A bluegrass festival brings the bluegrass singers, great live music, and the public together. The festival usually lasts a week or a day or just for a weekend. You can find such festivals worldwide but they are most prevalent in the South Atlantic States of the United States, especially in Maryland. For those of you who are wondering what these bluegrass festivals are and what popular bluegrass festivals you can attend in Maryland, then keep reading.
BEST BLUEGRASS FESTIVALS IN MARYLAND IN 2023
Maryland has many bluegrass festivals that you can explore. In addition to great music, you will also find great food especially during festival season. If you’re not very familiar with bluegrass festivals, scroll to the bottom where we discuss the history and details of them. Let’s first take a look at the bluegrass festivals in Maryaldn.
CHARM CITY BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
Where: Baltimore, Maryland
In the lovely city of Baltimore, Maryland, there is a renowned music event called Charm City Bluegrass. Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival was founded in 2013. Because of its close ties to Baltimore’s local neighborhoods, the event has grown to be one of the most prosperous ones.
The Charm City Bluegrass Festival returned this year for a very special 10th year celebrating bluegrass music in Baltimore!
The event was held on May 5th & 6th, at the Union Collective for a celebration of the bluegrass music we all love. This two-day event was started at 3 p.m. on Friday and continued at 10 a.m. on Saturday. On Friday, the festival featured music indoors and on the outdoor patio only. On Saturday, the event featured music on stages indoors and outdoors! People enjoyed great crafts and delicious foods making it a memorable event.
THE BALTIMORE OLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Where: Baltimore, Maryland
The Baltimore Old Time Music Festival, which took place on March 10-11, was a vibrant celebration of traditional music that featured bluegrass music. With ticket prices ranging from $15 for streaming to $80 for a full experience, it was an affordable way to enjoy fantastic performances. The festival was held at 3134 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224.
The festival had a talented lineup that included Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons with Phil Wiggins, Lonesome Ace Stringband, Nora Brown, Ken & Brad Kolodner, Ginny Hawker, Val Mindel, Emily Miller, Mama’s Broke, Sarah Kate Morgan, Hubby Jenkins, and Phil Jamison. This festival was all about embracing the old-time spirit, where performers took turns leading and creating a lively atmosphere with their high-energy performances.
Where: Cumberland, Maryland
DelFest is a premier bluegrass festival that celebrates the rich legacy of Del McCoury. The festival has world-class musical collaborations every year from some of the most popular names in bluegrass music. The festival features a distinctly unique and family-friendly atmosphere.
Hosted by Del McCoury and family, DelFest 2023 held in May over Memorial Day weekend welcomed to the stage the Del McCoury Band, the Travelin’ McCourys, The Infamous Stringdusters, The California Honeydrops, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Trampled by Turtles, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and many more musical acts playing around the clock. The festival lasts for about 4 days. In addition to music, there were so many activities to get an amazing experience of the festival.
Where: St Ocean City, Maryland
Marked on the calendars was a delightful day of bluegrass and good times at Brewgrass on March 25th. With a ticket price of $66, attendees were in for an all-inclusive treat. The ticket granted access to the event, where they could relish in the deliciousness of fresh-shucked oysters on the half shell and a mouthwatering spread of Southern-style BBQ chicken, ribs, and sides. But the culinary delights didn’t stop there – craft beer by the region’s top brewers flowed, and attendees even got to take home commemorative pint glasses.
The picturesque location of Fager’s Island at 201 60th St. Ocean City, MD 21842 set the scene for a perfect day. Attendees didn’t need to worry about parking as it was available on-site, making the experience hassle-free. The live bluegrass music kept their spirits high and their toes tapping throughout the event.
CRISFIELD BLUEGRASS & SUNSET FESTIVAL
Where: Crisfield, Maryland
The Crisfield Bluegrass & Sunset Festival took place on June 17th. With ticket prices that started at $45, this event promised a wonderful time for all. Attendees headed over to the scenic Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, MD 21817, USA, and got ready to be swept away by the bluegrass tunes as the sunset. Convenient on-site parking ensured a smooth arrival and departure, so everyone could focus on enjoying the festivities.
The lineup for the festival was a true bluegrass dream. Attendees got ready to groove to the sounds of Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, along with a special Tribute to Doc Watson featuring Trey Hensley, Jack Lawrence, Seldom Scene, and T. Michael Coleman. Tim and Savannah Finch with the Eastman String Band, US Navy Country Current Band, Danny Paisley and Southern Grass, and Blue Crab Crossing also took the stage, ensuring a day filled with unforgettable performances. With the beauty of nature surrounding them and the soulful melodies in the air, the Crisfield Bluegrass & Sunset Festival provided an experience that resonated long after the last note was played.
ANNAPOLIS BAYGRASS FESTIVAL
Where: Annapolis, Maryland
Mark your calendars for the upcoming Annapolis Baygrass Music Festival, scheduled to take place from September 30th to October 1st. While ticket prices are yet to be announced, this event is bound to be a harmonious celebration of bluegrass music that you won’t want to miss. The festival will be held at the picturesque Sandy Point State Park, located at 1100 E College Pkwy in Annapolis, MD 21409. With on-site parking available, getting to the festival grounds will be a breeze.
Get ready to tap your toes and sway to the sweet sounds of bluegrass, as the lineup for this festival is sure to feature some incredible talents. Whether you’re a long-time bluegrass enthusiast or simply looking to immerse yourself in some toe-tapping tunes, the Annapolis Baygrass Festival promises a weekend of musical delight in a beautiful outdoor setting. There are also many charming bed and breakfasts in the Chesapeake Bay where you can stay and
UPPERCO MUSIC FESTIVAL
Where: Upperco, Maryland
Experience a captivating blend of melodies at the upcoming Upperco Music Festival, set to take place from September 21st to 23rd. Earlybird weekend passes, available until September 2nd, range from $40 to $70, making it an affordable opportunity to revel in the sounds of bluegrass. The festival’s location is 16020 Carnival Ave, Upperco, MD 21155, promising a scenic backdrop for the musical festivities.
Don’t worry about parking as on-site parking options will be available. For those with an adventurous spirit, camping facilities will also be on hand. While the lineup for this year’s festival is yet to be announced, last year’s event featured an impressive array of talent, including Big Country Bluegrass, The Baker Family, Remington Ryde, Seth Mulder and Midnight Run, Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, Country Current, Blue Stone, and Old Town Flood. Expect nothing less than a harmonious celebration of bluegrass music and a delightful gathering of music enthusiasts.
Where: Darlington, Maryland
The upcoming Ramble Festival, scheduled from October 6th to 8th, is promising a wonderful time immersed in music and camaraderie. With tickets priced at $185, this festival offers an enriching experience that’s well worth the cost. The festival will be hosted at Camp Ramblewood, located at 2564 Silver Road, Darlington, MD, offering a serene and picturesque environment to enjoy the festivities.
If you’re planning to attend, worry not about parking, as on-site parking facilities will be available for a fee of $40. While the lineup for this year’s event is yet to be announced, last year’s festival boasted an impressive roster of talent, including Big Something, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Pink Talking Fish, The Travelin’ McCourys, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, and many more. Be prepared for a remarkable blend of music, positive vibes, and an unforgettable experience at the Ramble Festival.
SAVAGE MILL BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
Where: St Savage, Maryland
While the exact dates are yet to be announced, Savage Mill Bluegrass Festival is not one to miss. With tickets priced at just $25, it offers fantastic value for a day filled with amazing music and good company. The festival will take place at 8600 Foundry St, Savage, Maryland, 20763, providing a convenient and charming setting for the festivities.
A spacious parking lot will be available on-site, ensuring a hassle-free experience for all attendees. While this year’s lineup is still under wraps, last year’s event featured talented acts such as Moose Jaw Bluegrass, Ben-David Warner, Satyr Hill, and Dillweed. With a rich history of great performances, the Savage Mill Bluegrass Festival promises an engaging and enjoyable experience for all bluegrass enthusiasts.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON BLUEGRASS MUSIC
Bluegrass Music is a modern style of string band music based on tradition. In bluegrass bands, there are typically four to seven members who perform while accompanying themselves on acoustic string instruments such as double bass, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, steel guitar, 5-string banjo, and Dobro. Bluegrass combines elements of square dance fiddling, old-time mountain music, blues, jazz, gospel, and popular music.
Its unusual timing bursts just before or after the main rhythm, giving the song an energizing feel. Because of its very high vocal range, which forces vocalists to use their higher ranges, the music has a tight, almost austere sound that is sometimes referred to as “high lonesome.” Close-harmonic duets, trios, and quartets are frequently used in bluegrass music.
Due to the efforts of Bill Monroe (1911–1996) and his Blue Grass Boys (Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise, and Joel Price), the bluegrass genre first gained popularity in the 1940s. Bill had previously performed as a mandolinist, fiddler, radio performer, and recording artist alongside his brother Charlie as one-half of the Monroe Brothers group. He founded the Blue Grass Boys in 1938, giving the group the moniker of his native Kentucky. The ensemble, with its roots firmly planted in country music, fused swing with a surging fiddle and synchronized banjo strumming to forge an entirely new genre.
WHAT IS A BLUEGRASS MUSIC FESTIVAL?
Bluegrass festival features performances of Bluegrass artists. In addition to these performances, a bluegrass festival usually offers crafts, food, and other items for sale.
Planning of the bluegrass festival starts around 2-3 months before the event. First, planners locate and secure a site. Then they start collecting findings for the event and often gather donations from companies and organizations that are willing to promote bluegrass music. Then the selected singers are invited to attend and perform at the event. The planners also advertise the festival to the public.
A bluegrass event is typically held during the warm season in an open environment. Many food vendors try to set up their stalls in nearby locations or around the festival. Attendees of the festival usually dress in casual clothes. Some people also dress in period pieces that denote bluegrass roots.
During the festival, performances continue throughout the day and evening. Most of the bluegrass festivals are family-friendly events. While parents sit on the lawn enjoying the music, children can be often seen playing and enjoying. Some people also bring grills and families prepare picnic lunches during the show.
HOW TO FULLY ENJOY A BLUEGRASS MUSIC FESTIVAL IN MARYLAND?
Howdy and Shake with the Stars
Even the most well-known performers follow the “bluegrass way” and leave the stage after a performance to engage in conversation with the audience. If you get the chance, don’t forget to shake hands with your favorite artists!
Many bluegrass events also have workshops for attendees taught by the best-performing stars. There, You can learn how to sing harmony, how to pick, how to write music, and more.
People bringing their instruments to the festival and taking part in unofficial jam sessions both day and night are traditional in bluegrass. Some people go to jam without ever going to the main stage show! At other music festivals, you won’t observe that. When the finest bluegrass performers aren’t performing on stage, don’t be shocked to see them participate in the jam sessions.
Most of the Bluegrass festivals have activities for kids, as well as activities for those adults who don’t like to sit in front of the stage and join the jamming. Clowns, vendors, and face painting are common. Bluegrass events are family oriented so this is no surprise.
If you want, you can also enjoy camping while listening to Bluegrass music at the festival. You can also enjoy your music during the wee hours.
We hope that this article helped you gain insights and knowledge about bluegrass music and bluegrass music festivals. The festivals that were held in the past couple of months were very successful in bringing happiness to people’s lives and if you are interested in getting the same feeling of joy then I would recommend you to at least attend one of the upcoming festivals to fully enjoy this music genre and spend some quality time with your friends and family.
1. What is a bluegrass festival?
A bluegrass festival is a gathering event for bluegrass singers musicians and the public. Performances by bluegrass artists are showcased and they frequently have crafts food as well as other sale items.
2. Can you tell who had a pivotal role in making bluegrass music popular?
In the 1940s, bluegrass music became popular due to the significant contribution of Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. He mixed swing and country music elements to develop a new genre characterized by energetic rhythms tight harmonies and distinctive vocal ranges.
3. Can you tell me what to expect at a bluegrass festival in Maryland?
At Maryland’s bluegrass festivals you can find a mix of performances plus crafts food vendors and family activities. By dressing casually attendees often immerse themselves in workshops jam sessions and conversations with artists. The festivals mostly take place in open environments during the warm seasons and cater to families.
4. Can you suggest some top bluegrass festivals in Maryland for 2023?
Notable bluegrass festivals in Maryland in 2023 include Charm City Bluegrass Festival along with The Baltimore Old Music Festival DelFest Brewgrass Crisfield Bluegrass & Sunset Festival Annapolis Baygrass Festival Upperco Music Festival Ramble Festival and Savage Mill Bluegrass Festival.
5. What is the best way to experience a bluegrass festival?
For a full enjoyment of a bluegrass festival consider attending workshops that teach about harmony and picking techniques. Make sure to engage in jam sessions where artists and attendees create music together and seize the opportunity to interact with your favorite performers.
6. Are bluegrass festivals family-friendly?
The vast majority of bluegrass festivals welcome families. You can check the websites and reviews ahead of time to see which is the best fit for you and your family.