Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival, Hebron, CT August 7 - 9: Preview

Hebron Lions Club Fairgrounds Map
Click for Larger Map

The Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival will run from August 7 - August 9, 2014 at the Hebron Lions Fairgrouns located at 357 Gilead Road in Hebron, CT. This wonderful new venue for this well-known bluegrass festival represents a re-birth promising future continuity of location and a continuance of the quality festival veteran Podunk attendees have come to expect. By moving Podunk's date, Promoter Roger Moss has eliminated a conflict with the also fine Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival, making Podunk even more attractive. Located just southwest of Hartford in an extremely pleasant fairgrounds, Podunk is within easy driving distance of millions of people seeking a family friendly getaway to enjoy hearing and making music. To get an even greater sense of what the Fairgrounds offer, check out the videos of the site on the Podunk Home Page. You'll find that Podunk's new location preserves many of the features Podunk fans have always appreciated and new opportunities made possible by this fine site. Watch the Fairgrounds on the Live Web Cam as Podunk approaches and to get a better view of the wonderful potential of this site.

The Music
Main Stage
Adkins & Loudermilk

Fresh out on the bluegrass circuit and generating a lot of excitement, this new band is making its first New England appearance. Dave Adkins bring a bluesy voice and deep passion to his singing, while Edgar Loudermilk has spent the last seven years as bass player for IIIrd Tyme Out, releasing two albums of mostly his own originals work. 
The Bankesters

While they grew up as a family gospel band, the Bankesters have spread their wings and broadened their repertoire without ever forsaking values. Close harmonies from three sisters work well.

Blue Highway

Twenty years with the same personnel says it all. Distinctive sound and top-notch song writing have distinguished this band since its earliest days. 

Claire Lynch Band

Claire Lynch is one of music's finest stylists in any genre she chooses. Whether its bluegrass, swing, jazz, or country, when Claire sings, people listen. Her band  is talented and as versatile as she is. Sit back and just enjoy.

Donna Ulisse & the Poor Mountain Boys

A testimony to pluck and talent, Donna Ulisse's ship has come in just as the line between bluegrass and classic country have blurred into virtual non-existence. Her voice combines with her wonderful song writing to create just the right combination.

Jeanette Williams Band

Jeanette has one of the finest voices in bluegrass and one of the closest ties to traditional music. With her husband, Johnny Williams, she has had a fine band based in Virginia for many years. You'll enjoy them as people and performers.

Jim Gaudett & the Railroad Boys

Jim Gaudett & the Railroad Boys come from the Albany, NY area where their original songs, written mostly by Jim express his eclectic background and interests. In recent years their national profile has become increasingly visible through their visits to IBMA and performance as far away as Wintergrass in Washington State. The band is noted for its quality and wit.

 Larry Stephenson Band

Larry Stephenson, a member of the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame and multiple winner of IBMA awards brings his crystal clear tenor voice back to Podunk and the northeast again this year. His traditional style nails a sound and sense of both bluegrass history. Kenny Ingram on banjo, a veteran of Lester Flatt and Jimmy Martin's bands is a wonder on the banjo.

Nu Blu
Carolyn Routh

Carolyn and Daniel Routh bring both a traditional sound and some very fine original songs to the bluegrass stage at Podunk for the first time. This hard working and ambitious band has much to offer.

Daniel Routh

The SteelDrivers
Tami Rogers, Mike Fleming, Gary Nichols

The SteelDrivers are one of the great closing bands in bluegrass. Much of their bluesy, rock inflected music is best fitted for night-time consumption, while their humor and good fun is fit for all.  They clearly enjoy their own music, bringing that joy to their enthusiastic, even sometimes raucous, audiences. 

Richard Bailey

Three Tall Pines

Three Tall Pines won the most recent Podunk Band contest and returns to claim the stage for a well earned performance. A part of the thriving acoustic music world flourishing in Boston, they're sure to entertain.

Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa

Wayne Taylor, formerly of the U.S. Navy Bluegrass Band Country Current, is a wonderful song writer with a great voice. Seen too rarely at bluegrass festivals, his joy in performing and his skill in molding a band are among the finest. Featuring mandolin wizard Emory Lester, this is a very fine band.

Acoustic -Workshop Stage

The Acoustic-Workshop Stage at Podunk is always a busy place for those seeking something new and interesting. On Thursday and Friday a number of regional acoustic Americana bands will be featured offering singer/songwriters, folk artists, and a lot of variety. I must admit to not being familiar with these performers, but a visit to their web sites suggests there will be much to chew on from them.


If you like to see bands new to you or are looking for a change of pace during the jam-packed days at Podunk, the acoustic workshop stage might be just the place for you to visit or hang out. In addition to new bands, look for a selection of artist workshops on Friday and Saturday. Among the highlights will be song writing (Donna Ulisse on Saturday and Johnny & Jeanette Williams on Friday), The SteelDrivers, Nu-Blu, Wayne Taylor, Blue Highway, and even me doing a photography workshop. For those more interested in the business side of music, attend Saturday morning's workshop on Music Economics for Musicians, Promoters, and Bands. Rounder Records will be featuring a showing of a new DVD with Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers on Saturday evening. This is a full and intriguing schedule. 

Telefunken Band Contest (Thursday 5:30 - 7:30)

The Podunk Band Contest, this year sponsored by Telefunken, has launched the careers of several bands over the years and provided others with an opportunity to get greater attention and experience. Furthermore, a panel on music industry professionals provides each band with structured feedback to aid their improvement. Four bands have been selected for this year's band contest, to be held Thursday afternoon. This will be a strong kick-off for the festival.
The Zolla Boys (CT)

Podunk Bluegrass Kids Academy (Sponsored by D'Addario Strings) - The Podunk Kids Academy is directed by Tim St. Jean and Vickie Baker with a strong staff of regional musicians who are fine teachers of young people  Focused primarily on young people ages 8 - 15, it meets for practice and learning each day and performs on Saturday afternoon. For further details, check here.

The Bluegrass University: Tony Watt's Bluegrass University has become increasingly well-attended at Bluegrass Festivals in New England and New York. Designed to provide small group instruction to adults seeking to begin playing an instrument or to brush up skills, the classes are small and inexpensive. Held on Saturday, afternoon at Podunk this year, the University faculty is skilled and able. For more information, look here.

Mary Maguire Teaches Vocal Class

The Details

Since being forced to leave its former home in East Hartford, where the Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival had become a popular and very well-attended event, winning the IBMA Event of the Year award in 2010, Podunk has sadly become an event in search of a home. The Hebron Lions Fairgrounds in Hebron, CT represents an ideal venue to re-establish this fine event. Located just south of Hartford, CT, the park is within easy distance to people from all over New England, New York, and New Jersey. (three hours from New York, 100 miles from Boston, and 91 miles from Keene, NH) the fairgrounds offer water and electric hookups, nearly unlimited spots for rough camping, and a versatile location for several stages, as well as many vendors. The main stage is located at the base of a gently sloping rise which should provide wonderful sight lines and acoustics for attendees to enjoy. While being spacious, Hebron Fairgrounds are intimate enough not to require extensive walking and should prove to be a delightful place to spend a weekend. 

Main Stage

Hill in Front of Stage

Permanent Shower & Restroon Facility in Backgroun

Shower & Restroom Facility

Tickets: There are a variety of ticketing options, ranging from premium VIP to rough camping and day tripping. Take a look here for a detailed explanation of these as well as a link to Ticket Leap where you can order tickets. The Hilton Garden Inn in nearby Glastonbury has specially priced accommodations which can also be purchased through Ticket Leap. There is nearly unlimited parking available at a rate of $8.00 for the festival. The gates open for campers on August 6. For further information you can contact promoter Roger Moss at (860) 828-9818 or by email at info@podunkbluegrass.com.

Camping at Podunk is varied, well suited to comfort and setting up situations conducive to jamming and relaxing. The Hebron Lions Fairgrounds has a permanent shower and rest room facility. Water and electric sites. The campground opens on Wednesday. People who pre-register are guaranteed camping space on the grounds. Camping tickets are available here. You can order them when you buy tickets. For further information about camping at Podunk, look here.

Volunteering: Podunk has numerous opportunities for people to volunteer. If you're interested in serving as a volunteer, contact Roger Moss at info@podunkbluegrass.com. Meanwhile, here's a link to the areas in which you can volunteer. 

How to Get to Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival
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