Clouds part, grooves emerge

Garrett Cabeza/Daily NewsParadise Ridge Music Festival attendees relax on the lawn while listening to “The Chelseas” on a cool Saturday night on Paradise Ridge Road south of Moscow.

Dark clouds loomed and strong winds swirled late Saturday afternoon, giving the impression a storm would surely follow.

But the rain never came, giving way for a cool, pleasant evening of bluegrass music at the inaugural Paradise Ridge Music Festival on Paradise Ridge Road about two miles south of Moscow.

“We can say it’s divine intervention,” said Keith Haley, who organized the event. “We can say God wanted a music festival. I don’t know.”

A couple of neighbors of the festival site, including 5th District state Rep. Bill Goesling, raised concerns about the event at a Latah County Commissioners meeting Aug. 5.

Parking, traffic congestion and noise were the chief complaints. None of the three appeared to be an issue Saturday as there was plenty of room for vehicles to park, little congestion and the noise seemed to be mostly contained to the festival area, or “bowl” as Haley described it.

At 6:30 p.m., or halfway through Saturday night’s performances, more than 100 people could be seen relaxing on lawn chairs, blankets and benches tuning into the live music. Many enjoyed the local food vendors, including Mad Greek, Love’s Kombucha and One World Cafe, which served Ferdinand's icer cream.

Janet Anders, of Moscow, enjoyed a chicken pita from Mad Greek before her husband took the stage with his band, Sultry Swines.

“My husband plays a lot of bluegrass so I sort of, like, fell into it but I like all kinds (of music),” Anders said. “If this were a jazz festival, I’d be here as well.”

She said she and her husband are huge fans of local music and they wanted to support the weekend festival, which ran Friday through Sunday.

“It’s just a great way for people to get together and enjoy our local music,” Anders said.

Jim Boland, a Moscow City councilor and musician, opened Saturday’s festivities performing with Moscow residents Kristie Mattoon and Nate Spain.

Boland, who was concerned about the weather, checked with Haley first prior to making the drive to Paradise Ridge. Haley told Boland the weather appeared to be fine.

“It was, like, really threatening for a while and as soon as Kristie Mattoon started singing, then she blew a hole in the cloud and it was good,” Boland said.

Parking for the festival was contained on the property of David Port, who owns the land on which the festival occurred. Haley said the property’s hayfield was mowed prior to the start of the festival Friday.

County commissioners and Sheriff Richie Skiles strongly encouraged the field to be cut to help prevent a fire starting from vehicles’ hot mufflers or cigarette butts.

The Troy Rural Fire District provided a water tanker in the event of a fire.

“I think it’s a great venue,” Boland said. “I can’t understand why there was any controversy about this.”

Haley, who has lived in Moscow for 41 years, said the festival was “positively received.”

There was no admission cost to the festival but a donation of $5 per person or $15 per family was suggested, Haley said. The money raised supports the Paradise Ridge Challenge Course.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to

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