2024 Academy Info
Bluegrass Instrument Classes:
Banjo - Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
Bass - Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
Dobro - Intermediate
Fiddle - Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
Guitar - Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
Mandolin - Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
***The Academy offers different levels of instruction for various bluegrass instruments. Please note that there are no beginner classes. Do not sign up for a class if you have never played the instrument! To be considered a novice you must at least be able to strum, pick or bow, as well as change basic chords in time and play simple melodies. Intermediate level participants should be able to play lead and rhythm parts and be comfortable with slow jamming. Advanced level participants are expected to play well with others, be competent at faster rhythms and complex lead parts, and cover material quickly. Classes with only two levels will divide the intermediate students into upper and lower levels. It is usually not a problem to switch levels within your instrument class once the Academy has started. However, you will not be permitted to switch to a different instrument.
Songwriting & Vocals:
Songwriting - All levels
Vocals - All levels
Mandolin Building - No experience necessary
Each day at the Academy is divided into four sessions that run from 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM. Each morning, you’ll be treated to instructor jams. Elective sessions follow, including instrument instruction, mentoring sessions, and song session groups to work on ensemble material, with coaching by instructor teams. After a lunch break, you will have an instrument instruction session followed by an elective session (10-12 electives) to end your day. Some examples of elective topics are: songwriting, harmony vocals, music theory, and specific instrument styles and topics. After a dinner break, there will be evening activities offered including a band scramble, open stage time and campfire jamming.
Your deposit and remainder payments are nonrefundable. Your non-refundable payment of $150 reserves your space in The Academy. The remainder of your payment will automatically be charged on April 17th, 2023.
The Academy offers different levels of instruction for various bluegrass instruments. Please note that there are no beginner classes. Do not sign up for a class if you have never played the instrument! To be considered a novice you must at least be able to strum, pick or bow, as well as change basic chords in time and play simple melodies. Intermediate level participants should be able to play lead and rhythm parts and be comfortable with slow jamming. Advanced level participants are expected to play well with others, be competent at faster rhythms and complex lead parts, and cover material quickly. Classes with only two levels will divide the intermediate students into upper and lower levels. It is usually not a problem to switch levels within your instrument class once the Academy has started. However, you will not be permitted to switch to a different instrument.
During the Academy, we offer two evening BBQs on Monday and Thursday evenings; included in the tuition. Friends and family of participants may attend only if they have purchased a guest pass (see below). Every morning we offer complimentary coffee, tea and muffins to start your day. Additionally, we plan to again have a local vendor on site for those wishing to purchase lunch and snacks.
Because we have limited space and aim to provide an intimate learning environment for all Academy students, we have to put limits on the number of non-students who are on our property during the RockyGrass Academy.
Guest passes are required for anyone on the property — ages 13 and over — who is not enrolled in the Academy. We only sell guest passes to immediate family members of students. Since we limit the total number of guest passes available, each student can purchase a maximum of one guest pass until we are sold out. Guest passes are not available until after registration.
Children 12 and under not attending the Academy do not have to purchase a guest pass, but they must be supervised during class hours. Children may attend the evening BBQs, but they must pay for their meal.Guests and Children must observe the following rules during the Academy:
- Guests/Children must share a tent with their student host.
- Guests may not bring any additional vehicles on-site.
- Guests/Children must avoid the classroom areas during class time.
The Lavern Johnson (Meadow) Park Campground is an excellent alternative for groups or families who are not attending the Academy. Lavern Johnson (Meadow) Park is easy walking distance the Festival grounds. Your family can reserve a campsite through the Town of Lyons by following the link above.
If you are planning to fly into Denver International Airport, you have several options to get from Denver to Lyons. The Denver metro bus system, RTD, stops about 1/2 mile from the Planet Bluegrass Ranch gate. Another private service, the Estes Park Shuttle, makes four daily runs from DIA to Estes Park, dropping you off at the Planet Bluegrass Ranch on the way. The North Denver Airport Shuttle and Superior Shuttle both serve Lyons. For more details, contact these services directly:
- RTD: 800-366-7433
- Estes Park Shuttle: 970-586-5151
- North Denver Airport Shuttle: 303-457-4646
- Superior Shuttle: 303-399-2812
Yes. Because Planet Bluegrass is located on a highway and the line has grown in the past few years beyond what can safely be accommodated by the shoulder, vehicles must line-up off-site. This lineup will be held at the Planet Bluegrass Farm just across the street from the Planet Bluegrass Ranch. Vehicles may not begin lining up until Sunday, July 23th (opening day of the Academy campground).
If you’ve been thinking about introducing your children to bluegrass, or bringing the family to the Academy this program will provide excellent instruction for ages 7-14. Classes will run at the same time as the Academy. Additional information is available at the Kids Camp page.
Check out our interactive map.
Planet Bluegrass offers convenient on-site camping during the RockyGrass Academy and during RockyGrass. Our Ranch is situated on 14 beautiful acres of private property. It’s nestled along the St. Vrain River; tucked beneath a rim of 75 foot high red sandstone cliffs. We also have a bathhouse, which offers indoor toilets, sinks and showers.
Yes, you may bring an RV with you to Academy and the Festival, but vehicles over 18 feet may not park in the on-site campground. In order to protect the natural environment of the Planet Bluegrass Ranch, we will not be allowing any large RVs on-site during any of our events. If you purchase a Lavern Johnson Park RV pass for the festival, you may stay there during the Academy. You will need to purchase a separate RV pass at Lavern Johnson Park or the Planet Bluegrass Farm to park your RV during the Festival.
You may camp in a tent OR vehicle (up to 18 feet) free of charge while attending the Academy in the designated Academy camping area. To stay on-site during the festival, you will need to purchase a three-day festival pass with on-site camping privileges. Vehicles require additional passes during the festival, separate from the per-person camping pass. If you are not staying for the festival, you may have your vehicle with you in the camping area or a tent - NOT BOTH. If you choose to have your tent in the camping area, you will be able to park your vehicle on-site in a designated area as space permits. Overflow vehicles must be parked off site.
Academy campers who have festival and on-site camping passes can set up and stay in the same campsite once the Academy has ended. Buy your festival, camping, and vehicle passes ASAP before they sell out. Camping during the Academy occurs in a designated area on the Festival grounds. If you don’t have a vehicle pass for the Festival, you may have either a vehicle or a tent in the camping area - but not both. If you chose to have your tent in the camping area, you may park your car in the designated Academy parking area on the grounds as space permits. You will be required to move your vehicle and campsite on Friday morning by 9:00 am if you do not have festival camping passes. If you are not camping with your vehicle for the festival, you may park it in a secured lot for the weekend.
Lyons is a small town where you can get the basics. Within a mile or less from the Ranch gate, you can get to the post office, a health food store, a small grocery, a half dozen restaurants, several liquor stores, and several coffee shops. Within a two-mile radius you can find a dozen restaurants, several gas stations, a bank, and several antique dealers.
The classrooms are outdoors under shade tents, so bring rain gear and warm clothing as well as shorts, a swimming suit and sunscreen. Also bring picks, rosin, extra strings, watch, audio recorder and plenty of extra batteries, a flashlight, tarp, folding chairs, camera, and snack food.
Cell phones users have experienced trouble with reception on the Ranch, though Verizon users tend to have the most success. Service improves once you are a mile or so away or closer to Boulder and Longmont.
The Academy campground opens on Sunday, July 23, 2022. Please see our 2023 Campground Line-up Procedures. You may check in and pick up Academy materials from 3:00pm - 6:00pm on Sunday and on Monday morning starting at 8:00am.
Usually Colorado is sunny and warm with an occasional afternoon thunderstorm - but not always. The phrase “if you don’t like the weather just wait fifteen minutes” is truly appropriate in Colorado. It’s good to be prepared for a little rain, wind, and cool evenings. Daytime temperatures usually are in the 80s and 90s and at night you can expect 60s and 70s.
The initial class for the Mandolin and Mandola building classes will run from 3:00-5:30pm on Sunday, July 23rd. The first item of business is to select your instrument kits and receive an overview of the entire building process. Everything will be provided for you, so come on time ready to start! You can set up your camp after class if necessary.
Service animals are permitted at RockyGrass Academy. Each service animal must remain with its owner and be restrained. Emotional support animals, comfort animals and therapy dogs are NOT service animals as defined by the ADA Guidelines, and therefore are NOT allowed.
Sorry, no pets are allowed on site. Here is a list of some local kennels:
- Camp Bow Wow Boulder (3631 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80301-2423) - 303-442-2261
- Arapahoe Animal Hospital & Boarding Kennels (5585 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303-1334) -
- Cottonwood Kennels (7275 Valmont, Boulder, CO 80301-4715) - 303-442-2602
- Whispering Pines Pet Resort (14360 N 83rd St, Longmont, CO 80503-9215) - 303-776-3907
- Windstar Kennels (14077 Weld County Road 5, Longmont, CO 80504-9642) - 303-485-2176
- Longs Peak Animal Hospital - 303-776-6666
- Canine Campovers LLC (Boulder County) - 303-998-1111
There are a number of lodges and motels in the surrounding area, which offer a wide range of accommodations. Visit our Lodging page for more information.