Dispatch from Common Ground’s bluegrass camp: Don’t you dare call it fantasy camp

Despite what you might have thought, Westminster is not in Western Maryland. It’s located sort of northwest of Baltimore and northeast of Frederick in some beautiful rolling hills. That fact was finally grudgingly acknowledged by the local institute if higher learning in 2002 when, after calling itself Western Maryland College for 135 years, it became McDaniel College. Istanbul, Constantinople, either way it was a beautiful place to visit, or at least it looked that way[…]

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Dispatch from Smoked Country Jam: Another fine adventure in the mountains

Our Smoked Country Jam experience was a little different in a number of ways this year. Last year, our first visit to Ron Kodish’s sweet little hootenanny in the hills, we just made a day trip out of it. We decided before we even started our drive home that night that this year’s stay would be longer. Our plan was to go for all three days of the event. Outside factors, like the need to[…]

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Dispatch From Grey Fox: Thursday comes with Strings attached

You know those tap takeovers that are so popular in craft beer bars these days? It was like a musical version of that Thursday at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, with artist in residence Billy Strings taking over the Walsh Farm festival grounds as the four day festival got started in earnest. Strings appeared on all three stages Thursday, starting the day off by sitting in with emerging artists Cane Mill Road on the Creekside[…]

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Beautiful Venue, Solid Lineup. Much to Like About NEPA Bluegrass Festival

Editor’s Note: This festival “review” thing is an evolving notion. The “Brewskis” awards idea we trotted out at Gettysburg doesn’t work at places where you cannot see every act. We did sort of a “notebook” with our favorite sets after DelFest. We’re just going to sort of write about our impressions from NEPA Bluegrass Festival here. Eventually we will decide on a preferred style for festival recaps. Or not. If there is such a thing[…]

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Gimme Shelter, or Why the Progressive Stage Was the Place To Be Friday at the NEPA Bluegrass Festival

We never made it past the Progressive Stage Friday at the NEPA Bluegrass Festival. That was not the plan. It just happened that way. Blame promoter Danny Stewart. He’s the guy that booked all the fine bands who played the Progressive Stage. And blame it, in no small part, on the thunderstorm that rolled through the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania early in the evening. Truth be told, the weather was the major culprit in[…]

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Bluegrass Congress Lives Up to Hype, Highlighting a Great Weekend of Music at DelFest 11

Somewhere around 10:43 p.m. Sunday night, Del McCoury walked off the grandstand stage at DelFest 11, and what was an amazing weekend of eclectic music shifted into neutral. Yeah, Old Crow Medicine Show would play for another hour or so, but after they gathered around a single mic with the host of the party for a singing lesson on “Lost Highway,” Del left that stage, and we could coast. It was all downhill from there.[…]

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Call It What You Want, DelFest fans went nuts for Del McCoury’s “Soundcheck

“This is not a show. It’s just the soundcheck.” Del McCoury kept telling the fans that Thursday afternoon as he and his band opened the 11th Annual DelFest with what has become a tradition along the banks of the Potomac. And yes, technically it is labeled on the festival schedule as “The Del McCoury Band Soundcheck.” That mattered not to the DelFestarians who flocked the infield of the Allegany County Fairgrounds racetrack, aka the Music[…]

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And the winner is . . . handing out Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival honors

Thought we’d try a different way of reviewing a festival by handing out some awards following this weekend’s 76th Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. The idea is pretty simple — after each festival we cover, we will hand out our best of show honors and at the end of festival season we will bestow Brewskis (or maybe we will come up with a better name) to the bests we experience during festival season. Or maybe we will[…]

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