Bluegrass Festival on June 15-18: Grandaddy of Musical Gatherings

THE CALIFORNIA BLUEGRASS ASSOCIATION presents its 42nd annual Father’s Day Festival June 15-18 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

As in year’s past, this year’s event features a lineup of top touring bluegrass bands and five of California’s best bluegrass and old-time music groups. The festival offers four days of entertainment on three stages, plus nonstop jam sessions by music-playing fans in the camping areas.

Among the major bands that will be appearing are: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press, Molsky’s Mountain Drifters, Tony Trischka Territory, Becky Buller Band, Mipso, Piedmont Melody Makers, Sawmill Road, The Freight Hoppers, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Barefoot Movement, and The Blue Js.

Five West Coast bands will appear on the main stage this year as the California Showcase. These bands are: Crooked Jades, The Brombies, David Thom, Burning Heart Bluegrass, and Matt & George and their Pleasant Valley Boys.

Camping & Jamming Under the Pines

Each year the fairgrounds at Grass Valley begins filling up with tents and RVs on the Sunday before the festival begins. Many are there for a three-day music instructional camp that runs through Wednesday, but most just arrive early to play music, hang out with old friends and meet new ones.

On Wednesday, the festival’s vendors arrive, setting up booths in the food area to offer coffee, sausages, Asian food, vegetarian fare, Mexican food, crepes, snow cones and ice cream. There are also booths with vendors of hats, apparel, jewelry, crafts and musical instruments.

Luthiers’ Pavilion

Inside the fairground buildings is a luthiers’ pavilion, where they display beautiful handmade guitars, banjos, mandolins, fiddles and basses. They also offer instrument setup and repair services.

The California Bluegrass Association Father’s Day Festival is a family friendly event. For children learning to play a instrument, the “Kids on Bluegrass” program works up songs beginning on Thursday and performs on the main stage Friday and Saturday—a big thrill for the kids and the audience.

For tickets and information, visit

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