The third annual FreshGrass festival takes place at MASS MoCA in North Adams from Friday-Sunday, September 20-22, and it’s bigger and better than ever this year. The fest has expanded to include three different performance areas (including the grasssy Joe’s Field) and will feature over 25 bands, almost double the performance slate from last year.
The line-up includes veteran bluegrass greats (Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, the Del McCoury Band), adventurous newcomers (the Lone Bellow, Greensky Bluegrass), homegrown Nippertown talent (reigning International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year the Gibson Brothers) and even children’s music (Dan Zanes & Elizabeth Mitchell).
Festival passes are available for $78; $68 students; $38 kids ages 7-16; free children age 6 and under. Friday-only tickets are $28; $18 students; $8 kids ages 7-16. Saturday-only and Sunday-only tickets are $38; $28 students; $18 kids ages 7-16.
The FreshGrass folks have now announced the schedule of performances for the fest, as well as a number of free workshops that will also take place during the fest. Here’s the current performance and workshop schedule:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
6:30pm: The Wandering Rocks (in Courtyard D)
7:30pm: Sarah Jarosz (Courtyard D)
8:30pm: Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys (Courtyard D)
10pm: The Deadly Gentlemen (Hunter Center)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
11am: Berklee Bands (Courtyard D)
11:45am: Dan Zanes & Elizabeth Mitchell (Joe’s Field)
12:45pm: Bill Evans’ The Banjo in America (Courtyard D)
1:30pm: Mandolin Orange (Joe’s Field)
2:15pm: Darol Anger (Courtyard D)
3pm: Edgar Meyer & Mike Marshall (Joe’s Field)
3:45pm: John Reischman & the Jaybirds (Courtyard D)
4:30pm: The Gibson Brothers (Joe’s Field)
5:30pm: The Lone Bellow (Courtyard D)
6:30pm: Alison Brown (Joe’s Field)
7:45pm: Noam Pikelny & Friends (Joe’s Field)
9:10pm: Leftover Salmon (Joe’s Field)
10:30pm: The Wood Brothers (Hunter Center)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
11am: FreshGrass Award Finalists (Hunter Center)
11am: Berklee bands (Courtyard D)
11:45am: Jerry Douglas (Joe’s Field)
12:45pm: Lake Street Dive (Courtyard D)
1:15pm: Greensky Bluegrass (Joe’s Field)
1:30pm: Ramblin Jug Stompers (Gallery)
2:15pm: Elephant Revival (Courtyard D)
2:45pm: Sam Bush (Joe’s Field)
3:45pm: The Infamous Stringdusters (Courtyard D)
4:45pm: The Devil Makes Three (Joe’s Field)
6pm: The Del McCoury Band (Joe’s Field)
Bring your own instruments for playing hints, techniques and seminars featuring conversations between performers and industry professionals. Workshops are led by Berklee College of Music’s American Roots Program students and faculty, as well as a few FreshGrass artists. All workshops are free with admission. Space is limited so register on the day of the event when you arrive at the festival – first come, first serve.
BLUEGRASS BAND RHYTHM (11am Saturday): John Reischman & the Jaybirds, one of the acoustic world’s top-ranked mandolin players and composers, will demonstrate how instruments work together in a bluegrass ensemble, from the ground up.
SO YOU’VE MADE A CD – NOW WHAT? (12noon Saturday): Garry West, Compass Records co-founder, addresses the question that so many young artists are confronted with: what’s the next step? If you have a record you’re proud of, all the possible paths for promotion and distribution can be overwhelming. So, take a deep breath and soak in some advice from the best in the biz.
MANDOLIN SEMINAR (1pm Saturday): Joe Walsh, Mandolin Principle of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, will be joined by a special guest for this hands-on workshop.
BLUEGRASS MUSIC THEORY (2pm Saturday): Theory classes might not be your favorite, but you might change your mind at FreshGrass this year. Berklee professor Matt Glaser will break down the rhythm, harmony, melody, structure, form and texture of bluegrass music.
BANJO MEGAJAM (11am Sunday): Bill Evans, Chris Pandolfi (of the Infamous Stringdusters) and Nick Hornbuckle of (the Jaybirds) join forces for an epic triple-banjo megajam! Feel free to bring banjos and learn the secrets of bluegrass’ most storied instrument.
WHAT MAKES A BAND WORK? (12noon Sunday): Dave Hollender, a professor in the Ensemble program at Berklee College of Music, will explain how different elements come together to make a band jive.
FIDDLE SEMINAR (1pm Sunday): Matt Glaser, Artistic Director of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, and some of his FreshGrass friends will teach a techniques workshop on the ol’ devil’s box.
Announcing the FreshGrass Award Finalists
The Gibson Brothers Snag Eight IBMA Nominations
UPDATE: Four New Bands Added to the FreshGrass Festival Line-Up @ MASS MoCA
Festival Fever: FreshGrass @ MASS MoCA, 9/20-22/13
ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2013:
Downtown Albany JazzFest Competition @ various locations, Albany, 9/6/13 (FREE)
Restoration Festival @ Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside, Troy, 9/6&7/13
Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival @ Jennings Landing, Albany, 9/7/13 (FREE)
New Music Festival @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/7/13 (FREE)
Hispanic Heritage Celebration @ the Empire State Plaza, 9/14/13 (FREE)
FreshGrass Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/20-22/13
Farm Aid @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, 9/21/13 (SOLD OUT)
LarkFest @ Lark Street, Albany, 9/21/13 (FREE)
PearlPalooza @ North Pearl Street, Albany, 9/28/13 (FREE)