(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Building on the success of last year’s first foray into bluegrass, MASS MoCA has announced the dates, line-up, and discounted early-bird pass price for the second annual FreshGrass Festival, which will be held September 21-23, 2012, and will be headlined by David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Trampled By Turtles, and Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Also on the bill are Lonesome River Band, Boston-based Joy Kills Sorrow, Seattle duo Cahalen & Eli, New Orleans singer-banjoist Leyla McCalla, and Devil Makes Three, plus Infamous Stringdusters and Spirit Family Reunion on Friday evening.
In addition to afternoon and evening concerts, festival events include a banjo workshop with Grammy Award-nominee Alison Brown, formerly of Alison Krauss’s band Union Station and a former bandleader for Michelle Shocked (and a Harvard University alumna with an MBA from UCLA and a stint at Smith Barney’s San Francisco office); events for kids; and local food and drink, plus admission to MASS MoCA’s sprawling art-filled galleries where festivalgoers will enjoy pop-up concerts in addition to the best of contemporary art. The festival is co-produced with Manitou Media.
Mandolinist David Grisman is a “newgrass” pioneer with impeccable bluegrass credentials, known for his open-ended fusions of bluegrass and jazz as well as for his collaborations with rockers including longtime friend Jerry Garcia (he played on the Grateful Dead album American Beauty), newgrass supergroup Old and in the Way (with Garcia, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements and John Hartford), as well as klezmer pioneer (and former bluegrass star) Andy Statman. His Bluegrass Experience group includes Keith Little (Ricky Skaggs, Dolly Parton, the Country Gentlemen) on 5-string banjo, guitar and vocals, Jim Nunally (John Reischman & the Jaybirds) on guitar and vocals, Chad Manning on fiddle, Samson Grisman on bass and of course, David Grisman on mandolin and vocals.
Carolina Chocolate Drops is an old-time string band from Durham, N. C. Its 2010 album, Genuine Negro Jig, won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. The group’s song, “Daughter’s Lament,” is on the soundtrack to the new hit film, Hunger Games, and its new album, Leaving Eden, which just came out a few weeks ago, continues its effort to mine the roots of Southern black string-band music of the 1920s and 1930s.
Duluth, Minn.-based Trampled by Turtles draws inspiration from rock musicians including fellow Minnesotan Bob Dylan, Townes van Zant, and Neil Young, and have performed at major festivals including Coachella, Stagecoach, Bumbershoot, and Pickathon.
Tickets for FreshGrass go on sale on Wednesday, April 11, with a two-week “early bird” discounted price on festival passes of just $36. Festival passes for students are just $26. Tickets are available through the festival website and the MASS MoCA website or by calling the MASS MoCA Box office at 413.662.2111.
MASS MoCA Director Joe Thompson explained the motivation for the weekend festival: “In addition to presenting some of the nation’s most inventive bluegrass talent alongside the greats in the field like David Grisman, we hope FreshGrass will draw visitors to our area in what is traditionally shoulder season. The weather in September tends to be warm and sunny – perfect for a couple of days of outdoor music. When you add the music to the chance to visit our galleries, attend workshops and enjoy great homegrown food and drink, you’ve got a memorable weekend. We’ve kept the all-inclusive price affordable and hope that people who enjoy bluegrass and the festival scene will join us with friends and family.”
After April 25, festival passes will cost $46 for adults, $26 for students, $16 for kids 6-16, and free for children under 6. Day passes for Saturday or Sunday only are $25 for adults, $15 for students, $5 for kids 6-16 and free for children under 6. Festival passes and day passes include gallery admission. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount.
The festival will be held rain or shine, moving inside to the Hunter Center in case of inclement weather. Festivalgoers are welcome to bring blankets and cushions to sit on but should leave chairs, coolers, and picnic baskets at home. Limited bleacher seating is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Tickets are available beginning April 11 through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11 AM until 5 PM, closed Tuesday. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at the MASS MoCA website.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA is an independent 501C3 whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and occasional competitive state and federal grants for specific programs, MASS MoCA is not government-funded.