I have the New Grass Revival station blasting on Pandora as I’m getting ready for next weekend’s premiere music festival, Year Three of the Newgrass Festival out at Ballance Farms in Oakland! While the artists are pickin’, I’m definitely grinnin’!
Let me tell you folks, if you haven’t had the chance to experience the talent at this three-day music event, you really must check it out. This is not country music. This is not your typical bluegrass music either. Instead, the artists at this festival represent the cutting edge of bluegrass instrumentation while mixing in tons of funk, blues, rock, and jazz… genres we all know and love.
The setting is purely and simply stunning with rolling hills and farmland surrounding the site that sits about 13 miles north of Bowling Green on Louisville Road. A permanent stage was added last year and a professional company from Nashville will handle all the technicals this year, promising quality sound and lighting. Kids and families spread out on blankets, fans in row after row of lawn chairs, local food vendors, arts and crafts booths, and on-site RV and tent camping complete the scene.
As for the musicians, their awards and national recognition speak volumes for them. With over 150 bands requesting to be a part of Year Three, the stage was narrowed to 15 truly talented and gifted groups including the Father of Newgrass, Sam Bush, and Curtis Burch, also a founding member of New Grass Revival in the ‘70s.
But the true story lies in the young musicians who will be sharing the stage with the founders and are now following in their footsteps by pushing the boundaries of what can be done with stringed instruments. “Rocking out” and “jam sessions” are not typical phrases used to describe mandolin, banjo, violin and upright bass players, but that’s just what these Newgrass artists specialize in, bringing the crowds to their feet! Taking a traditional, American folk-style of music and making it current and relevant to today’s society is just genius in my opinion.
We’ll have our 11-month old son with us this year and could not think of a better ‘first concert’ for him. The lyrics are clean (not that he understands them, but for the older kids, that’s a plus!), the artists demonstrate great self-respect and are good examples, the patrons are fun-loving and laid back, the scenery is amazing, and the organizers are overly hospitable.
Take a look at the full schedule here and get your tickets today! It is well worth the $80 weekend pass, or just see the headliners on either Friday or Saturday. Sunday promises to be a relaxing, easy-going day with great acoustic sets planned. I’ll be the redhead dancing with the babe and smiling all weekend!