Bluegrass goes to the dogs

Aug 032010
Authors: Erik Myers

Her distaste for bluegrass notwithstanding, Kelly Nehls attended Saturday’s Bark and Bluegrass Festival with Hundo, her boxer-Labrador, in tow.

“It’s not necessarily my thing,” she said of the music. “But I like being out here anyway. I’m definitely a big supporter of the Humane Society.”

Nehls was among an estimated 1,500 who attended the event, organized to raise funds for the Larimer Humane Society and Animal House Rescue.

The festival took place at Civic Center Park, featuring five local bluegrass-inspired acts and more than 70 vendors, including local businesses, non-profit organizations and veterinarians.

Jeff Reichert, the festival’s founder and events promoter, said he had felt distressed over the growing financial woes of the two non-profits, whose base of donations have dwindled in the sour economy.

To raise money, Reichert organized the festival himself. But he credited the work of volunteers and vendors in drawing an attendance above initial estimates.

Not only does it mean a more secure future for both animal-care organizations, Reichert said, but a much broader set of fundraisers for next summer: festivals will be organized in the Boulder and Denver communities, and the Fort Collins festival will likely stretch to a two-day event.

“It’s rare that you get so much support from a community,” Reichert said. “It was just above and beyond what we expected.”

Staff writer Erik Myers can be reached at

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