Head For The Hills Pickin’ on the Poudre Returns to The Mishawaka for the 18th Year in a Row! - Mishawaka

Head For The Hills Pickin’ on the Poudre Returns to The Mishawaka for the 18th Year in a Row!

On Saturday, May 11th, 2024, Mishawaka veterans and fan favorite band Head For The Hills return to our wooden stage on the river for their 18th annual Pickin’ on the Poudre, an event that serves as a celebration to kick off the 2024 summer concert season every year and has become synonymous with the Mishawaka brand over time! Joining Head For The Hills on the stage this early summer evening were first-timers of the venue, a six-piece bluegrass band named Pick & Howl alongside the quartet Friendly Reminders, both groups being Colorado Natives that felt right at home in the Rocky Mountains.

In the foothills, the weather was looking grim as rain was in the forecast, and across the front range the sun was hiding behind dark clouds, but once you entered the canyon for the second half of the trip to the Mishawaka the clouds dispersed, the sun came out, and the skies were blue above us upon our arrival at the venue. As you exited your vehicle or walked off the shuttle you were greeted by the sweet smells of delicious food from the grill, the hypnotic rush of the high river from this year’s snowfall runoff, and relaxing music that was teasing the show ahead of us this evening.

As everybody arrived at the venue and got comfortable, the Friendly Reminders took the stage and began playing the music that would set the stage for the rest of the evening! The quartet from Fort Collins consisted of two acoustic guitars, a banjo, and an upright bass, together playing to the tune of classic Rocky Mountain bluegrass that the area has become famous for. Their music goes beyond the genre they are often categorized within and have undertones of jazz, folk, and blues incorporated into their lyrics and notation that is energetic and enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

Following the opening performance, this evening was Pick & Howl, a six-piece band where no two people play the same instrument, including an acoustic guitar, resonator, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and upright bass which creates a full and harmonious sound in all of their songs. Many people in the audience were very familiar and huge fans of Pick & Howls music, singing along and dancing to the iconic songs the band wrote and produced themselves, providing a wonderful live experience watching the band play with such chemistry and passion in their music.

As the sun set and the moon came above the horizon, the stage lights went dark and the house music faded away as the venue fell silent in anticipation for this evening’s headlining performance, and it wasn’t long before Head For The Hills came in all at once as the lights and sound filled the entire venue all at once, and kicked off the band’s 18th annual performance on this stage, marking the true start of the 2024 Mishawaka concert season! The band looked out into the crowd this evening and saw many familiar faces, many of whom have attended each of the Pickin’ on the Poudre for the last 18 years since the band played here for the first time when they were all still students at Colorado State University. The band saw many new faces this evening too, some of which were there for their first Head For The Hills concert, some were there for their first show at the Mishawaka, and there were even some there for their first-ever live performance! No matter who it was or where they came from, this evening was going to be one to remember forever and it was only getting started at this point.

As the show went on the band got into a groove and loosened up for the evening the music just got continuously better and better as they played progressively harder and with more passion throughout the evening! From front to back, people were dancing the night away under the stars and stage light as the bluegrass filled people’s ears and souls with joy. The music was nothing short of phenomenal, and those who have seen Head For The Hills more than once know that they just keep getting better as the band grows together musically and personally, factors that have led to the band becoming one of the most well-known names in bluegrass music. The vibes were high the music was phenomenal, and the hour-and-a-half Head For The Hills played their most recent and iconic set creating memories that will last a lifetime but were over before we knew it. As the music faded away for the evening and the crowd dispersed to head back home for the night if you looked north to the sky you might have been lucky enough to see a trace of the Northern Lights in a natural phenomenon that is rarely observed in Northern Colorado, but this clear summer evening you could see hints of purple and green which perfectly symbolizes what it was like attending the 18th Annual Pickin’ on the Poudre with Head For The Hills.

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