Philly Bluegrass Community Turns Out for 2nd Annual Gathering

A successful second annual gathering of Philly Bluegrass is in the books, thanks to the strong showing of the community, which generously supported the event with its presence and donations. Thank you!

Turnout exceeded expectations all day long, evidencing the passion of the bluegrass community here in Philadelphia. Media coverage from WXPN, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Weekly, and other publications no doubt also helped attendance. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner reservations were sold out days before the event, which admittedly led to frustration for some event-goers. We will be thinking about how to accommodate an even larger crowd in 2020, and invite your emailed feedback and suggestions at notes@phillybluegrass.com.

The best of the local and regional bluegrass scene was on full display throughout the day, with performances by Serene Green, River Bones Band, The High & Wides, Marc Silver & Bobby Baxmeyer, The Jersey Corn Pickers, and Ian & Liana (of the Keystone Mountain Boys). Ian Zolitor, host of the WXPN Folk Show, kept the crowd entertained between bands, and the show on a tight schedule.

Attendees were then treated to a captivating performance by headliner Michael Daves. During his hour-long solo set, Daves played several cuts from his latest record, Orchids & Violence (Nonesuch), including his covers of Mother Love Bone’s “Stargazer” and Whit Connah’s “Dark Angel.” He also drew from the traditional bluegrass canon, which provided the opportunity to feature guest musicians from the local scene.

Special thanks to:

Relive the day with this photo gallery by Jordan August Photography.

10 Must-See Shows for Summer 2019

Memorial Day has arrived, marking the unofficial start of the summer season. That means it’s time to dust off the ol’ Philly Bluegrass Calendar and see which dates to circle for this summer. So get out a big red Sharpie and let’s go!

May 23-26: Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival

Wind Gap is a beautiful, wooded (bug spray, people!), dog-friendly festival with easy camping and lots of jamming. Pickers: hope your calluses are in shape! Not to mention that it’s affordable, at $85 for a full-weekend pass at the gate. Danny Paisley, Valerie Smith, Country Current, and others perform. All ticket sales are at the gate as of this writing. Details at windgapbluegrass.com.

June 1: Verlon Thompson & Shawn Camp: A Guy Clark Tribute at Marsh Gibbon Farm

Songwriter and Guy Clark collaborator Verlon Thompson and Shawn Camp, who has of late been touring with The Earls of Leicester, have teamed up to do a limited number of shows as a tribute to Guy Clark. Marsh Gibbon Farm is an idyllic venue in a converted barn that recently hosted Hawktail. RSVPs are required—and limited. Learn more on the Facebook event.

June 16: 2nd Annual Philly Bluegrass Festival at Heritage

Philly’s annual bluegrass throw-down is back for 2019. This Father’s Day, both dads and non-dads alike will be treated to performances by some of the area’s top bluegrass acts and a headlining set by Michael Daves. After the performances, rising Pennsylvania bluegrass act Serene Green will host an open on-stage bluegrass jam. $15 donation suggested. Full lineup and details here. This event is presented by Philly Bluegrass and Heritage, and sponsored by Founders Brewing Co.

June 19: Jim Lauderdale and Band at the Locks at Sona

Jim Lauderdale is back at The Locks at Sona, after last visiting in November doing a solo act. He must have liked it because he’s back with a full band. His latest record, “From Another World,” is out June 21 on Yep Roc Records. Tickets $22-30.

June 21: Compton and Newberry at the Anchor Church

It’s a bit of a hike from Philly, but worth the drive to Bucks County to see Compton & Newberry, two highly-decorated pickers with a deep repertoire of early country music and blues. Information is available on the Facebook event. Suggested donation is $25, with all donations going to the artists.

July 11: Damn Tall Buildings at Philadelphia Folksong Society

Damn Tall Buildings’ new Dan Cardinal-produced LP (Darlingside, Lula Wiles, Josh Ritter) entitled “Don’t Look Down” is due out June 7. The release tour comes to Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Folksong Society’s intimate listening room in Roxborough on July 11.

August 15-18: Philadelphia Folk Festival

There’s always a great selection of bluegrass and acoustic roots at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and this year is no different, with The Kruger Brothers, Front Country, Kaia Kater, Dom Flemons, and others scheduled to perform—with still more acts yet to be announced. Single day passes and weekend-long camping is available now at pfs.org.

August 18: Remington Ryde at Heritage

Originally hailing from Central Pennsylvania, Remington Ryde was formed in 2002, and has recorded and toured extensively ever since. Fans of hard driving traditional bluegrass band, great musicianship, close harmonies, and that good old bluegrass banter should plan on brunch at Heritage on Sunday, August 18. No cover but reservations are recommended.

August 25: Jakobs Ferry Stragglers at Heritage

Gary Antol and Libby Eddy founded Jakobs Ferry Stragglers in Pennsylvania in 2014. Since then, the band appeared at festivals and clubs all across the country, notably performing as an official showcase artist at the IBMA’s Bluegrass Ramble in Raleigh, NC last September. They come to Philly on August 25 ahead of an appearance at DelVal the following weekend. No cover but reservations are recommended.

August 30-September 1: 48th Annual Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival

One of the country’s original bluegrass festivals, DelVal has been around for almost 50 years, and was founded by none other than Bill Monroe and Dr. Ralph Stanley. Earliest bird tickets available through 6/30 for $105, which includes camping for four nights, three days’ worth of top-tier bluegrass bands, and jamming till sunrise. With Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Travelin’ McCourys, Balsam Range, and many more.