HoustonFest is a youth oriented two day festival dedicated to the life and enthusiasm of the late Houston Caldwell. It's filled with wonderful young groups on the cusp of moving into the larger bluegrass world, characteristic old-time music found in the Galax area, and first class bluegrass performers. If you're the kind of bluegrass fan who likes to look to the future, this is one for you.
Strawberry Park had a learning year in 2014 with its campground under new management unfamiliar with bluegrass music and bluegrass culture. However, even before the event ended last year, they were working to build and improve. Nevertheless, there were still highlights and personalities to feature there.
The Travelin McCourys have emerged as the best of the current crop of side project bands touring these days. Not content to play standards well, they've included lots of new music composed by band members and worked hard to develop a unique band sound, although they do continue to vary depending on who comes along as the guitar player.