A musical group called "The Watergirls" is proving that music can help a community heal from destructive flooding.
LYONS - In just a few days, an annual music tradition will start up once again in Lyons.
The 42nd annual RockyGrass Music Festival features bluegrass musicians playing along the banks of the St. Vrain River.
LEARN MORE: RockyGrass Music Festival
After the September 2013 floods, though, getting 2014's festival back on track was no easy task.
When Craig Ferguson looks around his Planet Bluegrass Ranch, he sees more than just a stunning backdrop for performances.
"It is my home, far more than it is a music venue," he said.
He lives there and works there putting on the annual RockyGrass Music Festival. The canyon walls and winding river give the bluegrass performances a truly down-to-earth feel. Yet, it's another element - water - which threatened to take all that away.
"We drove back down and got up to that cliff up here and looked down, and there was a six-foot lake on my property," Ferguson said.
The land, which usually welcomes thousands of people each year for the festival, was ruined after the flooding. So were the lives of those who lived nearby and performed there.
"It kind of hurt a lot," Enion Pelta-Tiller, who plays the five-string fiddle, said.
She lost her home in Lyons during the flooding.
"And then there was this great feeling of community and everybody coming together," Pelta-Tiller said.
And then, something else came together: a group of musicians called "The Watergirls." Sally Truitt plays the banjo, KC Groves - the mandolin, Lauren Ling - the fiddle, Monica Whittington - the guitar, Cynthia Renwick - the bass with Enion Pelta-Tiller included.
Their name is an homage to what they and their town went through in September.
One of their songs is called "Little Rain." It goes like this:
"Little rain came falling down ... River rose, and it soaked the ground ... And the water came to the town ... You can't stay here, You can't leave town ... You might run, and you might well drown ... When the water comes to town."
"It's like a battle cry for the town," KC Groves said.
Groves said their music is about acknowledging what happened and forging past it.
"I think a lot of people think that Lyons looks great, and they have to drive down Main Street, which looks adorable and better than ever," Groves said. "But what they don't realize is there are some people still out of their houses."
In one house on one stage, though, it's a homecoming. As The Watergirls practiced, they became the first group to play on the RockyGrass stage since the flooding.
"It took a while to realize the extent of the damage," Ferguson said. "All the utilities were gone. We had four back hoes and excavator out here 24/7 for four months."
$1.5 million later, they are days away from opening up the grounds to 4,000 bluegrass fans.
"I think everyone that knows me will be happy to see that day because it's been pretty much an obsession for me," Ferguson said. "Pretty much haven't thought about anything but getting ready for these festivals."
The musicians that will play say, this year, will be especially poignant.
"I think it sums things up: both the tragedy and the spirit, behind the town," Pelta-Tiller said.
"You can change our land around ... And you can keep all that you found ... And you can watch us stand our ground ... But you can't take our town!"
FACEBOOK: Lyons Musicians Relief Fund
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