The Pemi-Valley Bluegrass Festival will run from August 1 - 4, 2018 this year featuring an exceptional lineup of national, regional, and local bands in one of the most beautiful locations in New England, Pemi Valley has consistently developed and improved itself since moving to the Benton's Sugar Shack Campground in Thornton, NH several years ago. The Festival will run from Wednesday through to a rousing Saturday night finish featuring the Gibson Brothers with a ninety minute closing show. Opening with a strong band contest on Wednesday, this years version will also headline three time IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award winners The Earls of Leicsdters featuring Jerry Douglas, west coast sojourners The Kathy Kallick Band as well as Laurie Lewis the the Righ Hand, and Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.
Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands is another superior band coming from the West Coast. Her song, "Who Will Watch the Homeplace," has become a standard, but no-one can sing it like she does. While her band has had a few recent changes, it remains extremely strong and consistent. Brian Godman, Patrick Sauber, and Sam Grisman are standouts. Tom Rosum has been Lewis' musical partner for more than thirty years. A co-founder of Good Ol' Persons, too, she's been a voice for women, for music, and for the environment for years.
A band contest featuring four bands as well as last year's band contest winner Cane Mill Pond will be Wednesday evening's feature. Band contests represent a way for new, often young and ambitious bands to get experience performing before a live audience while providing entertainment for people as they settle in for the weekend. Pemi Valley has decided to rotate its weekend by placing the band contest at the opening, rather than trying to hold customers on Sunday who are ready to get home to prepare for the upcoming work.
The lineup for Pemi Valley is strong and varied. The inclusion of a strong West Coast flavor not only shows imagination, it signals that the festival has been successful at moving from a regional to a strongly national perspective, which can only contribute to its further growth.
Located on a spacious, varied site offering wide open expanses and private woodsy getaway campsites, Pemi Valley is held at the Benton's Sugar Shack Campground, just north of Thornton, NH and only a few miles from New Hampshire's I-93. A visitor can camp overlooking the Pemigewasset River or on an open plateau above the main stage where scarcely a building can be seen in the surrounding foothills of the White Mountains.
Because the Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival web site is so comprehensive, I'll only point to the highlights from this preview, providing links to the festival site where you can fill in the details.
Camping: The campground is extensive and varied. Here's an overall picture of the site:
Additional Activities: A variety of activities for all kinds of interests associated with bluegrass are available at this busy festival. Whether you've just picked up a bluegrass instrument or are an experienced picker, you can get your fill of picking during the day and long into the night.
If you want to learn to play an instrument or improve your skills, the Pemi Valley University (added fee) will hold classes on Saturday with a preview meeting on Friday afternoon.
How to Get to Pemi Valley