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.