bass festival performance
bass festival performance

Rocky Mountain Bass Festival

The 2018 Rocky Mountain Bass Festival (the 15th Bass Festival since 1992) at the CU College of Music in Boulder was held on Sunday, October 21 from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm.  The festival is open to string bass players of all ages from students and professionals in orchestra and jazz band, electric bass guitar and guitarron players.  There will be simultaneous sessions for bowed string bass (in Grusin concert hall) and jazz/rock/funk (in E-160 rehearsal room)


  • Monster Bass Ensemble YES! All orchestral string bass participants are encouraged to play in rehearsals and the concert of this popular string bass orchestra. You will love it!  
  • BASS ENSEMBLE music will be sent in advance via email .pdf. Please register early so you have time to work on the music.
  • Technique sessions for orchestral string bass players: Learn ways to improve bowing sound, left-hand technique, and intonation 

  • Master Class lessons taught by Festival clinicians: Suggestions to help your solos sound great 

  • Tips for preparing All State Orchestra and Western States Orchestra chair auditions 

  • Looping on the double bass played with the bow
  • Blue grass “chopping” with the bow
  • Jazz and Latin sessions led by Gonzalo Teppa for upright & bass guitar (bring a small amp) 
  • 4:15 pm evening concert performed by Festival Clinicians, CU bass students, and the Monster Bass Ensemble bass orchestra (in 2016 80 bassists performed in Monster Bass!!!)
  • Pizza lunch (included) 

  • Bass repairman Bob Ross will be on hand for free adjustments to your bass; basses and bows for sale 

Bassists: Your time to shine!

Monster Bass Ensemble is the large bass orchestra that features all participants (need to be able to read music) and is the central focus of the festival.  As with the 2016 orchestra of 80 bassists, the double bass orchestra will be divided into 5 sections like a string quartet.  Bassists in the 4 upper parts all have fun playing melodies.  For the youngest players brand new to the double bass, the 5th part uses open strings.  In 2016, bassists who had been playing the bass for only one month were personally assisted by CU double bass students in the rehearsals and concert.  It was quite amazing to see our youngest members joyfully contributing to the music.  CU double bass majors and professional bassists will play alongside in each of the sections to help all players play confidently.  In this way, every single bassist is important and has a rewarding experience.  

Music will be sent out ahead of time to bassists who have registered.


Print the registration form >>  

Fees (same as 2016)

  • 1st-6th grade: Free
  • 7th-8th grade: $20
  • High school: $30

Download the event poster >>

Teacher testimonial
“My high school bass student was overall really enthusiastic about playing bass when he returned from the 2015 Bass Festival—something that he didn’t lose all throughout the year. He really enjoyed the master class and is signing up to play in the master class this year.

He also really enjoyed playing with professional bass players, such as Dr. Erhard and Ira Gold. He felt that seeing and playing alongside professional bass players inspired him to become better and better to continue to get opportunities to play in situations like that. He also thought the bass orchestra was a lot of fun; he got a kick out of seeing all the bass players congregate in the back and be told to move forward.

I remember the week after the festival how excited he was at the wide variety of sounds that a bass can produce—saying that it was by far the best instrument because it could imitate all the other instruments above it.

Thank you for providing this opportunity!”

- Mrs. Amanda Hessel, Orchestra Director at William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs

If you were among the 100 bassists attending the 2016 festival, you know what a great day it is.  We aim for another inspiring and festival. Thank you for your help encouraging your bass player friends to be a part of the 2018 bass festival.


Paul Erhard, Bass Festival Director