Monday, July 30, 2018

Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival - Preview

The 47th Annual Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival will run at Salem County Fairground in Woodstown, NJ from August 31 - September 2 this year. Traditionally held on Labor Day weekend, this is one of the oldest and most distinguished continuing bluegrass festivals in the country, having been initiated in 1972 at the KOA campground in Bear, DE by Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, including Lester Flatt his band along with a host of other bluegrass pioneers. Looking through the list in the link, you'll quickly see that through the years few of the bluegrass greats have been missed. 

The festival is operated by the Brandywine Friends of Old-Time Music, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the preservation and furtherance of Old Time and Bluegrass Music. Located within easy driving distance of the huge population living between New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Delaware Valley was named the 2016 IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Event of the Year.

When you come to Delaware Valley you can be sure that the festival will hew to its statement of purpose, but sometimes with a little twist. Old Time Music, for instance, may not always be string band music, but will represent the varieties of music that have influenced and enriched bluegrass and Old Time since the beginning. Music greats from country music, Cajun, western swing, Dixieland  jazz have been represented recently. Expect to hear the familiar and something different when you come to Delaware Valley. Know that it will always be excellent!

The Lineup
David Davis & the Warrior River Boys

David Davis & the Warrior River Boys come from northern Alabama where they have presented traditional bluegrass music, largely based in Bill Monroe's music, for over a generation. Their most recent recording on Rounder Records re-introduces audiences to Charlie Poole, an early transitional banjo player in North Carolina first recorded in the 1920's. Here's a sample to enjoy:

Dom Flemns

Dom Flemons was a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, important for their excellence in performing old time African-American string band tunes prominent in the musical culture giving birth to bluegrass and related music. He now performs as a solo act, giving him the freedom to explore the depth and breadth of his wide knowledge of America's roots musics. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Flemons helps continue the reputation of this festival as one where musical connections are made and strengthened. 

Don Flemons - Steel Pony Blues

Mile Twelve

A young band nurtured in the rich musical soup provided by Boston and Berklee College of Music, Mile Twelve has emerged as one of the important up-and-coming bands. They combine a neo-traditional sound with their own writing and unique musical personalities to engage audiences in tuneful, hard driving, soulful music. Mile Twelve has been nominated as Emerging Band of the Year by IBMA. 

Mile Twelve - Ace of Hearts

Suzy Bogguss

Country music star Suzy Bogguss made her recording debut in 1989, with her breakthrough album "Aces" going platinum in 1991. She has been Horizon singer of the year by the Country Music Association, won a Grammy Award, and more. Suzy continues to tour, collaborating this year in a "Chicks with Hits" tour with Terri Clark and Pam Tillis. The inclusion of commercial country music adds and additional flavor and star character to Delaware Valley.

Suzy BoggussAces

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

Michael Cleveland has been the premier traditional fiddler in bluegrass music for more than a decade. At any festival you attend, you'll not only find him playing with enthusiasm, but sitting in with other bands or jamming backstage and in the field. He's a bluegrass man through and through, with a thorough knowledge and mastery of all the classic bluegrass styles of fiddle playing. 

Fiddlin' Joe

Hot Rize - 90 minutes

The current tour of Hot Rize marks forty years since the emergence of the band in Colorado. From 1978 to their disbanding in 1990, Hot Rize always set the pace for change and tradition within the bluegrass world. As a capstone, they were recognized as the first IBMA Entertainer of the Year after the trade organizations founding in 1989. Since beginning to tour again in 2000 with the addition of Bryan Sutton on guitar, Hot Rize has been on a limited, but extremely popular, performance schedule in major venues. They were last at Delaware Valley in 2015. It's always good to see them.

Colleen Malone

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado have, over the past three years become increasingly visible at festivals in the east as they venture further afield from their home in Colorado. Scroggins won the famed National Banjo Contest at Walnut Valley (Winfield) in 1989, but was not well known here in the East. Over the past two or three years, his band has become increasingly exciting as his son Tristan (Momentum Award Winner at IBMA last year)  on mandolin has become increasingly comfortable as the voice of the band,while engaging in friendly banter with fiddler Ellie Hakanon, a classically trained fiddler from Portland, OR. Ellie's harmony singing blends beautifully with lead singer Greg Blake, Originally from West Virginia, Blake has taken his powerful voice and fine guitar work to Colorado. This band is dynamic, musical, amusing, and fun. The combination of callow youth and deep experience sure works for me, and it will for you, too. Jeff Scroggins & Colorado has been nominated for IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year in 2018.

One Morning in May

Bill & the Belles

The fact that Chris Truelson is a radio broadcaster at Radio Bristol, housed in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, TN/VA, has formed the Bill of Bill & the Belles can't be simply a coincidence. His true to the early twentieth century radio and vaudeville vocal stylings character is too dead-on not to be related to where he works and his interests as a broadcaster. With veteran Boston singer and banjo player Grace Van't Hoff strumming a ukulele while leaning into the mic with her Clara Bow shaped lips, the music is wonderfully effective and evocative of an earlier age. 
Work Don't Bother Me

High Fidelity

The name of High Fidelity, to me, captures the quality this band exudes, fidelity to the early clarity found in bluegrass music coupled with the crisp, clear sound that only high fidelity recordings could create. Instead of seeking to recreate the look or sound of their passion for traditional bluegrass, they've woven a contemporary look and vocal dexterity to creating a faithful re-creation, never a copy. 

I Ain't Got Time

The Quebe Sisters

The Quebe Sisters will, sadly, only present one set, just before the supper break on Saturday afternoon. Make sure you don't miss it, though. Three dynamic fiddlers from Texas show you what Texas swing means in their triple fiddle dynamism put in just the right package - tight harmonies, first-rate fiddle, and dynamism. 

The Quebe Sisters - All of Me

Sister Sadie

Sister Sadie will be making their third appearance in the past four years at Delaware Valley this year, a booking event which seldom happens at this most interesting and creatively booked festival. Five of bluegrass and country music's busiest musicians, each known as a crucial side-musician for touring and recording, and led by five time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley, Sister Sadie struck the audience dumb in their Sunday afternoon debut here in 2015. This year they're scheduled into two prime slots where you can't possibly miss them. They should be working at a festival every weekend, if each member weren't quite so in demand. Sister Sadie has been nominated for IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year for 2018

I'm Lonely Without You

Jerry Douglas Presents the Earls of Leicester (90 Minutes)

The Earls of Leicester recreate the sound and feel of the classic Flatt & Scruggs band of the period in the mid-sixties, when their two iconic appearances at Carnegie Hall occurred. While looking and sounding a lot like the original, each of these performers has a distinctive personality which, increasingly as they continue to perform beyond their wildest imagination when they formed. The Earls of Leicester have received two consecutive IBMA Entertainer of the Year Awards and are nominated for another this year. Sean Camp was named last year's Male Vocalist of the Year as he sings the role of Lester Flatt. This band has shown staying power!

Down the Road

Cell Tower in the Middle of the Fairgrounds

Be sure to capture and post your best moments at Delaware Valley as they happen on social media for your bluegrass (and other) friends. 


Sundays at many festivals is a getaway day often featuring one touring band along with a bunch of local and regional bands for die-hard bluegrass fans to enjoy before finally heading home. Sunday at Delaware Valley opens with performances by two youth groups, the Kids Academy directed by Ira Gitlin and staffed by a dedicated group of fine musicians who give their time to teach the next generation. It also features the students form Cab Calloway School of the Arts in nearby Wilmington. It is then followed by five first-rate bands for one set each. There's plenty of time to break camp and go home on Monday.

Kids Academy

The Kids Academy, under the direction of Ira Gitlin, meets for portions of all three days of the festival, presenting a performance on Sunday morning. The kids academies at many festivals during the summer represent a major effort to keep bluegrass instruments and music alive for yet another generation to experience the joys of making music together. For further information follow this link to the Delaware Valley web site and then help your kid to enroll. 

Kids Academy Rehearsal 

Cab Calloway School of the Arts

Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington, DE is a comprehensive high school with an important place in the forwarding of arts education. The group performing at Delaware Valley is a special interest club at the school directed by long-time teacher and old-time veteran Stephen Field. 

Stephen Field - Program Director
 Photo by Frank Baker

Po' Ramblin' Boys

The Po' Ramblin' Boys hit the stage with energy and musicality, largely playing the bluegrass music of the fifties and sixties with attention to detail, pace, and infectious enthusiasm. For instance, their version of "I'd Like to Be a Train," is a spot-on cover of the much earlier version recorded by Larry Sparks. Fittingly, for this festival, there's also a very strong Stanley Brothers influence in their shows. 

I'd Like to Be a Train

Mick Kinney &  the Hickhoppers

Mick Kinney cut his musical teeth on a wind-up Victrola and a stack of 10" shellac records his father found somewhere for him. He still lives in this world, as he brings his music to the world from Georgia, where he settled some years ago. An article in Georgiamusic puts it this way, "For Mick Kinney, the past is present. “I’m totally happy with representing a time and place that maybe never existed. I try to be a time machine, a way to take people away from now. If you haven’t heard it, it’s new,” he smiles as he sings part of an obscure ditty from decades ago. “It’s all 20th century mood music.” Sounds just right to me. 

Mick Kinney & the Hickhoppers - Busking

Chris Jones & the Night Drivers

Chris Jones, as the host of Sirius/xm radio's True Grass segment celebrating tradtional bluegrass music with special emphasis from Bill Monroe to about twenty years ago, could easily be characterized as a traditional musician leading a traditional band. Not so! Chris Jones & the Night Drivers is as diverse as its membership, coming from a variety of musical worlds and contributing in equal parts. Gena Clewes, replacing Ned Luberecki on banjo, has added her own distinctive quality to this already fine band. Look for songs written by each of the members as well as an interesting selection beyond that.

Bend in the Road

Seldom Scene

With no members of the original Seldom Scene, founded in 1972, remaining, the familiar sound persists, yet continues to grow and develop as time passes and personnel changes. The remarkable consistency along with the slow, but steady, evolution of their music welcomes new members. Fans, each of whom considers the version current when they first heard The Scene, to be "their Scene." With the addition of Ron Stewart, winner of IBMA awards on both banjo and fiddle, a new and interesting ingredient has been added, without ever doing an injustice to what has come before. The Seldom Scene, by carefully and lovingly preserving its heritage while continuing to grow will never grow old. 

Pan American

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Hall of Famer Doyle Lawson brings his longtime band, nominated this year for IBMA Entertainer of the Year, to close another year of the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival. It's rare that a festival ending in the afternoon finishes with such an important and long-lasting band. Through over fifty years in the business, Lawson has played in and fronted major bands, often different in emphasis and tone, but all popular and important - Jimmy Martin, J.D. Crowe & the New South, the Country Gentlemen, and now his own band, Quicksilver, for the past thirty-seven years. Through almost countess changes in personnel, Doyle's band is often referred to as the Doyle Lawson school of bluegrass for the number of finely trained musicians who have graduated from his tutelage to service in other bands or fronting their own. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver is a fitting band to end this wonderful three day event. 
Driving It Home

Additional Activities & Services

The Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival has one of the most comprehensive and well written web sites of any festival we attend. It also has plenty of space to make these activities available - under cover if need by.  I'll provide brief descriptions with links to allow you to check out the musical and entertainment alternatives available provided by the Festival. Follow this Link for the festival music schedule as well as further information about each of the other opportunities. 

Magician Chris Capehart

Other Activites: The Children's Stage presents a two repeating shows on both Friday and Sunday. Featuring a magic show presented by the very able Chris Capehart on Saturday, there are also two folksingers specializing in youth shows, and a story teller. Delaware Valley veteran Heidi Olsen presents a Wernick Style Jam Class (extra charge) on Friday and Saturday and Sunday mornings. Contact her directly for further information. Because many novice pickers are uncomfortable walking up to an existing jam and joining in, Jam Central Station was established. Located in one of the barns, a slow jam is a welcoming place for many people to jam, held not during the Wernick classes. (Note: Pete Wernick will be on campus on Friday. Will he show up at the Jam Class?) A Clogging (a form of  Appalachian folk mountain dancing) Workshop will be presented by FiddleKicks on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Vendors Building

Vendors offering a large variety of instruments and musically related gear, recordings and books, clothing, and crafts are conveniently located in a spacious, covered building for those wishing to take a break from the music or take home something to remember the festival by. Custom made Festival t-shirts are for sale just to the left of the Main Stage. Be sure to take home a beautifully designed memory of this festival. Many people purchase one each year they come to the festival an enjoy displaying the oldest ones they have as they walk the grounds. 


Festival Food is plentiful and varied. Fair food vendors set up close to the main stage offering ice cream, popcorn and other fair favorites. Some smaller vendors often show up to sell home-made goodies. The major vendor, in a permanent kitchen/dining building in the center of the campus only a few steps from the main stage is Lapp's Dutch Market Catering, offering full meals and extensive snacks at reasonable prices. Choices include pulled port barbecue, kielbasa and sauerkraut, and some of the best ribs I've ever tasted. Lapp's is your go-to spot for food. Hint: Despite its generous size, Lapp's can get crowded during supper break. Try to schedule your eating away from the break to encounter shorter lines and faster service.  

The Details

Tickets are sold at a sometimes bewildering range of prices. The period to purchase "Earliest Bird" tickets has ended, but you will be able to buy "Earlier Bird Tickets until August 13 an the Early Bird Tickets until Monday, August 27. The Gate opens on Wednesday, August 29, 2018. You can purchase tickets in advance by printing out this form, filling it in and mailing it, or online from Brown Paper Tickets (the fair trade ticketing company, according to them).


Camping at Delaware Valley is free with a weekend ticket, but there are a few electric hookups (operated by the fairgrounds staff, who will collect the fee at your site) are available. Early arrival, that means Wednesday, are suggested for those wishing to obtain the widest remaining choice of camping locations. Remember that the festival volunteers, who have been hard at work since Monday will have already taken many of the choice sites. Because of the lack of shade and frequent high heat, the festival asks you to not bring pets to this event. You can find shaded camping around the perimeter of the spacious grounds. Many groups often camp together, creating compounds where they set up communal cooking/eating spaces and frequently hold regular jams. There are even a few covered spots in sheds attached to the exhibit buildings.

Custom Map

Located in Woodstown, NJ, just across the Delaware Memorial Bridge from Wilmington, DE, the Salem County Fairgrounds are within easy driving distance for millions of people living from New York to Washington, D.C. and westward in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and even Virginia. 

Place Your Location by Clickin on "More Options." When the Map comes up 
Place your current location in the Space by O and click
for a Custom Map of Your Route to Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival
You can print out the map and the directions of follow them on your GPS or Cel Phone

Festival director Carl Goldstein was approached by Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe in 1972 to help him and Bill Monroe establish a festival in the Delaware. Along with his friends and fellow Old Time enthusiasts Shel Sandler and the late Mike Hudak, they, along with the Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music, agreed to work with Stanley and Monroe, establishing the festival. Read British writer Richard Thompson's 2014 article in Bluegrass Today for more background on Goldstein and the festival. 
Festival Director - Carl Goldstein

The Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival is the only festival we attend built around a theory and shape based on presenting bluegrass music as well as introducing fans to all the variety of musical influences which have made it the wondrous musical experience it remains, over seventy years after it emerged at the Grand Old Opry in December of 1946, when Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs first joined Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys on the stage. 

If you've been a reader of my blog and columns, and we haven't met, please be sure to stop me to say hello and visit with Irene in the Merchandise Shed to say hello.  See you on Labor Day Weekend!

Irene at the Merch Table

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Podunk Bluegrass Festival - Preview

Podunk Bluegrass Festival has become a mainstay of central Connecticut bluegrass music through its now twenty-two years in existence. This year's festival will run from Audust 9 - 12, 2018 at the Hebron Lions Club Fairgrounds in Hebron, CT, located just 15.5 miles southeast of state capital, Hartford, an easy drive from Boston to New York. This lineup is filled with major bluegrass bands as well as local and regional ones to be found on two stages. The former acoustic stage has been renamed the the Showcase Stage, and will feature more mainstream bluegrass, folk, and acoustic acts, catering more to the bluegrass audience. Headliner bands include the Tim O'Brien Band, Balsam Range, and Flatt Lonesome. and Dale Ann Bradley along with fine supporting bands on each day. The band contest looks like a winner, and the usual cluster of other of other activities are all present. Of course, there will be jamming late into the night all over the campus.

Main Stage

Band Contest
In past years, it has been difficult to preview bands participating in the Podunk Band Contest, and even more the secondary stage, because they were such low profile or so social media averse that I couldn't find sufficient information to write about them. Today, even most upstart bands have become savvy enough to post videos of themselves and some contact and personnel information. This is a huge advance over just a year or two ago.

Beg, Steal or Borrow - Last Year's Band Contest Winner

Having said that, I want to emphasize that the band contest offers plenty of good music for early arrivals. In the early days, it was held on Sunday afternoon, attracting few listeners. Now, once you get here and set up on Thursday afternoon, you can look forward to hearing at least four good contest bands performing twice starting at 5:00 PM with the winner to be announced at 10:15, just in time for a night of jamming. 

Collinsville String Band

Collinsville lies only about forty miles west of Hebron, just the other side of Hartford, and performs mostly in the village there. While the Collinsville String Band doesn't play bluegrass exclusively, it sees the genre as were their roots lie.

Blackjack Crossing

Based in Keene, NH and Brattleboro, VT, Blackjack Crossing has been together for nine years, playing locally and at the JoeVal showcase stage, Bluegrass in the Bogs in Massachusetts, and the Cheshire County Fair in NH.  While based in bluegrass, it doesn't restrict itself to the form, while performing many original songs, traditional ones, and thoughtful covers.

Blackjack Crossing - Little Cabin Home on the Hill

Pretty Saro

A Boston-based band formed in 2015, apparently still tinkering with its sound, which has showcased at Joe Val and FressGrass. They work on their fine harmonies and perform at clubs around the Hub. 

Pretty Saro - Horseplay - Green Room Session

River Bones Band

The River Bones Band is from Philadelphia, where they seem to play pretty regularly around the city and its suburbs. They say they don't play mountain music, but are influenced by it and create music which appeals to them, while inviting their audience to join them for a good time.  

Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down

Sponsor of the Band Contest

Mike Mitchell Trio

Mike Mitchell, who plays his grandfather's 1890 hand-carved fiddle comes from fiddle country, in Southwestern, VA. He's had his talented fingers in music ranging from classical to traditional bluegrass to the jam band scene. He teaches fiddle at the Floyd Music School, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA while keeping a busy performance schedule, too. 

The Lowground

The Honey Dewdrops

The Honey Dewdrops have been touring together for nine years and have crafted a unique pleasing sound lying somewhere between folk,bluegrass, country, their own idiosyncratic style. They've toured across thc country and abroad performing at festivals, in concerts, and house concerts, always pleasing and reaching out with beautiful harmonies accompanied on a wide variety of stringed instruments. Their songs are joyful, plaintive, warm, and welcoming. Make the welcome at Podunk. 

The Honey Dewdrops - Let Me Sing 

The Karl Shifflett & Big Country Show

Karl Shifflett & Big Country Show bring the feel and sound of radio music shows in the early days of broadcast radio when bands wearily traveled from small town to small town to appear at 5,000 watt radio stations, trying to sell out small meeting halls, school auditoriums, and local bars to make a living performing a new and much loved version of mountain music the people of these towns loved. Karl is a national treasure keeping this tradition alive. 

Karl Shifflett and Big Country Show

Kristy Cox & Calder Highway with Jerry Salley

Kristy Cox, an Australian born country and bluegrass singer, who has been living and performing full time in the U.S for the past three years is on a limited tour with Jerry Salley, and Grammy Award winning song-writer and fine performer. Australia, with its own history of wild country (the Outback) and successful country singers (think Keith Urban) provides rich territory. This should prove to be an excellent show you won't want to miss. 

Jerry Salley &Kristy Cox - When It Comes to You

Flatt Lonesome
Charli Robertson & Kelsie Robertson Harrigill

Flatt Lonesome is an example of the benefits of talent, hard work, and persistence. Coming from a rural, background in northern Florida, they appeared first about seven years ago. Since then, they have moved to the Nashville area, build an ever growing fan base and been awarded with a pile of IBMA awards. They have broadened their musical palette while their sibling close harmonies are well-loved by many. They haven't reached near the top of their potential yet, so keep an eye on them while you can still afford to go to one of their shows. 

Flatt Lonesome - All My Life

Balsam Range

Balsam Range is one of those rare groups that has had the same personnel in it since their inception in 2007, when they emerged out of rural Heywood County in the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina they have their varied musical backgrounds in bluegrass, country, and rock music together into a rich, exciting musical soup. Balsam Range is one of those bands we travel to see when they're in the lineup. They don't play in New England as frequently as they should, so take advantage of this opportunity. 

They[re Burning Georgia Down

Main Campus & Vendors Row

The Zolla Boys

The Zolla Boys have continued to grow, to improve, and to continue to work at their music while allowing themselves to become well-rounded and attractive young people at the same time. As their musicianship and poise have increased, so has their range of song choice and geography. The work shows. They'll be seen on both the main stage and the showcase stage this year, where they will be the host band. 

The Zolla Boys - Colleen Malone

Beg, Steal, or Borrow

Beg, Steal, or Borrow, winner of last year's Podunk Band Contest justly deserve to be on the main stage at Podunk, not just because they won the band contest, but because they are good. Based in Vermont, their range of bluegrass festivals has widened, while they should be known even farther afield. They're a hard driving, inventive and fun. Join the fun on Friday!

Beg, Steal, or Borrow - Hard Hearted

Virginia Ramblers

The Virginia Ramblers are the successor band for the long-time traditional band, The Virginia Cutups. They have continued the musical tradition while add new players from a variety of backgrounds as needed.

Virgnia Ramblers - The Shut In Friend

Dale Ann Bradley

Dale Ann Bradley's voice is familiar and loved by bluegrass fans everywhere. She's been named IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year five times. Her leadership of Sister Sadie has helped propel this all woman band of experienced and under-recognized musicians into national prominence. Her melodious voice and warm personality can't help but capture fans wherever she appears. 

Dale Ann Bradley - Somewhere South of Crazy


Flashback was formed originally in 1995 as a reunion band of J.D. Crowe and the New South. The current membership, with Stuart Wyrick on banjo, Richard Bennett on guitar, Don Rigsby on mandolin, and Curt Chapman on bass does an admirable job of recreating the Crowe sound and vibe. 

Flashback - You Can Have Her

The Tim O'Brien Band

For more than forty-five years, Tim O'Brien has showered the musical world with his virtuosity and the variety of his musical imagination. The list of accomplishments don't quite capture the breadth of Tim's accomplishments. A founding member of Hot Rize (IBMA's first Entertainer of the Year), two Grammy Awards, twice IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year don't tell the story. The number of people he's performed with from his sister Molly, with whom he still performs, to singer/songwriter Darrell Scott with whom he has been performing and recording for several years, the range is beyond imagination. Tim will be performing one 90 minute set on Saturday night. 

Tim O'Brien - High Flying Bird

Tod Hutchinson & Mark Fitzgerald
Rosewood Sound

Rest Room & Shower Complex

Gospel Sing & Jam
Kids' Academy Performance

The Cornfed Dogs

With Nick Novia and Joe DiLillo at their center, the Cornfed Dogs have been a busy band in and around New England, Here's an earlier version of the band you'll see on Sunday, but you get the idea. Lots of fun with some familiar faces. 

Cornfed Dogs - Gone Home

Showcase Stage

The Showcase Stage has worked over the past few years to provide an opportunity for little known bands to perform in a festival setting. Sadly, the stage has been located a distance away from the Main Stage on this relatively large fairground. Podunk attendees who wander back to the Showcase Stage are in for a treat this year.   Contrary to past years, most of the bands have an active web presence, although they don't all have YouTube videos. I've done my best to introduce some of these riches to you. Bands appearing more than once or contest bands featured on the main stage are not profiled again. 

Band in the River

This is a young duo from Portland, CT. You can see a video and learn a little more from their Facebook page. 

Wide Open Spaces

Wide Open Spaces describes itself as "music without borders." Offering acoustic music which apparently achieves what it claims, this band looks and sounds like fun. Worth a trip out to the Showcase Stage,

Wide Open Spaces - Limin'

Grass Routes

Grass Routes has been around since the 1980's, a Connecticut band familiar to and liked by bluegrass fans. This solid cover of a fine Gibson Brothers song shows how deeply into bluegrass communities Leigh and Eric have penetrated around the country. Know a band's greatness by the quality of it's covers. If that's a valid measure, there's plenty good to say about this song and this band. 

Grass Routes - Somethin' Comin' To Me

Andrew Bohrman

An experienced multi-generational performer from Yarmouth, ME, Andrew Bohrman will be performing as a solo act. 

Open Mic with Jack Jolie

Jack Jolie is a noted Maine singer and known associate of the great Al Hawkes. He will host an Open Mic on Thursday as well as perform on this state on Friday 

Jack Jolie - Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart

The Zolla Boys
River Bones Band
Jack Jolie
Still Pickin'

Trio based in Mansfield, CT, Still Pickin' has been performing for nine years at festivals, local events, senior citizens residences, and other venues. 

Still Pickin'Band 

Sinners's Pie

Coming from the Brookline/Newton area of Boston suburbs, Sinner's Pie offers a wide variety of Americana leaning towards acoustic bluegrass and folk. They claim, rightly, that "everything goes better with pie." Make mine strawberry-rhubarb. 

Sinner's Pie - Ring of Gold

Black Jack Crossing

Dale & Darcy Band with Neil Rossi

Dale & Darcy have been entertaining at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT on Saturdays for the past eight years as well as at the full range of festivals, local events, weddings, and family reunions available to solid performing bands. It's always a pleasure, and too rare, to see Neil Rossi, too. 

Seat of Our Pants

It's always refreshing to hear a band that infuses a bit of humor into its music. Seat of Our Pants (SOOP) performs around Connecticut, maintaining a busy schedule. 

Seat of Our Pants - Connected

Jackson's Island Band

"Bluegrass inspired folksy rock band" covers a lot of territory. Not much more available except the FB song linked to below.

Collinsville String Band
Restless Mountain Bluegrass Band

Restless Mountain Bluegrass Band has been active in various configurations in Connecticut for over a decade, and reconstituted in 2017 with several new musicians, a new song mix and new presentation. They claim, "Restless Mountain Bluegrass Band always offers a fun mix of traditional standards and entertaining classics that bring fond memories and a smile. From music stages to special occasions, we'll entertain!"

Restless Mountain Bluegrass Band - I've Got a Tiger by the Tail

See Podunk Showcase bands for information about this band. 

One Way Track 

Zolla Boys
Cajun/Zydeco Dance with the Squeezebox Stompers

On Saturday evening the Squeezebox Stompers will play for a Zydeco/Cajun dance at the Showcase Stage.

Overall, Podunk offers one of the broadest ranges at a mid-sized festival offered anywhere. The Showcase Stage offers New England bands, and particularly those with their roots in Connecticut an opportunity to be seen and heard. Let's hope the attract enough attention from fans and promoters to justify continuing this often neglected stage.

Other Activities

Workshops: As usual, Podunk will feature an extensive, wide ranging Schedule of Workshops. These will empasize instrumental and vocal skills, discussions with artists, and opportunities to drill down with accomplished artists into their approach to music. 

Family Fun: Enjoyable activities and projects for children, sponsored by Hulls Art Supply will continue through the weekend. Here's the schedule

Podunk Kids Academy: Once again the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance (RIBA) will conduct the Kids Academy. Bluegrass festivals feature kids academies during the summer months designed to acquaint children with bluegrass instruments, build a short performance to be delivered on Sunday morning, and give parents a break. Get the details Here.

The Details

The Podunk Bluegrass Festival has, over the years, developed a useful, functional website, making it only necessary for me to provide links to the relevant places at their site. Explore the Podunk Bluegrass Festival web site for further information. 

How to Get to Podunk
Place your location in the space marked O
Click Enter and copy the directions

The Artists' Merchandise Barn

Only a month away, we look forward to seeing your at Podunk.