There are two ways to get to the Twin Falls Fair Grounds in Filer, ID - home of the Hwy 30 Music Fest. One is to cruise down the 85 mph interstate, which by all accounts is quick and efficient. The other however, is to take the festival's namesake, Highway 30, and roll through what feels like the back roads of exactly what you would picture Idaho being made of.
Farmland with a few houses sprinkled along the way, the cloudless blue sky and the stunning river canyon that opens up as you descend into Wendell, ID (never heard of it? Neither had we.) Its safe to say that while you may have to cruise at well below 85 mph to accommodate the occasional tractor sharing the road, this drive is worth it!
The Hwy 30 Music Fest is a homegrown gathering created by Gordy Schroeder and his wife Megan. Gordy is an enthusiastic host, a hardcore lover of rootsy, Americana music and a very patriotic American Veteran. His infamous weekly festival updates, filmed from his hot tub, are posted all year long to get his followers amped up and the lineup of musicians from all over the country seal the deal for naming this the biggest event that Filer, ID (population ~2,500) has to offer.
If Americana music is your liking, this festival will definitely leave you satisfied. Despite its’ remote location they always manage to bring in a few well knowns and a handful of really great up and comers - which are in my opinion, the best! This year’s lineup had acts traveling from as far as Austin Tx, Minneapolis MN, and Los Angeles CA. Big names like Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon Jennings), an acappella cover band called Home Free and Sam Riggs were the main draw for many people. For me though, I had been counting down until my chance to see Shane Smith & the Saints, Midnight River Choir and Jason Eady with Courtney Patton.
This wasn’t our first year at the festival. In fact our band, Tylor & the Train Robbers, has some long time ties here and after a year away, we were looking forward to getting back. Coming from Boise, Id meant that we were the closest thing to a hometown band there. Idaho music lovers are loyal fans and we knew we would see lots of familiar faces in the crowd. To our pleasant surprise we were also greeted with tons of fans sporting our T-shirts and hats. Cheers to all of you! You know who you are!
In the scheme of music festivals, Hwy 30 is pretty small, but in my opinion that’s what makes it great. The atmosphere feels like a big family gathering where a lot of the bands come early and stay for the entire weekend getting to know each other, trading albums and swapping stories from the road. The festival goers get plenty of time to interact with the artists and everything feels really low key. Gordy and Megan take great care of everyone making sure that the artists and attendees are all happy, well fed, hydrated (alcoholically or not) and safe.
Like all good things, the weekend went by fast and ended before we were ready to say goodbye, but we know next year will be better yet. If you missed this year’s festival, mark your calendar for 2018. The Hwy 30 Music Fest typically takes place the 3rd weekend in June. Also, if music festivals are on your summer time adventure list here are a few others that we would recommend checking out:
- July 13th -15th: Summer Music Festival at Roseberry - Roseberry, ID
- July 27th - 30th: The Huckleberry Jam - Donnelly, ID
- July 28th - 30th: Mountain Home Country Music Fest - Mtn Home, ID
- July 28th - 29th: Sawtooth Valley Gathering - Stanley, ID
- Aug 10th - 12th: The Braun Brothers Reunion - Challis, ID
PHOTO CREDIT: Sara Burns, Jennifer Pisano & Hwy 30 Music Fest.