WinterWonderGrass returns to Tahoe for 8th year

WinterWonderGrass takes place April 5-7 at Palisades Tahoe.

WinterWonderGrass takes place April 5-7 at Palisades Tahoe.

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Set against the scenic backdrop of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada, WinterWonderGrass returns to Palisades Tahoe to celebrate music, mountains, nature and community. You can spend a day on the slopes and then have a drink and revel in the party as more than 25 bands perform across four stages from Friday, April 5 to Sunday, April 7. The family-friendly festival has become a staple to the Tahoe region as this is the eighth time the festival will be held here.

WWG started in Steamboat, Colorado in 2013 and expanded with another location to Lake Tahoe two years later. Festival Founder Scotty Stoughton and his team at Bonfire Entertainment from Colorado have brought the festival to life since 2015 (2020 and 2021 were skipped because of the pandemic).

“I love it out there,” he said.


The event is centered around music and the focus is on bringing musical acts that fit their theme of progressive bluegrass and roots rock. This year’s headliners include newcomers Sierra Ferrell and Paul Cauthen and some returning headliners are The Devil Makes Three and The Infamous Stringdusters.

Ferrell and Cauthen just played at the WWG Steamboat event and Stoughton said he is excited to have them for Tahoe after melting faces in Colorado.

“Paul Cauthen’s set is like a force of nature,” Stoughton said. “It’s hard rock n’ roll, funk, country — I can’t describe it.”

Sierra Ferrell reminded him of Patsy Cline.

“She is just one of the most incredible, beautiful, glowing angels,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I got to see her and she’s so good.”

Stoughton said the festival finds rising artists such as these two before they get too big. He said they probably won’t be able to afford these artists to return after this year because of their growth. It gives people a chance to musicians before they become even bigger stars.

“They are blowing up,” he said.

Beyond the headliners, Stoughton said the bands listed on the undercard also have a lot of talent to show off.

“They are up-and-coming bands just plowing through the scene,” he said. “The musicianship is next level.”

Also included in the lineup is: Kitchen Dwellers; Andy Frasco & The U.N.; Sierra Hull; The Lil Smokies; Mighty Poplar (featuring Noam Pikelny and Chris Eldridge of Punch Brothers; Andrew Marlin of Watchhouse and Greg Garrison of Leftover Salmon); Lindsay Lou; Sam Grisman Project; Pixie & The Partygrass Boys; WinterWonderWomen; Diggin Dirt; Pickin’ On The Dead; Two Runner; Clay Street Unit; ShadowGrass; Boot Juice; Cast Iron; Caltucky; Broken Compass Bluegrass; RiverWonderGrass All-Stars.


WinterWonderGrass creates an atmosphere for the artists that promote collaboration among each other with sit-ins and other special sets. The festival pays a little extra money to keep artists around for more than a day.

“That’s the best thing about all this — the collaboration,” Stoughton said. “The plan is to have them relax and meet other artists and sit in with artists they know. And what we get is absolute magic and special and unique and something that might never happen again. Collaboration, connection and community — that’s everything for us.”


With several years of experience, the festival has kept the same layout and format, but Stoughton said they are always looking to improve however they can.

“We’re always trying to make minor adjustments to make sure we deliver a better experience each and every year,” he said.

The venue is set up in a large square shape, with vendors and food trucks around the outside. There are several bars and there are free beer, wine and spirit tastings from 3-5 p.m. daily. There is one large main stage and three smaller stages inside tents. There are several food trucks. VIP gets a separate section with more heaters and dinner provided.

WWG is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, with kids 12 and under given free admission. They provide a Kids Zone with arts and crafts, games and other activities. Stoughton said it’s important for parents to bring along their children and have an environment that’s fun for them.

“Since Day 1 it was just obvious to us that it’s really important to provide parents a safe festival experience to bring kids so they can share the music,” he said. “We’re inspiring them and the next generation of leaders and musicians and artists. We feel really proud about that fact. It’s very important.”


Stoughton is proud to have WWG continue in Tahoe and wants to keep it sustainable for the future. The festival emphasizes environmentally-friendly options and they back it up by providing a free Kleen Kanteen cup so patrons are not reusing plastic cups, which are an expensive souvenir to provide, Stoughton said.

“I think it’s just an important element to respect a beautiful environment like Tahoe and Baja and Steamboat (where other Bonfire events are held),” he said.

He said they continue their sustainability plan because it’s the right thing to do. They bring their own Green Team along with volunteers to help divert waste from the landfills into recycling and compost.

“Virginia and her crew are just the best in the business,” Stoughton said. “They have such pride in leaving communities cleaner than we found them.”

Stoughton added that he hopes to see everybody come out to the festival and is willing to help those who need assistance. He said with mountain town cultures changing he knows things are getting expensive, and he doesn’t want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to go to WWG.

“If there’s anything we can do to help them get to the festival, whether it’s volunteer or just call and ask for a ticket because they love WWG and are having a hard time, just send us an email,” he said. “This is a long-term cultural event and we’re always here to listen and always here to help.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment