MASS MoCA Bluegrass Festival Digs Even Deeper

Sam Bush

Sam Bush

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Devil Makes Three, Sam Bush, the Deadly Gentlemen, Sarah Jarosz, and Greensky Bluegrass have been added to an already impressive lineup for this year’s FreshGrass, MASS MoCA‘s three-day fall festival of bluegrass and roots music, on the weekend of September 20-22, 2013.

These five acts join such stars as Del McCoury, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, the Wood Brothers, the Lone Bellow, and Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Bill Evans, Jerry Douglas, Alison Brown, Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall, Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell, Lake Street Dive, the Gibson Brothers, Noam Pikelny and Friends, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Elephant Revival, Darol Anger, and Mandolin Orange.

Devil Makes Three’s late-night barn dance was a FreshGrass 2012 highlight.  The trio, whom calls “a rare breed: wild traditionalists”, describes their music as “country-bluegrass swing with a raucous punk spirit.” The band plays on this year’s mainstage in MASS MoCA’s urban concert meadow.

Devil Makes Three’s move to the FreshGrass mainstage leaves Boston’s Deadly Gentlemen to liven up the late-night barn-dance crowd with its brand of “playfully irreverent, vibrantly rootsy songcraft”.

Multi-instrumentalist Sam Bush has been at the forefront of expanding horizons in bluegrass for decades, picking up every award and accolade along that journey, including a Grammy Award and lifetime achievement award from the American Music Association. He holds court on the mainstage on Sunday afternoon with his spectacular “newgrass” sound.

Greensky Bluegrass has been on a tear, impressing audiences on a recent cross-country tour, and the band isn’t slowing down any for FreshGrass.  As well-known for a great party as for its stunning musicianship, Rolling Stone magazine claims the acoustic quintet is “representing the genre for a whole new generation”.

Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz will kick off the festival on Friday night. This marks the multi-instrumentalist’s second appearance at the bluegrass and roots music festival. At just 22 years old, Jarosz has built an impeccable reputation with her first two records, Song Up In Her Head and Follow Me Down, each earning Grammy and Americana Music Association nominations. She has been called “a songwriter of uncommon wisdom” by the Austin Chronicle.  Jarosz was a fan favorite for her resonant performance at the inaugural FreshGrass festival in 2011.

Chris Wadsworth, whose Manitou Media is a co-producer of the event, says “We love to present newcomers on stage with renowned players such as Sam Bush and bands like Devil Makes Three, Deadly Gentlemen, and Greensky – who are all clearly expanding the genre.” Wadsworth effuses, “Sarah Jarosz is a prime example of the bright young talent we strive to bring to FreshGrass.  She knocked us out her first time here.”

FreshGrass is a wonderland of bluegrass and roots music, rich in both traditional and cutting-edge bluegrass, and presented in a wide array of venues tucked appropriately into a 19th-century-factory-turned-21st-century-museum in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

FreshGrass is also one of the best values in the festival world.  Three-day festival passes are $78 for adults, $68 for students, $38 for kids 7-16, and free for children 6 and under.  Museum members receive a 10% discount on the regular prices.  Day passes will be available closer to the event.  Tickets are available through FreshGrass and MASS MoCA or by calling the MASS MoCA box office at 413-662-2111 x1. In July and August, the Box Office is open from 10am to 6pm every day.

After September 2, the box office is open from 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays.  Festivalgoers are welcome to bring chairs, blankets, and cushions to sit on but should leave coolers and picnic baskets at home.  The festival will be held rain or shine.


Exhibitions on view during FreshGrass include, among others, Xu Bing: Phoenix, a monumental display of sculptural phoenixes, each stretching nearly 100 feet in length and weighing over 20 tons in all; One Minute Film Festival 2003-2012, featuring over 600 micro-films; Life’s Work, focusing on two artists, Tom Phillips and Johnny Carrera, who have spent their entire careers making art from – and about – single books; Love to Love You, a show of artists who explore the essence of being a fan in today’s popular culture; and two solo exhibitions, one of New York-based painter Joseph Montgomery and the other of Paris-based sculptor Guillaume Leblon.


MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making and enjoying the best new art of our time, across all media: music, art, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on our factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. MASS MoCA is an open platform, and we thrive on presenting our audiences with art and shared learning opportunities that are fresh, engaging, and transformative.




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