(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Emmylou Harris, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Railroad Earth, David Grisman Sextet, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Valerie June, Rodney Crowell, Aoife O’Donovan, Sam Amidon, and the Infamous Stringdusters are just some of the bluegrass and roots music acts that will headline the third annual FreshGrass Festival at MASS MoCA, which this year will take place on September 19-21, 2014. Other performers include Sam Bush, the Gibson Brothers, Alison Brown, Valerie June, Liam Ó Manolaí, Michael Cleveland, Claire Lynch, Darol Anger, and Martha Redbone Roots Project. All told, the event promises to be a kind of all-star festival of American country and roots music.
Last year’s FreshGrass Award recipient, Cricket Tell the Weather, will take the stage for a full set.
Already a major presence on the festival scene, the expertly curated FreshGrass sharpens its focus this year on the best in traditional and progressive bluegrass, also surveying innovative music at the edges of the genre. “A bluegrass weekend that spans the Gibson Brothers to Sam Amidon, the Carolina Chocolate Drops to Rodney Crowell… That’s our kind of festival,” says MASS MoCA director Joseph Thompson.
Three days of concerts and pop-up performances in the museum’s indoor galleries, stages, and outdoor concert courtyards; music clinics organized by instrument; and insider presentations by players in the bluegrass music trade, as well as a bounty of Berkshire fresh food and spirits, are planned for the weekend festival. The contest, workshops, and camping will all be expanding this year, as will luthier demonstrations and children’s programming. Admission to MASS MoCA’s galleries – where festivalgoers will find concerts set amidst dramatically scaled exhibitions of contemporary art such as Darren Waterston’s Uncertain Beauty – is included in the price of festival admission.
The FreshGrass Award, a music contest judged by industry professionals and featuring $15,000 in cash prizes and recording time at Compass Records’ studio in Nashville for the winner, expands this year to include separate contests for bands, duos, and solo banjo. FreshGrass Award winners will also earn a main-stage slot at the 2015 festival.
“The FreshGrass community has really taken root over the past two years. And this festival is the heart and soul of it,” says FreshGrass Producer Chris Wadsworth. “Great music, a strong community, preservation and advancement – those are the guiding lights of this festival. The audience has responded.”
Festival passes are available for $87 for adults, $77 for students, $43 for kids 7-16, and are free for children 6 and under, making FreshGrass one of the best values on the festival circuit. Festival passes increase to full price with the final lineup announcement in the late spring. Museum members receive a 10% discount on full-price tickets. Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event if any are still available. FreshGrass tickets are general admission, and the festival will be held rain or shine.
MASS MoCA is also the home of Solid Sound, Wilco’s music and arts festival, and the Bang on a Can Festival of contemporary music.