Bluegrass music echoes across the Wet Mountain Valley in the heart of the Rocky Mountains on the edge of Westcliffe, Colorado at the annual High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival.
Remembering Our Friend
Will Sibbald, one of the founders of High Mountain Hay Fever, passed away in April 2020. His passing was due to complications from diabetes. Will and his partner moved to New Orleans a few years ago but continued to be a big supporters of HMHF. Will was president of High Mountain Hay Fever Festival Association from Feb 2002 to Sep 2010. Long time attendees to our Bluegrass festival may remember seeing Will and his crazy dance moves under the big tent. Will, you were loved and will be deeply missed.
Ron Thomason – Tribute to Will Sibbald
I refuse to be brief regarding my wonderful friend, Will Sibbald, now a shining star in the firmament. He was the godfather of High Mountain Hay Fever. He started it with “Let’s have a bluegrass festival”, and he did the heavy lifting of forming a team that could make it happen. Will never shirked a task in his dedication to helping others, and things like “health care for children”, books and art for the library, and modeling love for everyone and everything good were his gifts to our community.
Will loved art and music—all kinds. He surrounded himself with both, and he shared the joys of art and music with everyone who knew him. He was literally “generous to a fault.” He not only gave me my first computer; but one time when I called him to help me with the thing when he was driving, he pulled off the road and gave me specific directions for mastering the thing. I mention that event because I believe it’s a metaphor for how he lived. Others came first: he lived and breathed that adage.
Will was joyful and joyously impulsive. I remember as if it were yesterday when he jumped out in the middle of the town square right in front of my horse and said, “Stop! I have to have more time to look at this beautiful animal.” The folks on the sidewalks started clapping, and I believe to this day that they were clapping for Will. So often he did by instinct what so many of us have thought to do but never quite pull it off. It is said that Bill Monroe invented bluegrass music. Well…Will invented a whole style of dancing, and he was the only one who could do it. Will left more than a mark; he left a legacy.
–Ron Thomason, Chm. High Mountain Hay Fever Bd. of Dir.
Marty Frick – Tribute to Will Sibbald
The West Custer County Library District would not be what it is today if Will Sibbald had not offered his heart and soul and mental skills and pocketbook. When I started my job as the Director of the Library in 1999, I was aware that Will had provided not only several computers to handle the internet, but also the internet link itself – a costly endeavor. Perhaps most helpful of all was his willingness to teach the staff and me how to use the new system, how to set it up so the whole community could come in to get wifi, or even to sit outside and access it on the street. In addition to wifi, Will (and partner Lee Brown) provided art and books and CDs and DVDs….our little library was better equipped to respond to our patrons than any other small library in the mountains of Colorado. And on top of the actual programs and technical help, Will was instrumental in helping the staff and me think through how to reach out to our patrons…how to encourage their imagination and respond to their requests. Will showed a lot of patience with the governmental processes required when he was a board member of our tax entity. He had a true sense of connection with his fellow human beings. And of course he and Lee became very dear to me and my husband, Paul Snyder, so the idea of not having Will in the world is a sad aspect of my life now.
–Marty Frick, Former Director West Custer County Library
See You at the Event