North Adams, MA -- FreshGrass, MASS MoCA's annual bluegrass and roots festival, is famous for its lineup, its workshop programs in conjunction with The Berklee College of Music, its urban setting nestled in the bucolic Berkshire mountains - and infamous for its late-night, moonshine slushies-fueled parties that close out the first two nights of music. This year, Canadian fusion-folk stars The Duhks plan to raise the roof when they play the late show on opening night. The festival just released its day-by-day lineup for September 19-21, 2014.
One of the most musically adventurous bands in the bluegrass scene, The Duhks draw on musical traditions ranging from northern roots to southern gospel to Cajun zydeco. No less than bluegrass legend (and FreshGrass 2014 performer) Béla Fleck produced the Duhks' Juno award-winning album. The band's modern bluegrass sound is reminiscent of Nickel Creek and Yonder Mountain String Band - though utterly their own. The Boston Globe says of The Duhks,"Canada's premier neo-tradsters romp from world-beat to blues, urban-pop to old-timey, with wild-eyed invention, haunting traditionalism, and spine-rattling groove."
FreshGrass gates open at 6pm on Friday, September 19, with Cricket Tell the Weather, Aoife O'Donovan, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and The Duhks on the evening's bill.
On Saturday, September 20, gates open at 10:30am. The Novel Ideas, Valerie June, Claire Lynch, Rodney Crowell, Alison Brown, Haas Kowert Tice, The Gibson Brothers, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Darol Anger, Sam Bush, Railroad Earth, and The Infamous Stringdusters are slated to play.
It's another full day of music when gates open at 10:30am on Sunday, September 21, for The Salvation Alley String Band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Sam Amidon, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Liam Ó Maonlaí, The David Grisman Sextet, Martha Redbone Roots Project, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, and Emmylou Harris.
The FreshGrass Award, a competition for musical discoveries in three categories - Best Band, Best Duo, and Best Banjo - takes place on Saturday and Sunday. Any unsigned acts are welcome to submit to the contest before its August 5 deadline. Contest performances, judged by an all-star panel of Eric and Leigh Gibson of The Gibson Brothers, Chris Pandolfi, and Alison Brown, are open to the festival audience.
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 expand this year, as do luthier demonstrations and children's programming. Admission to MASS MoCA's galleries - where festival-goers 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.
Festival passes are $92 for adults, $82 for students, $48 for kids 7-16, and free for children 6 and under, making FreshGrass one of the best values on the festival circuit. Museum members receive a 10% discount on full-price tickets. Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event. FreshGrass details will be updated on the festival website, FreshGrass.com, and on Facebook at FreshGrass Festival. FreshGrass tickets are general admission, and the festival will be held rain or shine.