The sweet sounds of Appalachia are ready to ring once more over hallowed grounds in Adams County as the 71st semi-annual Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival returns to Granite Hill Camping Resort this weekend.
Featuring some of the biggest names in the world of bluegrass – including Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, The Seldom Scene and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver – the festival also includes everything from music workshops and jam sessions to bonfires and arts and craft vendors.
With more than 20 bands playing at least two sets at the festival, we wanted to highlight a few of the not-to-miss acts you may or may not have heard of. And while you’re at it, if you decide to experience Gettysburg Bluegrass for the first time, be sure to say hello to festival directors Rich and Cyndie Winkelmann (who we highlighted in a feature from the May 2011 issue of Fly).
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1) The Travelin’ McCourys – Friday, August 14; 3:40 p.m. & 10:35 p.m.
Consisting of York County natives and multiple Grammy winners Ronnie and Rob McCoury (along with Jason Carter and Alan Bartram), The Travelin’ McCourys have seamlessly bridged the worlds of bluegrass and jam music. They’ve worked with the likes of Keller Williams and Billy Nershi of the String Cheese Incident, covering songs ranging from “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People to “Pepper” by the Butthole Surfers – all while maintaining their strong bluegrass roots. (Read our Q&A with Rob McCoury from the August 2013 issue of Fly.)
2) The Grascals – Saturday, August 15; 1:55 p.m. & 8:25 p.m.
Hailing from Nashville, The Grascals have played everywhere from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to President Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural ball at the Smithsonian since forming in 2004. They’ve picked up multiple Grammy nominations along the way and have collaborated with the likes of Dolly Parton, George Jones and Vince Gill. You may recognize their song as the theme of the A&E hit reality show American Pickers.
3) Lonesome River Band – Thursday, August 13; 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Led by five-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year and Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer Sammy Shelor, the Lonesome River Band has been creating some of the biggest bluegrass hits for more than 30 years. Featuring a who’s who of past and present members (including Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss & Union Station and O Brother, Where Art Thou fame), the Lonesome River Band are firmly entrenched as one of the forefathers of contemporary bluegrass.
4) Mountain Heart – Saturday, August 15; 3:55 p.m. & 10:35 p.m.
Breaking the mold of traditional bluegrass, Mountain Heart has been pushing the boundaries of Americana music since 1999 – combining everything from rock to jazz and jam. They’ve appeared on the legendary stage of The Grand Ole Opry more than 100 times and have garnered multiple awards and honors for their sound and live performance. They’re preparing for their first album release since 2010’s critically-acclaimed That Just Happened.
5) Darin & Brooke Aldridge – Saturday, August 15; 12:55 p.m. & 7:25 p.m.
The husband-and-wife combo of Darin and Brooke Aldridge – along with an impressive supporting cast of musicians – play on the traditions of North Carolina Appalachian music. They’re not afraid to go into the sounds of country and gospel, along with traditional bluegrass and even pop music (listen to their cover of the mega dance hit “All About that Bass” by Meghan Trainor). Their latest album, Snapshots, came out earlier this year.
The Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival kicks off on Thursday at 2 p.m. with a set by Chatham County Line and continues through Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets range between $35 for Sunday performances to $125 for all four days. Go to the festival’s website for tickets, schedules and more information.