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FreshGrass Bluegrass Festival 2015

Dwight Yoakam * Punch Brothers * The Del McCoury Band
Leftover Salmon * Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester
Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz & Aoife O’Donovan
Greensky Bluegrass * Houndmouth * Alison Brown
Willie Watson * Vieux Farka Touré & Julia Easterlin * Peter Rowan
Lost Bayou Ramblers * Mr. Sun * Flatt Lonesome
The Ballroom Thieves * Birds of Chicago * Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem
Twisted Pine * Quiles & Cloud * Cat and The Moon
The Man in Grass: A FreshGrass Tribute to Johnny Cash Featuring Alison Brown, Trey Hensley, and Special Guests
Freshscores: A Child of the Ghetto and The Flying House feat. live music by Alison Brown and Mamie Minch 
Freshscores: The Great Train Robbery and The Flying House feat. live music by Lost Bayou Ramblers and Mamie Minch

We’re also joined this year by Berklee College of Music’s American Roots Music ProgramNo DepressionHappy Traum’s Homespun TapesFretboard Journal, and our friends at Compass Records will once again roll out a FreshGrass record store.

Festival partners The Fretboard Journal and Steve Sauvé of Sauvé Guitars lead an unrivaled group of instrument artisans who offer a variety of luthier activities throughout FreshGrass. Located in the luthier tent in the center of the festival, these professionals offer construction demonstrations and discussions about fiddle, mandolin, banjo, open-back banjo, guitar, and ukulele. Participants include Adam Buchwald of Circle Strings, Nicholas Lenski of Brier Road Guitars and Berkshire Stringed Instrument School of Lutherie, Martin Macica of the Macica Workshop (specializing in mandolins and violins), and Scott Hausmann of the Whetstone School of Lutherie. With more contributors still to be announced, this year brings new and familiar faces to the luthier tent and a specialized demonstration area, where access to instruments and their craftspeople is unparalleled. Learn more about the luthiers.

The 2015 workshop program includes instrument-specific intensives focused on playing hints and techniques from the best in the bluegrass business and conversational seminars between performers and industry professionals. This year’s workshops are led by students and faculty from the Berklee College of Music’s American Roots Program, Happy and Adam Traum of Homespun Learning and a few special-guest FreshGrass artists. All workshops are free with admission. Select workshops encourage attendees to bring instruments. Space is limited, so register on the day of the event when you arrive at the festival – first come, first serve. Times and locations will be announced in September.

2015 Workshops:

FreshGrass is rich in both traditional and cutting-edge bluegrass, presented in a wide array of venues tucked appropriately into a 19th-century factory turned 21st-century museum… all set amidst the beautiful backdrop of the Berkshire mountains in northwestern Massachusetts.

An opportunity for enthusiasts to both appreciate and participate, FreshGrass is a family-friendly festival, brimming with bright talent on our four stages, and also in our galleries, brick-lined courtyards, and grassy field. FreshGrass is becoming more than a festival: join us as we build a new hub for the bluegrass community, honoring the American tradition while also propelling the genre forward.

Music starts early in the museum courtyards, moves to our spacious (and grassy!) urban concert meadow, and then continues until past your bedtime with wild and wooly late-night barn dances in the Hunter Center on Friday and Saturday nights. The lineup is jam-packed with guitar gods and banjo gurus, traditionalists, and trailblazers — artists you already know and love along with new FreshGrass discoveries. Taken together, it’s an expansive group of performers who both draw on the past and look to the future.

FreshGrass celebrates the freshest talent on the bluegrass stage with 19 finalists participating in the 2015 FreshGrass Award Contest. Finalists in the band, duo, banjo, and fiddle categories perform for a panel led by Grammy Award-winner and master banjoist Alison Brown on Saturday and Sunday of the festival, with winners announced on Sunday afternoon. Open for all festival-goers, the contests showcase the future of bluegrass and roots music when the bands play original and traditional tunes. With cash and prizes totaling $25,000, winners receive a performance spot at next year’s festival, recording sessions at Compass Records, and hand-crafted instruments from Deering and Eastman.

Band Award Finalists:

  • The Blackberry Bushes Stringband
  • Max Wareham & the Morning Bugle
  • Mile Twelve
  • Old Salt Union
  • Stash Wyslouch Stringband

Duo Award Finalists:

  • Stephanie Coleman and Kristin Andreassen
  • The Littlest Birds
  • Sumner & Moss
  • Zoe & Cloyd

Banjo Award Finalists:

  • Matt Blaize
  • Catherine Bowness
  • Victor Furtado
  • Alex Genova
  • Douglas Jay Goldstein

Fiddle Award Finalists:

  • Rob Hecht
  • Bronwyn Keith-Hynes
  • Carolyn Kendrick
  • Avery Merritt
  • Kathleen Parks

FreshGround is a tent-camping field within easy walking distance (.7 miles; 12 minutes) to the festival, convenient to downtown merchants, bars, and restaurants. There’s a shuttle bus to ferry you when you need it. Stay tuned to freshgrass.com for the latest news — the music never stops at FreshGrass!

Follow FreshGrass on facebook for updates and more.

                   
FreshGrass is a co-production of MASS MoCA and FreshGrass, LLC.

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