Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival - Preview

The Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, held semi-annually at the Granite Hiill Campground in Gettysburg Pennsylvania will run from August 19 - 22 for its 61st edition.  This will be our first visit to this storied bluegrass event, and I'm trying something I've never done before by relying on the assessments and photographs of others to try to set the stage for what promises to be an exciting and music-filled four days.  The lineup for this year's event is superb.  Starting with festival main-stays Dry Branch Fire Squad and Seldom Scene (both of which have performed at every Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival since it began in 1979) and extending through current greats like The Gibson Brothers, Mountain Heart with Tony Rice, IIIrd Tyme Out, and many more, to relative new comers like Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa and Darin & Brooke Aldridge, this event is sure to offer something for everyone.  A new and elaborate stage was inaugurated in the May festival, where Alison Kraus and Union Station were the headliner band, is said to be one of the finest to be found.

The New Stage
  Photo by Mike Waltermeyer

Ron Thomason, leader of Dry Branch Fire Squad, had this to say abou the festival, "The Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival at Granite Hill Campground is a major semi-annual festival that always is on the cutting edge of presenting not only the very best "established" bluegrass acts but also presents the best of the newest talent in the field of bluegrass. Granite Hill is a very "user-friendly" venue.  It has clean, plentiful facilities for campers and holders of day-tickets as well.  There are ample sites for campers that need hook-ups and wonderful, shady sites for tent campers as well.  There is a new stage which is "state of the art."  The sound reinforcement is always top notch.  The audience canget very close to the stage or can be remote enough so as to not see rude if they want to move during a performance.  There are is an excellent variety of quality vendors which serve both the culinary and supply needs of bluegrass fans.  The performers always represent a great variety of approaches to the music, but almost none ever stray far from the accepted formula of what constitutes real bluegrass.  It is notable that both Dry Branch Fire Squad and the Seldom Scene have appeared at every festival since they were started at Granite Hill by Joe and Lil Cornett.  Joe is still seen moving amongst the crowds and enjoying theshows even though it is his and Lil's children who now run the festival."

Ron Thomason
The Lineup

Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie Band
Claire Lynch
Dailey & Vincent
Darin & Brooke Aldridge
Dixie Bee-Liners
Don Rigsby & Midnight Call
Dry Branch Fire Squad
Gibson Brothers
IIIrd Tyme Out
James King Band
Mountain Heart
Nothin' Fancy
Rhonda Vincent & The Rage
Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
Seldom Scene
Steep Canyon Rangers
The Grascals
The Grass Cats
The Hillbilly Gypsies
Tony Rice w/ Mountain Heart
U.S. Navy Bluegrass Band
Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa

Seldom Scene on the New Stage
Photo by Mike Waltermeyer

Rhonda Vincent

Tickets and Camping
Prices charged to attend a bluegrass festival remain one of the true entertainment bargains in America today.  Where else can you go to an event where you hear great music, get lots of chances to make music yourself if you're so inclined.  The music at Gettysburg extends from from 11:00 AM until Midnight on Friday and Saturday with somewhat shortened hours on Thursday and Sunday.  That's solid music from some of the best bands anywhere for just over $100 per person for the entire festival.  Camping fees, if you stay on site, add to that total, but a bluegrass festival is still a huge bargain.
Four-Day Full Festival Ticket    $110.00    $125.00
Three-day festival ticket (Fri-Sun)    $85.00    $100.00
Two-day festival ticket (Sat-Sun)    $50.00    $65.00
One-day ticket - Thursday    $25.00    $35.00
One-day ticket - Friday    $35.00    $45.00
One-day ticket - Saturday    $35.00    $45.00
One-day ticket - Sunday    $20.00    $25.00

I understand Granite Hill Campground has plenty of space, and has seldom run out of sites with hook-ups before Thursday and never run out of rough camping sites for the festival.  Information about the campground and its prices can be found here. Further information about tickets can be found here. For other information, check out the FAQ's or call.

In the Campground
Photo by Garland Gobble

Russell Moore (IIIrd Tyme Out)

 Photo by Garland Gobble

Photo by Garland Gobble

 How to Find Granite Hill

 More Pictures

The New Stage
Photo by Garland Gobble

The Gibson Brothers

Darin & Brooke Aldridge

Emory Lester, Lee Marcus, & Wayne Taylor

Dudley Connell

Tony Rice

Rich Winkleman - Promoter of Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival
 Photo by Betsy Norris Voss

Thanks to Garland Gobble for Several Photos

Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival is a large and important event.  Don't forget to check out the workshop stages where many workshops will be held throughout the weekend.  Be sure stay through Sunday to see the kids academy and enjoy the festival right to the end.  Hope to see you there.