coconut curry pie that Mukatis says tops the list as one of her “favorite things I’ve ever eaten.”

Have your pie and eat it too. Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo

Mateo’s Catering & Personal Chef plans to cook up Mexican cuisine, as well as being responsible for breakfast on Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27, at 8:00 a.m. Guests can expect a full spread with biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, pastries, espresso, tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

The solid sampling of culinary options melds with Mukatis’ intentions to gratify a range of food choices over the three-day span. As a vegetarian herself, Mukatis says she constantly looks for alternatives and that it’s important to “try and play that up” for festival-goers to feel comfortable and fulfilled all weekend-long.

“Food has always been important to me and having a diverse array,” says Mukatis. “I don’t just want hot dogs and hamburgers, we can do better than that. It’s fun to see it evolve and we always have more food vendors interested.”

Happy campers are digging in at MeadowGrass. Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo

Craft spirits has representation at MeadowGrass from Distillery 291, ready to supply their award-winning whiskey, alongside various flavors of moonshine available from 3 Hundred Days of Shine.

Fill ‘er up with Western sippin’ shine. Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo

As MeadowGrass continues to grow and gain traction as one of the most approachable and enjoyable music festivals in Colorado, Mukatis says it’s her hope to keep it an intimate affair but that organizers are “always thinking into the future” and considering ways to become “not bigger, just different and better.”

“This year is special,” says Mukatis. “This is the first year where more people know about it than don’t. That’s a pretty good milestone, but it really all just comes back down to the music.”

“The road goes on forever and the party never ends.” Photo credit: Scott Majors, Elemental Photo

*Header image courtesy of Scott Majors, Elemental Photo