Don’t miss the Newell Farm Opry
By D. W. Herman
In the middle of a valley rife with land developers and multi-bore oil rigs sits a quiet farmstead shaded by stately trees that are over a century and a half old. The farmhouse, built around 1879, was once the home of Ernest and Rose Newell, who farmed the fertile land and raised sheep. They lived a simple, yet important existence in a community that had recently been named Berthoud.
In 1993 Sarah Lincoln purchased the Newell farmhouse and a bit of the surrounding land with the idea of living a quiet life in the country. It seemed like a perfect plan for a time, with Belgian horses and rescue donkeys grazing in the pasture and the nearest neighbor a quarter of a mile up the hard road. The only thing missing was the music Lincoln had heard and learned growing up in the hills of Tennessee.
“I loved the music that came out of those hills,” Lincoln said in a recent interview. “Family bands with little or no formal education would put on their best coveralls and cleanest shoes and come to the small town festivals and play amazing songs that had been passed down through generations. And, trust me, these folks could play!”
Several years later, Lincoln, after renovating the farmhouse and landscaping the grounds, decided there was plenty of room in the back yard to put up a hay-wagon stage and invite some local pickers to entertain – well, some locals. And that was the humble beginning of what is now known around the region as the Farm Concert. Held on the last Sunday of August for the past 16 years, the Farm Concert has become one of the premier music events in the North Front Range.
Now Lincoln, along with partner Butch Hause, have added a second event this summer called the Newell Farm Opry that will take place on June 30.
“Sarah and I put together a set of music at last year’s Farm Concert that featured a dozen of our musician friends playing their favorite tunes,” Hause said. “Even with Michael Martin Murphey headlining the show, the response to our “Full Moon Opry” show was overwhelming. Many in the audience felt the Opry deserved its own event. So that’s what we’re going to do on June 30.”
The Full Moon Opry was named, obviously, for the celestial event that happened on that particular night. With no lunar cooperation on June 30, the show needed a new name.
“Butch and I both had dreams about this place a few months back,” Sarah said, smiling. “Ernest and Rose were in the dreams, telling us how special their farm was to them. We took that to heart.”
So, the quiet farmstead just east of Berthoud on the hard road known as Highway 56 was re-christened Newell Farm in honor of Ernest and Rose. And the Newell Farm Opry, featuring their musical tribute to small towns, will take concert goers back to the simpler, yet important times in this community named Berthoud.
Musician Jim Ratts, a key player in the Newell Farm Opry, might have said it best when he remarked, “Every town is a small town, when you consider the Universe.”
Tickets for the Newell Farm Opry are available at www.newellfarm.org or locally at Indigo Sky in Berthoud. Or call 303-915-5725 for more information.
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