From under a bridge that spans the Snake River, in the days of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, what was soon to become a musical tradition picked out its first notes.
Brought to life by Extreme skier and writer/musician Bill Briggs in 1957, the “Teton Tea Parties” showcased traditional and old-time country & western musicians picking their tunes beneath the sparkling, night skies of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Many years later, the Teton Tea Party made its way indoors and was reborn as the Jackson Hole Hootenanny. Gracing the stage at its new home in Dornan’s, a nearby family-owned resort, the Hoot continued to showcase talented homegrown and traveling musical acts to a feisty, standing room only audience.
Hoot in the Hole is the first music documentary to tell the story and share the excitement of these events.
Every Monday night since 1993, the Hootenanny has been playing acoustic music in a traditional gathering. With over 600 shows in its musical history, the Hootenanny stage has been graced with all manner of artists over the years. From local artists like Briggs, Dick Barker, and John Byrne Cooke, who have played from the same stools as legends like Tom Rush, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and John Denver, to aspiring ingénues like Alan Morton, Eric Stone, John Kuzloski, and Ben Winship, to the sweet croonings of more established musicians like Greg Keckler, and Anne & Pete Sibley – winners of the American Duet Sing-Off on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.
The 93-year-old Dornan’s establishment adds another dimension: from the down-home staff and clientele to the stunning view of the Grand Teton mountain range, the Hootenanny gives the artists the opportunity to spin “yarns” or stories between songs. The audience is, for the most part, silent during the show, and the storytelling is reminiscent of fireside chats over hooch or moonshine or even red wine, the rumored ingredients in the famous “Teton Tea” from the inaugural gatherings.
Award-winning filmmaker Juliet Sonnenberg, of Metamorphose Films, wanted to memorialize and share the magic of this historical event. So in the spring and summer of 2004, the formidable task of capturing the Jackson Hole Hootenanny on film began. Consequently, Hoot in the Hole, a 90-minute music documentary, was born. Shot in HD, the story, the setting, and most importantly, the music, is yours to experience without having to cross mountain passes or brave Wyoming blizzards.
Now the Jackson Hole Hootenanny can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home.
Experience the magic of songs like “If I Had a Horse,” by Dave Stamey, “Good Ol’ MountainDew,” and “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome.” Hear first-hand the extraordinary and unique story of the Jackson Hole Hootenanny. With 48 toe-tapping songs, Hoot in the Hole includes exclusive interviews and an extensive archive of electrifying performances by Tom Rush, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, the Wilders, and Hot Club of Cowtown. Listen to the songs of Gene Autry, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, and Bill Monroe played by local artists such as the dynamic duo Anne and Pete Sibley, John Byrne Cooke, John Kuzloski, Ben Winship, and Greg Keckler, a.k.a. the Singing Cowboy.
Hoot in the Hole-the story of the Jackson Hole Hootenanny has inspired and fascinated audiences at film and music festivals across the country. It won the award for Excellence in a Music Documentary at Park City Film Music Festival in addition to being an Official Selection at Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, Vail Film Festival, and Appalachian Film Festival. Hoot has also aired on Chicago PBS affiliate WYCC Channel 20 as well as many more public television stations across the US, and is now available on DVD!
Hoot in the Hole invites the viewer into the Hootenanny, where laughter and history provide the background for a variety of American music.