Bluegrass in Grass Valley

BLUEGRASS ENTHUSIASTS OF ALL ages are going to be jamming under the pines on June 18-21 as the California Bluegrass Association presents the 40th annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

The four-day festival begins Thursday morning and runs through Sunday afternoon (Father’s Day), with a full slate of main-stage concerts, workshops and ‘round-the-clock jamming.

This year’s festival lineup includes the Grammy award-winning Nashville Bluegrass Band, which has toured in some 20 countries and was the first bluegrass band to play in China.

Other performers include Good Ol’ Persons Reunion, Carl and Judie Pagter and Friends, Jumpsteady Boys, Keith Little and the LittleBand, Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass, Adkins and Loudermilk, Kentucky Colonels Reunion, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Molly Tuttle and Friends, the Bluegrass Patriots Reunion, The Spinney Brothers, Blue Diamond Strings, Steep Ravine and Kids on Bluegrass.

The festival is preceded by the 15th annual California Bluegrass Association Summer Music Camp on June 14- 17, offering music students of all ages an opportunity to learn from some of the country’s best bluegrass musicians and teachers.

Each year the fairgrounds begin filling up with tents and recreational vehicles on the Sunday before the festival begins. Festival vendors arrive on Wednesday, setting up a food area. Lazy Dog Ice Cream of Grass Valley is a perennial favorite. Nearby are vendors of hats, apparel, jewelry and craft items, musical instruments and supplies.

The festival is family friendly. For children learning to play an instrument, the Kids on Bluegrass is an activity for children aged 3-17 with two stage appearances during the festival. The festival also has a children’s instrument lending library.

“My own family arrived on the fairgrounds the weekend before the festival and spent the week exploring the roadways of the lovely and historic gold rush area,” recalled one regular festival-goer. He pointed to attractions such as swimming in the South Yuba River, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, Empire Mine State Park, and the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Nevada City.

(Photo: Senor McGuire)

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